This week, I (Amy) have been thinking back over the happenings of the past year. Last fall, my mom made the difficult decision to stop doing part-time childcare due to her health challenges and resulting lack of energy. Then in November, on the day before Thanksgiving, my dad and his business partner had to shut down their lumberyard. Since Julie was working for them at the time, she and my dad both became unemployed. Throughout the year, my mom's doctors have prescribed several treatments and procedures in an attempt to ease her ongoing back and abdominal pain. Most of them have just made her nauseous or induced headaches, and she has spent many days sick in bed, as well as a few days in the hospital.
Our family has shed its share of tears and endured some sleepless nights this year. Together, we've walked through some of the darkest and scariest days we've ever faced. And God has walked with us every step of the way. He provided for us financially when we had no consistent income, and then He provided new jobs for my dad, Julie, and I.
But most precious of all, He provided a family of believers to surround us with tangible expressions of His love and mercy. Our extended family, friends, and church body have blessed us in countless ways. Some gave generous financial gifts when they knew money was tight, while others shared "extra" groceries. Some volunteered to go to doctor appointments with my mom so we wouldn't have to take work days off, or visited her in the hospital to show they cared. Some have sat with us while we talked through our tears, and wrapped us in hugs when words weren't enough. Many have called just to see how we're doing or sent emails and cards to offer encouraging words. Even more have lifted us to the Lord in prayer and pleaded for God's provision and healing.
I said before that this year has held some dark days. But because of the love of this precious family of ours, this year has also held some of the most joyful and peaceful days we've ever experienced. At times, we have been absolutely overwhelmed with the blessings the Lord has poured out on us through His people. I wish that I could tell each one of these beloved family members just how much their kindness has meant, but that would take an eternity. I know that many of you reading this post have blessed us through your love, and I am forever grateful. You've rejoiced with those who rejoice and mourned with those who mourn as you've shared life with us this year, and you have reflected the compassion of Christ so accurately.
Overall, this year has been messy. It's been raw. It's been real. It's been painful. But at the same time, it's been beautiful. It's been good. And we have much to be grateful for.