Okay, I'm a little late with the year end wrap up, things have been super busy since we got back from our Christmas visit. But last year was a pretty big year for us, so I didn't want to skip it completely, so hmm, better late than never, right? Some day soon, I might even get those resolutions posted!!!
As I said, this year has been pretty huge for us, but rather than bore you with each individual event (many of which could be found in my blog archive anyway!), I am instead going to sum it up with a few scriptures that have become my mantras and really got me through the year!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Truly, this has been the most helpful. I have always loved this verse, but throughout the year I found myself repeating this over and over again. For those who do not know, I started this year out completely on my own for the first time in my life, and was on my own until August. I'd had family staying for the first few month's of my husband's deployment, but by January, they'd returned. I have severe anxiety issues, but knew it was best for my son if we stayed, so I did whatever I had to do! It was tough at times, Shaun had many behavior issues throughout the year, but through it all I became a stronger person and I know this is because I was not truly alone in this.
I also accomplished several other things this year that I had never believed I could do! I learned to drive off base, at least to my son's school, and even over this past holiday, for the first time in the 5 years we've been making the drive, did some of the driving during our cross country road trip! I even drove through both St. Louis and Albuquerque...and you better believe this scripture was running through my head the entire way through...whew! But we made it out alive!!
I have fought through many meltdowns, illnesses, cross country travels alone with a (then) three year old...truly I have found I really can do anything with Christ. I know as we start this new journey of recruiting duty in our life, I will continue to echo these words throughout this year as well!
"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
I believe I have mentioned this verse on several occasions as well, particularly in reference to Shaun's autism. When therapies had been rough, as had been the case so often during the year, and when I'd start to feel those 'why' moments creeping up, I would quickly remind myself that this is all God's plan for my son and that those plans are amazing.
When my husband was flagged for recruiting duty, I again found myself turning to this verse (as I have been these last few days as well as the actual classes have begun) as a reminder that regardless of where we end up, which could very well be anywhere, that we will be exactly where we are intended to be and it will all work out according to God's plan!
"Pray without ceasing"- 1 Thessalonians 5:17
As you can imagine, based on the previous two verses, it's been a prayer filled year. I've prayed for strength, I've prayed for courage...I've played for sleep and just a short break in the screaming! I've prayed for friends who've had hard times, I've prayed for strangers who I know only through this blog whose stories have touched me. Likewise, I know many have prayed for us and for my husband throughout 2011, and I've very thankful for that. I have not yet mentioned it here, but in December, I found myself praying harder than ever when my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. 'Pray without ceasing' was certainly appropriate and I know many, many others have been praying for her as well. I truly believe in the power of prayer, and I'm happy to say that her surgery last week went very smoothly and it seems to have been caught very early, though we're still waiting to find out more. She has remained positive and faithful throughout all of this and is truly an inspiration. (And I know she's likely reading this and needing a tissue now, sorry, but it's true! ;)) And so I will continue to pray, and pray, and pray.
Perhaps in reading this, 2011 sounds like it was a horrible year for us, but honestly, in many ways it has been wonderful. Despite what seems like more struggles than usual during the year, Shaun actually made amazing progress. We are now having conversations, limited conversations, but conversations nonetheless!! We were lucky to get him to answer a simple question with a one word response when the year began, I would never have dreamed this. Also, I found myself leaning on God more than ever this year, and have built a closer relationship with Him because of it all and truly that made it perhaps not a great year, but a very important and needed one at least!