Today, this post from last year popped up in my Facebook memories. What stuck out to me as I read it for the first time in nearly a year was the hope for 2015 to be better.
Yeah. That didn’t really happen.
You see, God wasn’t done with me (well, he never is, but he still had some pretty big things to weed out of my life over the last year). While in 2014 he taught me to stop depending on others before I went to Him, 2015 was a journey of letting go of the control I’ve always clung to.
In January, we lost our dog Gizmo. It turns out that he had cancer and a month to the day after my grandmother died from cancer, we had to put him down. Just two days before my birthday (needless to say, my birthday was, well, crap). Still, nearly a year later, I cry over that loss. He was my constant companion — we got him 3 weeks after we got married. He loved unconditionally and with all of his being. He was our first child, in a sense. I miss him terribly.
In February, Josh left the mobile x-ray job he had taken on and went back to working at the hospital. This was a really difficult transition for him — the double switch took a huge tole on him and a lot of factors from the mobile job were at play in that, causing him to reexamine much of his faith and reliance upon the Lord.
In June, we got a contract on our house, which had been on the market for nearly a year. It was an exciting time, for awhile. But many who followed our journey on Facebook know how devastatingly difficult that situation ended up being by the end of August. I won’t deny that the long delays and eventual loss of our buyers and the new house we had a contract on was a crisis of faith for both Josh and I. One that left us so wounded that we unpacked in the home we’d been trying to sell and decided to take it off the market for an unknown amount of time.
One major lesson for me came during that time. Up until that point, I had always (as in, since my childhood) relied upon Jeremiah 29:11 as my cornerstone of faith. But what the Lord revealed to me was that, despite my firm belief that he has me in the palm of his hand, I was always trying to assist him. “Lord, I know you’ve got this, but let me make a couple of phone calls for ya [or insert remedial task that means I’m helping], just to make it a little easier.”
When the situation with the house went down, there was absolutely not a single thing I could do. Nothing. Believe me, I tried. But it was completely out of my hands. For what seems like the first time in my life, I had to just sit down and take the blows as they came. And journey through it with my husband. And feel loss. Grief comes at the hands of many circumstances, but it’s still grief, regardless of what you lost. Josh and I were ready for a new start after 2014, and we equated that with a new home. So the loss of that clung to us like honey poured on our heads, oozing down to our toes.
Within a week of unpacking and attempting to settle back into our house of 6 years, another tragedy struck. Our elderly neighbors died in a house fire, and I was among the ones that found it ablaze. There really aren’t many words to describe that feeling of, yet again, helplessness. Sitting on the curb for hours, watching as the fire department attempted to put out unrelenting flames, knowing the whole time that Ron and Onna were inside.
Not only was this difficult for me, but this situation was what finally broke Eli. In order to be strong for me, he had been holding everything in on the loss of his great grandma, Gizmo and our house. When he found that our neighbors died, and saw the wreckage, he broke. This was what ultimately led to us getting him in counseling. And every day remains an emotional struggle for him ever since.
Despite all of this, I feel stronger. I feel more dependent upon the Lord now than I have ever been. But to say that 2015 was a better year would be an outright lie. It was equally as hard as 2014, if not more so.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching/listening to a sermon series from Elevation Church called Full.Filled. During which, I’ve been asking the Lord what our word for 2016 in the Cramer home is… what he has for us in the coming year.
That’s the word the Lord has given me. Repeatedly (because I keep asking, worried that this word came from me out of desperation for it… but God reassures that it’s from him). There are more specific details revealed to me, but in the interest of protecting my family’s individual struggles…
- Restoration of joy.
- Restoration of provision.
- Restoration of faith.
- Restoration of relationships.
I can’t help but think upon the caterpillars we raised this fall when I think of God’s restoration in our home. Something I learned during that process is that caterpillars in their cocoon/chrysalis turn to goo. They don’t simply morph into that beautiful new creature, they are literally disassembled down to a cellular level and rebuilt again (only God would do something so incredible and seemingly impossible).
Over the last two years, our family has gone through our goo-journey. In 2016, we will emerge, changed and renewed by the Lord. Restored into something beautiful. Spreading our wings to reflect His light.
I’m anxious for the year ahead. I’m reserved — I won’t make assumptions — but I’m anxious. I’m confident in the Lord’s promise for restoration.