Another year has reached its end.
Today, the family sat around the brunch table and summarized the year that had been… all that was good… and all that was difficult or not so good.
Just think how life can have so much of both!
When it was my turn, I said that if I were to put a headline over 2013 it would be "God is faithful".
2013 has really been a year filled with joy, a lot of every day stuff, and challenges.
I look back on a year where our grandchild Elliot's leukemia has lain like a big, dark cloud over everything… he's been so very sick… And his parents and sister have lived every day amidst inhuman challenges. It's really hurt to see… and realize… how little one can do to relieve these hardships.
But we've also had fun things to gladden us this year such as a wedding… Amanda and Tomas were married on Midsummer’s eve!
Celebration and joy woven together with anxiety and grief.
Elliot was supposed to be the ring bearer together with his little sister Elvira and Tomas’s little niece Cecilia. However, amidst all the joy of the wedding there was always a concern about Elliot's health… would he be able to be part of the wedding? During the preceding weeks he was so sick that he didn't have the strength to walk and was given a wheelchair in order to get around. We could only hope that he would be able to attend.
The Monday before the wedding, we practiced in the church and Elliot was there in his little wheelchair. We were just happy that he wasn't lying in the hospital unable to attend.
And then came the day of the wedding… for me it was a huge gift, a miracle… Amanda got her Tomas and it was a fantastic day… and Elliott was there… not just there, but he suddenly found the strength to walk… all the way to the front of the church… and he joined in the party all evening long!!!
In some way that which was difficult and that which was fantastic met on that day… Midsummer's Eve 2013! Amidst the contrast of the painful and the "wedding wonderful", our family was given a day that will always be remembered by me as one of the most beautiful days in my life.
Since then, the days have rolled on. We had a great summer and were ready to begin work after our vacation. The fall came and suddenly we found ourselves in a new reality. Mother's dementia was noticeably worse. It's painful to go through life with a person who suffers from dementia; to become the parent to one's parent is nothing one can prepare themselves for. My sister Pernilla and I are learning as we go and I'm so thankful we have our families to support us and be there.
So 2013 has been a year when one of the youngest and one of the oldest have lived in the land of uncertainty… Often, I thought about how wonderful it is to know that all of this mess is in God's hands, because I just can't carry it myself. And I haven't had to either…
During the days that have passed our family has laughed a lot, because life is just really crazy sometimes! A long time ago, I promised myself that I'd never stop myself from laughing and being glad when I felt glad… sorrow and grief are things that cannot be avoided, so when laughter and joy come knocking… I take the chance to open the door is wide as possible and enjoy!
I love my family, it's like a mix of American, Italian, and Swedish… it's loud, warm, and a little crazy… and we give each other lots of opportunities for laughter. A gift I never want to take for granted.
Today, Elliot is better. He can walk again and has begun kindergarten. He still has to take chemo for a little more than a year, but right now things look good. Thanks for all the prayers that have been offered up for him… please continue to pray for his complete recovery.
God is faithful… Of that I am convinced! He carries us and He listens, both in the days when everything feels great and in the days where all we can utter is a sigh. He is always there… next to your side and my side.
Just the other week (before Christmas) when I was trying to make sense of everything and plan all I “thought" I needed to do… you know, one of those days where you feel sorry for yourself because you just can't do everything… suddenly, it was like I heard a voice… and I think that voice was God whispering to me, "Marica, you're living your dream life." Sure!!! I thought, feeling a little miffed and sorry for myself because I was so tired and stressed out.
But then I stopped and zoomed out from my life and my little hamster wheel. And then I saw… it's true… with a bit of perspective I could see that I was actually living a life filled with things I had actually dreamed of!
My job is to steward my life so that I use what I have been given… and that has changed the way I look at things… I want to learn to be more thankful for the life I have. That's my goal for 2014, to be more thankful and take time to enjoy all that I actually have.
I'm leaving 2013 behind me and saying thanks for that which has been… it was what it was… nothing more or less and that's fine.
Now, I'm looking toward 2014… a blank page. For my own part, I want to place the pen in the hand of Jesus… Let Him help me write each page of that which will become my 2014 and my life.
I know that when I live my days together with Him… I have everything that I need, and that I will also be able to say next year, regardless of what happens, that God is faithful! So let us leave 2013 in God's hands, that which is great and that which was not… and let us lay 2014 in His hands… give it to Him… He is faithful!
I wish You all a blessed Happy New Year!