You know what is funny? I was looking at my last post and realized all that lovely reminiscing was about the wrong date totally!! Our "Gottcha Day" wasn't on the 11th of July.... It was the 7th. The 11th was the day we got HOME with the kids. That is funny. And so telling of what 2009 was really like for me-- blurry, confused and downright full of messiness.
At least, messiness from a human point of view. I will be honest, I am still having a hard time reflecting on 2009. You know, that favorite thing to do at the end of a year-- reflect on where you've been, dream about where you'll go... reflecting for me usually results in a slobbering mess of crying-- you know, the kind which involves snot, shoulder shaking and LOTS of forehead scrunching-- something I am working VERY hard at trying to avoid these days, less I succumb to Botox treatments.
But, all that messiness was divinely allowed and given to us specifically for a glory greater than our own. What do I mean by that? I mean, that because God purposefully allowed our family to experiences the hardships, challenges, trials and sadnesses that He did, we have been changed-- and changed for the better. You might wonder what the heck I am talking about-- I mean, we had the joy of adding to our family in 2009!! And you are right, that was a huge joy for our family!! And the blessings of adoption continue to be worked out in our lives-- individually and collectively. But like any new "birth", there are challenges: physically, emotionally, mentally, and any other "-ly" you can think of. Couple that with the unique challenges of adopting older children, and that alone can rock your world.
So, there were the challenges of adoption in 2009. There were the challenges of a 6 month deployment in 2009. There was a death of a beloved grandfather and all the challenges that went with that personally for me (grieving without my husband, getting myself and the boys to IL by myself and back on short notice). There were the everyday challenges that seemed to be magnified by all the above-- just doing life as a single parent or with two new children who you are trying to integrate into the family. There were financial challenges that we faced with adoption. There were work challenges that Tony faced besides deployment-- having to "hit the ground running" so to speak once he set foot on American soil.
I'm not trying to drum up a pity-party here. I hope you don't get that impression. I am simply laying out 2009 for Team Dragovich. Why? Hopefully, so you can see the Glory of God through our lives. His grace-- love in action-- is the ONLY thing that has allowed us to still be standing today. And not just standing... but thriving. When I look back at 2009 and think of some of the places I had to go-- whether it was 2 trips to IL and back by myself (& the boys, of course), or Ethiopia, just to soccer 5 times a week in the spring while my husband was deployed; there is not one single instance that I can recall when I felt "alone". In my fear, He reassured me. In my sorrow, He comforted me. In my frustration, He gave me compassion, insight and wisdom. In my tiredness (which was A LOT!!), He gave me new strength. In my uncertainty, He gave me solid hope in His Word.
I won't lie. I do NOT want a repeat of 2009 :). But I do not wish to take it back, either. I would never want any of it to be different, or not to have had to walk through it. It was a year of refining fire for all of us. God kept His promises-- He brought my husband home safely, He kept the boys and I safe and comforted, He did a new thing in our family through adoption and most importantly, He kept His Word to me-- my verse from Psalms which He directed me to on the week of Tony's deployment at the end of 2008, has come to fruition: "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of hte Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" Psalm 27: 13-14
This year, I have asked for and am looking forward to fruit. Not apples and oranges! Fruit of the Spirit. Fruit of joy, peace, patience, etc. Fruit of a life lived by the Grace of God and in righteousness in Him, alone. I have seen the work He has started in us. And where He has planted us is good-- "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in due season and whose leaf does not wither" (Ps. 1:3). What looks like chaos in our lives from the outside is really God working on us, in us and through us from the inside-- planting and establishing us in His eternal grace and love. Our family has not withered from the pressures of 2009. We have grown stronger. We know only God can do such a thing. And so, I look forward to the fruit of 2010-- and I will continue to go out on a limb with my Savior, in order to get it!
Grace and Peace,