Happy Birthday to me, in the morning I turn 34! The other night I told Chris that it meant I was half-way to 60, he just looked at me and was silent…I was like okay, I was already half-way to 60, but still. I'm glad he still thinks I'm cute after all this time, my most quoted moment by him was one time when I was feeling crazy inside and I said, "I feel like a china in a bull cage". Another moment where I got to make him wonder if his wife ever had a 'real' education! Anyway, all that to say, I am 34 today and I like to use birthdays as a time to reflect.
The last birthday I had in the USA was my 30th, and it was about 6 weeks before Zachary was born. It's been quite a ride for me this year. If you know me from my Facebook page you may be new to my life, and I welcome you! And you will know that I love to encourage others to be healthy, pursue dreams, and be confident in who we are. I don't often share of how this last year has been one of the hardest I've ever been through emotionally, but here's a little insight.
As I think about the past year it would take 10,000 words to even begin to try and share how it has been for me, I will try and keep it brief. (And if this get's long, it's my birthday, have grace on me!)
On June 1st of last year we moved from China back to the USA, and in doing that we also left friends that we had done life with for 10+ years. And when I say, 'done life' with, I mean lived with through good and bad, new babies and miscarriages, earthquakes and power outages, embarrassing moments and fun adventures, moments of finding God and moments of wanting to scream 'Where are you God?'. Real life, and people I would give my life for.
As you can imagine, you don't leave all of that without going through a few emotional ups and downs. And you also don't walk 2 young kids through that process without your heart taking a few hits as you see their hearts hurting. The holidays were the hardest on Joshua, my 7 year old. He missed his 'China family' deeply, as did we. Zachary, (my 3 year old), couldn't talk about China for weeks after we got back without crying. He weekly still asks me when we are going back, or he will sweetly look off into space and say, "I miss China". I know sweet baby, I know. I miss it and I miss them too.
About 2 months ago we got more testing done on my husband to help figure out why he was having so many health problems, his allergy test came back with so many things on it that it kinda sent my head spinning for about 3 weeks. I mean gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy are one thing and we were used to it. But add in things like garlic, coconut, almonds, sweet potatoes, any kind of berries, and about 40 other things and it's been an adventure to say the least. He is feeling better through following a strict diet and also taking supplements to help his adrenal glands which weren't functioning properly, this is very exciting for us. I'm so thankful for his health improving, as our last months in China I worried about him constantly, not knowing if he would pass out somewhere and be safe. I still remember vividly the day I got a knock on the door and there was a friend of ours, while Chris was just laying on the floor of the hallway, he had passed out while outside and luckily he was with friends and not alone. Not a sight you ever want to get used to. When he had his seizure it was the scariest night of my life, staying up all night praying for your man as you are scared he may fall asleep and not wake up changes you.
Then, throughout this whole process of telling people we were moving back to the USA the obvious question to be asked was, "What's next?". I have no idea 'what's next' was my response to this question. Get my husband healthy, and my kids feeling okay about life here in America? Oh, and then me? Yeah, Umm, I'd just like to not feel 'done'. I'm was just trying to get my feet back under me. I'm a strong woman, but last summer I was 'done'. All energy reserves were on empty. (And did I mention that I was starting a business at this time? One that I am loving, but still, something I had never done before!)
That's just a taste of my year. But I would also want to add that this year has been full of more beautiful things than I could count. That including the above mentioned items as well. (Yes, I can say it's all beautiful, because it's all a part of my story, my life. And I love my life. I cherish every trial, struggle, and tear knowing that it's creating a depth in me that can be found no other way.)
The thing that has defined my year is this…
This has been a year of God reminding me that at the end of the day–He will NEVER stop his relentless pursuit of my heart and relationship with me.
You see, while I loved China, I also hated it. I was surviving, but not thriving. Chris said he could see that parts of me were fading. And I knew it was true. And God has more in store for me than just surviving.
If you ask those closest to me they will also know that the last few years have been a time of me intensely processing my faith. This can scare some people, but I don't think God has once been threatened by my questions. My honesty doesn't surprise Him. I've asked a lot of hard questions, not all of which I feel like I still understand, but I'm coming to a place of being okay with what I don't know or understand in light of Him being infinitely wiser than I am. And that is restoring trust. And trust in Him restores confidence in myself. And confidence in myself restores authority to my voice.
He's not done with me, He's not okay with me 'fading' away. And He is writing a new chapter in my life, and in our lives together as a family. I am finding my voice again, and that is because I am finding Him again.
And that is what I am excited about in the next year.
Thanks for being a part of the journey,
This is a song that I have played over and over this year, letting the words sink deep into my heart…