Life now feels simple most days, but this hasn’t always been the case. In this, it’s easy for me to recognize that we currently in a time of abundance. We love our home, our little family is healthy and strong, we have more than we need to live well, and our marriage is solid. This Thanksgiving, it was easy to rattle of my blessings; they were right in front of me, at my table.
Thanksgiving 2013 was not a place where gratitude made sense. That year, we had learned our first baby likely wouldn’t live; celebrating a season of thankfulness felt counter to my reality, mocking of my daily struggle with uncertainty.
Inherently full of child-like wonder, the holidays that year were a daunting parade of the what I stood to lose: my chance at motherhood. I worked to reconcile that my child may slip away slowly as I watched helplessly. Nothing hurts like accepting that you can’t help your baby. I was still pregnant at Thanksgiving. Every kick from her reminded me of how amazingly strong she was, and it made the reality that she may not survive sting even more. It reminded me she was alive in me, but I may never get to meet her. Where was the joy in that?
I was not pregnant at Christmas. My world cracked on December 1st, 2013. Darla passed away. I painfully worked to reconcile a season of giving with a season of loss.
But the story doesn’t end at that point. We only get a few chances in life to transform into someone better. I gained something that can only come from trials: a new perspective. I gave myself permission to continue loving her, intentionally with “loving” in the present tense.
Stripped of any inhibitions from the fear of losing everything, faith became my cornerstone. I developed the kind of faith that can only come from losing everything. Once the worst thing that you fear most happens, you don’t much left to fear. You already looked your nightmare in the face.
T.D Jakes once said “You don’t get to pick what shapes your world, but you do get to pick what stabilizes it.” Power exists in claiming tragedy for good. If you find yourself in the midst of a storm right now, hold tight. If you are picking up the shattered pieces of what could have been, I’m so sorry. It might be too soon to do anything except cry. But in your sorrow, know that some day, a day that can feel centuries away, you might be thankful for the wind.
Wind forces roots to become strong.
It’s counterintuitive, but trials often push us towards the biggest blessings. If a turbulent circumstance melts you down and molds you into a better, braver, stronger you…how could that be anything except a gift? A flower can’t grow unless a little dirt is thrown on it first. But once that little seed gets buried, just wait. That seed is tiny, but mighty. It finds nourishment in the soil, it waits, it grows, and pushes up towards the light.
And then, it blooms.
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds,
3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.