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Whoa 2015, y’all. It has been a YEAR for our family. And not of the exciting variety- more of the punched-in-the-gut variety.
Last week, I read this post on Ann Voskamp’s blog about how a hard, hard year gave way to their most abundant harvest. And I am so thankful for their happy ending!
But that hasn’t been our year. We have faced a bunch of losses this year- some really big (like our house and most of our possessions, and a failed adoption that still makes me tear up when it comes to mind), and a string of much smaller losses that are less significant, but also large in quantity, and thus large in impact.
Y’all, I wish with everything in me that I could say, “But then it all turned around and Burke and Piper got a little sister/brother and the typhoon costs weren’t as great as we thought they would be, and the dozens of other smaller losses had happy outcomes (or even just that a few of the smaller losses turned around- haha).” But it’s just not the case this time. On almost every front, our circumstantial losses have turned out to be just that- losses.
And yet- even without any circumstantial changes on the horizon (and even some rough things coming), I can say with great confidence that God has met us in the valley. We feel raw and beat up and would trade this year’s circumstances in a millisecond if given the chance. And yet, there is fruit here, and there is redemption happening, and we are so thankful (though, do not misunderstand me, I still wish for an actual, circumstantial, tie-up-with-a-bow-happy-ending every single day, multiple times a day).
To any of you who might also be still waiting for the U-turn or the happy ending and coming up dry, let me offer some encouragement. In this year’s valleys-
-There has been God’s Word as an anchor. Verses that I learned outside of the rough have come rushing back in and they have been balm to the rawness and weariness and wounds. I have never been so thankful for the steadiness and endurance of God’s Word.
-There has been a pressing in. With the Lord as our only unshakable steady, we have studied Scripture and prayed and clung tight like never before. There is something transforming about complete reliance on God (not to mention the transformation that comes from studying His Word) and we are seeing that fruit.
-There has been repentance. While I don’t believe our circumstances have been punishment to us, the crazy upheaval has opened our eyes to sinful (or just unhelpful) patterns of behavior. As God has scooped out that which has surfaced, I feel so thankful for the refining and the sanctification.
-We have not been destroyed. The night that we found out that the baby-would-not-be-ours, I discovered a reserve of tears that I didn’t even know I had. I didn’t expect the intensity of my reaction (not a good surprise). However, the breadth of the pain also gave way to the knowledge of the vastness of God’s provision. The next morning, I walked into our already-prepped baby room and realized that what threatened to consume had not- that I was still standing, that He was still there, that the night had not destroyed me. I know our bad news pales in comparison to what many of you have endured, but I also know that God’s sustenance imparts the ability to withstand much more than we ever imagined.
-There has been grace. So much grace. The grace of God’s presence and His Word, grace through unexpected silver linings and blessings, grace in a deeper appreciation for the life-of-overflowing that we live in, grace dispensed through the encouragement of friends and family and through the laughter of Burke and Piper, grace at every turn.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t holding out hope that 2016 is a different kind of year than 2015 has been. But I am also a different girl than I was last January, with greater confidence in her Savior, a more fervent prayer life, and a broader knowledge of the depths of God’s grace and a more fierce love for His Word. And I am praying that if you are in the rough, if 2015 leveled you like it did me, that God would be meeting you with grace upon grace and redemption upon redemption as well.
ps- A few verses that have been life to me these last few months are pictured above. If you want to memorize them, here is the PDF with all of those verses as index cards.
Jill Crider says
So well written Kirsten. God is good all the time…and all the time God is good. The Bible verses are so encouraging. His word speaks. Love you.
Love you back! He IS good, even in crazy seasons. And even though the season has been so difficult, there really is such growth happening and such an intimacy with Jesus and so much good happening in our family as a result that I have a feeling I will look back on all of this with a thankful heart. 😉
Kirsten, thank you!! I rarely comment any longer but know that you and your family are thought of and prayed for often. thank you for the words of encouragement…. they are appreciated and so timely. The last few years have been hard on my soul, things we can’t share but God has been so faithful. He carries my burdens daily….. when I let Him. So thank you for heeding His Spirit and sharing today. Love you!!!!
Peggy- I was just reminded yesterday what a tremendous gift it is when people take on the burden of prayer alongside us. Your prayers are such a treasure. So sorry about the last few years- those seasons have such capacity for wreckage. But also such redemption, like you said, if we let Him carry our burdens and offer grace and redeem. Praying that your circumstances change and also that in the middle of it God will be growing you, drawing you close, causing your heart to fall more in love with Jesus. Hugs, friend.
Kirsten – I’ve followed your blog for a couple of years and have enjoyed the peeks into your daily life. Your discussion of your adoption-that-wasn’t echoes my past experience with an adoption from foster care that we anticipated, prepared for, expected to just to need to sign the papers and then to have it torn out from under us. Just know that the pain eventually goes slightly dormant. I can’t say it goes away completely, but it gets easier. Peace and grace are wished upon you and your family for 2016.
Jennifer- what encouragement, thank you. We have just started fostering this year- and while I would say we are certain this is one of God’s callings on our life, WOW it is so hard sometimes. Glad to hear from the other side, friend (and also makes me think that it isn’t just the entry-into-foster that’ll be like this, but the whole journey- haha). Thanks for the encouragement that the pain will dull. xoxoxo
D K says
Thank you for sharing along with inspiring me and reminding me to continue to put my trust in the Lord. I haven’t seen that nicely tied bow yet for 2015, but I know Who is watching over me. May you and your family be blessed with an abundance of health, peace, love, joy, and prosperity during 2016.
I love how you said that- “…but I know Who is watching over me.” Exactly.
Hugs, dear friend! I’d love to have some wonderful words of encouragement but I’ve got nothing. 😉 In some ways, 2015 has also kicked my booty but has also been so wonderful/amazing. You’ll come out on the other side; I know it! I am very thankful for God’s steadfast love and the love of my friends and family. I’m trying very hard to remember who’s really in control (a hard lesson for a stubborn person like myself!) and b grateful for it all. Many blessings to you, and your dear family, this Christmas!
Thanks Dayna! 😉 Great reminders- God is in control, I have amazing people. 😉 xoxoxo
Brittany McGough says
Kirsti- I had tears streaming down my face as I read this. I was so encouraged by the strength and and dependence that you have found in the Lord. I feel like to often in my own life circumstances of things that I wish I could change and have a happy ending too, that I don’t press into the Lord like I should or want to… this was seriously a great reminder of how good our God is and to keep pressing into Him. I am sorry for the rough year of “suck”… praying for refreshment as you travel and as the new year begins. I am wanting to memorize more scripture and so I think I am going to start with these! Thanks for the index card pdf! Love you guys.
What an encouraging comment, Britt! I have had those seasons too- where I got to the end and realized that it was a chance to press in and that I hadn’t. I don’t actually know why God has met us so poignantly in this one, but He really has.
I should put this on the blog as a resource- we discovered the app “Scripture Typer” this summer. You might’ve already heard of it, but if not, get it! It has been a GAME CHANGER for our family (Burke runs circles around Adam and I- haha!). I cannot say how often one of the verses we’ve learned pops into my head. I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner! If you’re wanting to up your scripture memory, it might be a good tool for you (like it has been for us). 😉
Blessings to you guys for 2016 friend!!! Thanks again for the sweet words. 😉