2016 is almost over. Most of me is ecstatic to see it go, but the other part of me needs to take a moment to see it for what it was. It was sprinkled with all sorts of ups and downs, highs and lows, like every year. But I feel like before I can dive head first into 2017, I have to examine what 2016 brought our family.
I am generally an optimistic and joyful person, so that’s what I’m going to lead with!
My daughter started kindergarten.
My littlest brother got married.
We started our blog!
I went on my first mission trip! Plus, I feel more and more like God is making my purpose known to me each day, so that’s a winner!
Took a trip to Canton with my besties!
Saw Coldplay with some of my favorites.
These are just a few of the wonderful, fun experiences that I wouldn’t have even remembered had I not taken the time to focus on.
Unfortunately, 2016 wasn’t completely filled with joy for our little family.
Of Love and Loss
On December 14th, our family lost our tiny baby nephew. Zachary was born at 27 weeks, and only lived 2 short days before he passed away. His death was unexpected, and it shook us all to our core. We have grieved much longer for that sweet baby than I would have ever imagined. It took almost a week for us to be able to transport his tiny body here from El Paso (where he was born) for the memorial. So the Wednesday before Christmas, we all gathered around a tiny casket and laid his precious, perfect body to rest.
No one expects to bury their baby, especially at Christmastime.
It isn’t hard to see why people question God’s goodness at times. I mean, how can a loving God so easily turn His back on His children? How can He sit on his all-knowing throne and watch His children suffer so immensely? Why wouldn’t He spare this family that has already suffered so much?
I have no answers. I wish that I did.
But I do know this: “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
And in the midst of sadness, and grief, and questioning, this verse is something to hold onto.
The only other comfort for me is knowing that while we are here on this Earth suffering, and mourning, and grieving the loss of this sweet soul, Zachary is in Heaven, with our loving Father. He will never have to know guilt, or sadness, or pain. He will never have to fear death.
In the middle of the week between Zach’s death and memorial, two of our nieces got baptized. In the middle of one of the hardest weeks we’ve had to endure, God allowed us just a small peek at His goodness. Our nieces (9 and 10) were submerged in that cool water by their grandfather, buried to their old selfish lives, and were raised to walk as believers and receivers of Christ. In the midst of all the pain and sadness that death brings, we were able to see the joy that comes from being a brand new follower of Christ.
We lost a nephew. But we gained two sisters in eternity.
It’s not an even trade, I’m afraid.
But it’ll have to do. At least until we get to Heaven and have the chance to greet Zachary once again.
If you have been suffering through this season, or any season for that matter, know that you’re not alone. You are loved and cherished, and worthy of so much more than this world can give. He alone can restore you, can redeem you, can rescue you. All you need to do is cry out to Him.
We pray for peace, comfort, and joy for you as we enter into the new year. One full of fresh, new beginnings and plenty of opportunity.