I have been very excited that we finished our school year recently because it gives me more time to work on things I don't typically get to in a day - i.e. my blog. It is not that I don't want to blog, I think all the time that I should reappear on here, but at the end of the day it just gets moved to tomorrow's to do list. Part of the reason for this is that life lately has been a series of ups and downs that I just don't know how to explain to you because I don't know how I feel about them. I am not talking just little every day things, I am talking big, extreme ups and downs the kind that shake your world and leave you drained. The kind of ups and downs that you can't just process in a day, a week, a month, or a year. They have shaken me, but I cling to God because that is all I can do. I'm not writing today so anyone can feel sorry for me or say, "Wow, her life has been pretty hard." I am writing today for me because I need to share what is on my heart and mind. It is therapy for me so if it rambles or is not grammatically correct, please forgive me.
I think the ups and downs truly started about a year ago, but I have just really started to feel the extreme ups and downs this year. They started when my Mammaw got sick last year about this time. She went from a simple infection that can be cured with antibiotics to being in a critical care unit in a matter of days. Her illness went from me being able to talk to her on the phone about it to her having multiple strokes in what felt like a heartbeat. I was one of the last family members she was able to physically talk to once she went into the hospital. I was able to tell her I love her and that hubby and the kids love her and hear her tell me she loved me and to tell hubby and the kids she loved them. Those words I spoke with her are so precious to me now. After that she began having strokes, the infection spread through her whole body and got into her blood stream. A few weeks later she was gone, she is healed and with Jesus in Heaven now which is a blessing, but I still miss her and her phone calls. I would love to pick up the phone again and have her tell me that she was sitting there drinking a cup of tea and talking to me. I went through the rest of last summer in a daze, a depression, and all I could do was lean on God to help me through.
Last fall was better. We attended family camp at a Bible camp and God just spoke to me. He spoke to us, He challenged us time and time again. It was wonderful. School started, life went on and flew by. My best friend's daughter got married which was very exciting because Baby Bear was the flower girl. It was a very exciting time helping out and watching two young people that we admire plan their life together.
During this time another dear friend became ill. She started feeling more and more sick. Around Christmas/New Years she was finally diagnosed with Primary Amyloidosis. She was not much older than I am has a daughter the same age as my son and a son just a couple of years older. She and her husband decided that they had to do all they could to fight this disease for which there is no cure. She went through rounds of chemo to help kill of the bad cells and stop her body from producing amyloids. The ladies of our Bible study took turns taking her to her appointments and making meals for her and her family. I will always cherish the time I got to spend with her during her chemo treatment. They decided a stem cell transplant could possibly help slow down the disease and after much thought and prayer, my friend and her hubby decided that they had to try this route. She wanted to be here for her kids. Ultimately God healed this beautiful woman, but He didn't heal her here on Earth. He took her home to Heaven in March of this year. She is healed and whole now, she will never have to worry about this disease again. Our hearts hurt because we miss her dearly. This lady was a Proverbs 31 lady through and through. Although I have only known her about 5 years, I feel like I have known her my whole life and she was truly one of my dearest friends. Her death leaves a hole that has not yet begun to heal in my heart. Again I just cling to God because there is nothing else I can do. He did exactly what we prayed for and healed her and I can't be angry or upset at that. While I don't understand why I get watch her children grow up when she doesn't, I know that God is good and He has a plan for all of this.
Then came the month of April. Life was beginning to get back to normal. We took a mini Spring Break and we were starting to plan out things for Spring as the weather was starting to get nice. I came home on Friday, April 10 to the shock of a lifetime. We got home from our homeschool group and I got on Facebook to check some things and I started seeing posts about a friend dying. I thought it was the worst joke ever until I learned it was true. My childhood best friend that I have known since we were 8 passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from a blood clot. I was shocked. I had just been talking to her the night before she passed away. It just felt like too much even though I know God doesn't give us more than we can handle, it certainly felt like it. My world was shaken again. There were so many questions and again a young mom died and left behind a young son. I don't understand, I don't pretend to, I just cling. I cling to God, His goodness, His promises, and His grace. God knows my heart aches over these losses, but He also knows that I know He has a plan through all of it. I miss my 2 friends desperately. There are times I wake up missing them, wishing I could talk to them just one more time. My heart aches and it is just heavy.
Currently we are dealing with two heavy situations that are unrelated that I do not want to talk about at this time, but it weighs on me. I don't understand. I don't know what to do during it other than pray. I am clinging to God, His goodness, His promises, His word because that is all I can do. While life has been very hard this year, it has also been good in many ways. There are so many ways that God has provided for us and blessed us that I could write a post just about those and probably will. God is teaching me to lean completely on Him. He is teaching me that He wants my whole heart, all my attention and focus, and He LOVES me, truly LOVES me. He is teaching me that I don't need to understand, I just need to trust and I can trust completely with absolutely no doubts. I am in a growth phase and God is growing me, shaping me, molding me and I am at peace with that. I am okay, I am good because God is at work. I place my hope, trust, and life in God's hands and I know He is faithful, true, and just and has a perfect plan for me.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)