Monday, December 19, 2016

Jeremiah 29:11


One year ago today, I was told that medically, there were no more appropriate treatments left for me to try in regards to my Ulcerative Colitis.  No matter the diagnosis, this is a tough conversation to have.  My mom and I sat in the hospital room up at UNC: Chapel Hill and wept. We struggled to understand why this would happen less than a week from Christmas. Why, during the busiest weeks of our lives, would everything come to a screeching halt?  Well, one year later, I think I have at least two of those answers.

1) Christmas has become the busiest season of most people's lives. But should it be? Why do we pile so many engagements on our calendar just to stress out about how we will attend them all? Why do we feel the need to bring our child to every single Santa, Christmas tree, and snow related activity, even if it is at the cost of our sanity?  I don't have an answer for that.  But, is that what is most important?  Christmas is very simply about the birth of Christ. It is about spending time with those who you love and celebrating our Savior's birth. It is about the acts of giving, as Jesus so selflessly gave of himself.  And, I was in full swing of the typical December madness when I "squeezed in" an appointment to my GI doctor on 12/15/15 that would lead to my admission, and later the surgery to remove my large intestine. I think that God was teaching me so many things through that admission and surgery and this was one of them. Slow down. Stop trying to check boxes on your December to-do list. Be still. Listen. Pray. Trust. I have never, ever felt closer to God than the many times that I've sat helpless and out of control inside the walls of the hospital...whether it be for myself, my child, or a loved one. I had no choice other than boredom & self-pity last December but to dive into the word of God and find peace in Him. This year, December has still been busy, but much less so. I've toned down the number of to-dos for both myself and my family & instead tried to just soak up & enjoy the season.



2) I like to be in control. Those who know me well know that I am not a good decision maker.  However, I still like to have the feeling of control.  I hate flying on airplanes because I have no control. I hate when my child is in the OR/cath lab, because I have no control over the outcome. I hate relying on others to complete my to-do list, because I am nervous about whether it will be done the same as I would do it.  But, slowly, I've learned to give up control {in most areas}.  I still have to take an ativan to fly, but I've had no choice but to lean into God during Kinsley's procedures, finding peace only through prayer.  I have learned to delegate tasks, both at home & at work, to avoid a stress overload. And last year, while sitting in the hospital, I learned that Christmas would go on, with or without me.  Mom kept me company and distracted. Kyle's mom wrapped presents. Kyle's aunt attended Kinsley's school Christmas party. Kyle's cousins helped assemble large gifts. Katy and my Dad were willing to help do anything to ease the panic that I was feeling since I was supposed to host Christmas. Kyle's cousin Jamie sent me a Christmas tree to my hospital room to decorate so that it could feel more like home. Kyle was incredible in many ways, but also brought the kids to see me despite the long car ride. I had to rely on others. I had to rely on Him. And that's exactly what I think He had in mind for this season of my life.  He was quietly whispering, "Let go. It will get done. Even without you. I AM THE ONE IN CONTROL. I am the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow...despite your circumstances, despite your location, despite everything."



Remember that when life doesn't go according to your plans, there IS always a bigger plan. And it is for your good. Be glad that you don't get to see the big picture all upfront, as it likely wouldn't be as valuable or make as much sense before the struggle. Trust & believe that things will work out. Look for the blessings & look for the lessons.

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

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