Now is the time of year when we consider all that the past year held for us, and ponder what the year ahead will bring. This can stir up a vast array of emotions . . . hope, worry, excitement, fear, gratitude, fatigue, doubt, peace, longing, joy . . . sometimes several at once.
Fear - it’s a powerful emotion. Have you ever experienced fear so intense that you couldn’t move - that you couldn’t breathe? Maybe had a panic attack? We all experience fear, but God has an antidote for it.
Our family is gradually recovering from the loss of our son Jonathan at age 43. He died on October 12, 2011, after being diagnosed with stage 4, untreatable colon cancer. It was hard to wrap our minds around those words when we first heard them. It still is uncomfortable to re-live those days and weeks in our minds.
But we are surviving. And despite the fact that
My dad was diagnosed with very rare stage 4 lymphoma in his eyes when I was 15. It was a pretty tough time for my family. Doctors didn’t think he was going to make it, but thank God he did.
My family had gone through a lot of tough things in the past, but I always knew everything would be okay. But this... This was the first time in my life where I just didn’t know.
A snowstorm left my family and I stuck at home, which gave us time to put a puzzle together. As we sorted the pieces, I found myself wondering what we all must wonder when the puzzle is still completely fragmented . . . “How are these pieces going to fit together to make any sort of sense?”
The other night my family and I stopped at a new convenience center in town that is way better then your average gas station. Yes, they sell gasoline, snacks and drinks but they also have a full deli and a pay-by-the-ounce yogurt and topping bar. Well, as we got out of the car to check it out a somewhat scraggly looking man approached my husband. The kids and I kept walking into the store unaware that my husband had stopped to talk with the man.
I've noticed something about myself over the past few years since I've become a mom. I view traditions in my family in many different ways than I used to, especially ones around holidays of special significance for us. It's like I view them through my kid's lens instead of my own now! When we got married we started decorating our house in little ways that signified our new family unit. We did things like decorate our mantle above the fireplace for Christmas. I bought a journal to record "firsts"... first 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. We started forming our own traditions for what would soon become our growing family! A few weeks after our first son was born Easter arrived. I must admit, Easter is my favorite celebration of the calendar year! We live in North Carolina, so we are blessed with four very distinct seasons for the most part, this year being quite an exception. I love Easter because the leaves are growing back on the trees, the flowers are in full bloom, there is more daylight emerging everyday, birds chirp, bees buzz, & most of all I get to share my Hope with my kids as I share the story of Easter! It's a JOYOUS time for us, even in the midst of the unpredictabilities life brings. I am always reminded of the simple things, small & big, this time of year. I then grow very thankful.
What is your favorite holiday?
What comes to mind for you when you think of that time each year?
What traditions do you have as a family?