3:27 am current time. Yes, my body is already preparing for the arrival of baby and I still have 10 weeks until her due date. Lovely. She is a feisty little thing and as soon as I seem to get comfortable in my bed her foot will jab into my bladder or stretch out into unknown territory near my lungs. I actually love this, feeling her move, knowing she is there and that she must be doing ok. Anticipation is what I feel most right now. Just so ready to finish my nesting, ready to buy her something, ready for Christmas break so I can soak up "life with two" before "life with three" has a chance to get going. I was more afraid transitioning to two. And all of my friends have said, "three is a game changer," and if I hear, "three means you quit playing man to man and start playing zone" one more time, well nothing....it's true. Just true advice from people who are a little further down life's winding road than I am. But my point is that I am not afraid this time. God has given me something to fill the whole within myself. Maybe that is what faith is? Not real sure.
Anyway, I've been reflecting lately. About this year and the challenges and triumphs that came with it. Thinking back, there are stretches of time that are completely gone...like March. I know I was alive in March, but I can't remember March. In January I had a cyst the size of an orange rupture on my ovary. Worst pain I've ever felt, thought I was dying. Nick had to come home and pick me up off the bathroom floor. Crazy, I remember that afternoon I went into a boutique. What a contrast. And then in February we took the girls to Disney. We left in the middle of the awful ice/snow storm that hit Ruston. We had a blast but both girls got sick while we were there. And I remember coming home...but then there is a blank wall. Hmmmm March, what were you like? And then in April I was all stressed out over a possible job transition, my students took the LEAP test, and boom....that Friday Harper started running fever. Fifty five days later I took a deep breath. And then it was June...that means dance recital, trip to Florida with Katie, and surprise...I'm pregnant! My icky first trimester lasted all summer, never even wrote that "thank you's" I had penned in my head to all of the people that helped us survive April and May. Those words of gratitude still swirl around, dancing in beautiful phrases on my palette, waiting to land on the hearts that did so much to help mine. Okay, so that gets me to August... my cousins wedding, visit both of my sisters in Texas, return to work. Work. Work. Work. And now here we are. I kept my job, we found our dream house, sold our other house, our church merged, the girls were sick all fall, and now I'm about to have a baby. This has been a year of tremendous trial followed my unimaginable blessing. It is true, God surpasses our own ideas of joy.
Even crazier, the study I'm leading for the Girls of Grace in Dubach is all about understanding God's will for our lives. It is based on Soul Surfer, which I can barely watch now because it takes me back to April and May so vividly, and follows the inspirational story of Bethany Hamilton. She is amazing! God is amazing for what He has done with her life. When I speak to the girls each Friday, all I can think about is how far God brought me this year. Through the trials He certainly never left me, or Harper. I never thought I'd find purpose in all of that, but I can see now that I have a very real, painful testimony to share with people who are hurting, or afraid, or unsure. And I'm grateful. I still have joy!
The words I read in my devotional the day I found out about this pregnancy are etched into my brain:
"I am creating something new in you, a bubbling spirit of joy..." He is my joy. He continues to give me joy!
I'm feeling kinda "comment lonely," so if you read this, please share with me.... What is giving you joy this season?"