2019 Wasn’t What I Was Expecting
As I look back on 2019, I’m reminded of the first line from A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.”
This year has been one of the hardest years of my life, but it’s also been one in which I’ve seen God move in amazing ways.
Break a Leg Has New Meaning
I started 2019 by breaking my leg. I went up to Michigan with my mom for a funeral of a dear family friend, While I was there, I slipped and fell in a restaurant because one of the staff had mopped but neglected to put up a sign.
In addition to breaking my leg, in June I found out I had a fairly serious heart condition, called dilated cardiomyopathy. While the condition has improved and my doctor is very positive, I spent about a month pondering my mortality. You can read about that HERE.
This summer, we also had more expenses and medical bills than we’ve ever faced before all at one time. Between cars going, water heaters breaking, a computer that crashed, and household repairs, our credit cards got a real workout and still haven’t recovered!
A New Season
In August, we dropped our youngest son off to college. While this is a good thing and he is thriving there, it’s also a good-bye of sorts and definitely the ending of one season and moving into a new one.
Saying Good-bye Too Soon
In September, one of my very best friends passed away. She had been experiencing chronic rejection of her lung transplant for the past two-plus years, but nobody expected her to die quite so suddenly. You can read about her passing HERE, HERE, and HERE. To be honest, I still sometimes have trouble believing she is really gone.
Another Unexpected Diagnosis
Then in October, we found out my husband’s heart condition (he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – sorry, kids, for the sucky heart genes!), was much worse than the testing had shown up until that point. He had been diagnosed about 8 years previously. He is facing major surgery and had to give up coaching until the problem is fixed. In addition, we are facing a lot of red tape as Cleveland Clinic is not in our network, and, as those of you who have the marketplace health insurance probably know, this causes all kinds of issues.
This is a page from my prayer journal.
Finally, as 2019 drew to an end, I knew with certainty that the time had come to put my beloved dog, Kipper, to sleep. So, on the last day of 2019, I made that appointment. You can read about that HERE.
To say this has been a hard year is putting it mildly.
Then There Were the Good Things
On the other hand, I had one of my own personal high moments this year as I published the last book in my middle-grade fantasy trilogy, The Pirate Princess Chronicles. I still can’t get over the thrill of knowing people around the world are reading my stories. It still amazes me that I created people and places that didn’t exist before and are now out in the world. There is a kind of magic in that.
I also saw God work in extraordinary ways this year, and every time He did, it was in ways that I didn’t even see coming.
If You Break a Bone
First, if you are going to break your leg, the way I did it was the best-case scenario. It was really more of an inconvenience than anything else. I honestly had more trouble with the sprained ankle that came along with the break than the break itself.
Second, while we traveled around on various school visits for Brody, I have to admit I worried about whether we could afford to send him to school, particularly a private, Christian school.
But somehow God made a way, and to be honest, I’m still scratching my head at how scholarship after scholarship kept materializing. All the ways I thought God might provide never happened. Instead, He did it in a way that we could only say, “That’s totally God.”
Not As Bad As I Though (or maybe I can make a 5-year plan)
Third, after a heart cath, I found out my heart condition wasn’t as terminal as I originally feared. And during that time of unknown, God changed my perspective on so many things. I realized I didn’t have to fear death, even if I did wish it came a bit later. I was given an assurance of God’s presence in my life that gives me a firm foundation to stand on even when everything else seemed to be shaking.
Blessing in Disguise
Fourth, the doctor wasn’t even looking at my husband’s heart condition when they did further testing. He was just looking to see if there were any blockages. The truth is, if the doctor hadn’t found out that my husband’s heart disease was much more advanced than he thought, my husband could have very well just dropped over dead during a game or any time he exerted himself. It was truly a miracle that we found out and I am so thankful.
In addition to that, I am so very thankful there IS a surgery to fix the problem. It is truly a one and done type of surgery, and 20 years ago, it didn’t exist. They would have just told my husband to get his affairs in order, but now, there is a cure. And one of the best facilities in the country is less than 3 hours from our house. At our initial appointment with the doctor, we were sitting in the waiting room with people from Texas, Georgia, and Honolulu!
God Provides in So Many Ways
Fifth, God has provided financially for our bills in such amazing ways – from a settlement for my leg that I never expected to other believers’ generosity and kindness.
Finally, God was so real and present with me as I took my dog in to be put to sleep. He confirmed in several ways that this was both the right decision and the right time. As someone who struggles with decision making in general, this was a huge blessing. Putting your dog to sleep is truly one of the hardest things about having a pet, but Kipper slipped away so very peacefully and quietly while we petted him and loved him. He was such a gift, and I am glad I could ease him out of this world with the least amount of pain and suffering possible.
Only barely into 2020, we still face a lot of obstacles before my husband can have his surgery. Even though we face a mountain of red tape, I have faith that God can part that red tape just as easily as He parted the Red Sea.
My Word for 2020
There were so many times this year that I was on the verge of freaking out (or let’s face it, actually freaking out), but I could feel God’s gentle touch and His quiet voice saying, “Wait and watch.”
That’s why my word for this year is Watch, and my verse, at least for this first quarter, is Micah 7:7.
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
Despite the hard things this year, I have evidence that the God of my salvation both hears me and answers me.
So, even when my feelings are veering wildly all over the place, I will choose to watch expectantly because I know God always sees, He always hears, and He always answers.