We took off the ornaments tonight and I'm feeling sort of like our tree....a little deflated. Jack (my youngest) turned 3 the day after Christmas.
I've never shared this here on this blog, but...Jack was a twin. I lost the other baby very early in pregnancy. It was a classic scenario of Vanishing Twin Syndrome (basically a miscarriage of one baby in a multiple pregnancy) and we probably would never have known that we were in fact expecting two babies if I didn't have an early dating ultrasound at 7 weeks. Two babies, two heartbeats flashed on that screen. By 12 weeks there was only one heartbeat and all you could see that remained of the other baby was a small sliver on the ultrasound screen. (If you would like to read more about our experience, I wrote about it in further detail here).
At the news we were pregnant with twins, about a thousand emotions ran through my body in a 1/2 second's time...shock, denial, elation, thankfulness, holy hyperventilation I'm going to have 4 kids under 3 years old.
I should have been seriously freaking out about that last part. It should have sent me into the fetal position mulling over the impending toddler siege that would surly take over our home and lives.....but it didn't. Somehow in that incredibly shocking and joyous announcement there was grace.
Grace that this gift was bigger than us....beyond our ability to create or control.
It's not like God said, "I know. Let me give Deme this incredible gift of twins and then rip one apart from her so that she can learn a valuable lesson about life."
No. God is not cruel. In his loving wisdom He created a miracle within me. He allowed me to see it, so that I would know that ultimately my life is not something that I can control (hello, message to the control freak). And to help me understand just how precious a life is.
I still had Jack and he was healthy. A gift. Sure he has issues that our other children don't....we battle his eczema, his asthma, and a severe allergy to peanuts. But he is with us.
We know we are lucky. We know that there are others who fight much harder battles. Somehow the hardest moments in our lives, can give way to the greatest gratitude.
So why am I sharing this story? Because a heart full of gratitude doesn't mean we don't still grieve the loss.
Because Christmas isn't always a joyous celebration and a new year isn't always met with our "let's do this" guns blazing. Sometimes, they feel like something you hope to survive. And that's ok. That's how the weary world felt on Christmas Eve....tired, hurting, hopeless, lost. And they rejoiced at the birth of a Savior because it meant hope.
I've thought a lot about the coming year and goals. Somehow getting organized, purging, getting in shape, eating better, and finding balance are always on the list. Things that will forever be a work in progress. So, this year I wanted to approach any sort of resolution in a different way.
I want to embrace imperfection, and work on embracing grace. And hopefully, encourage you to do the same!
None of us is perfect, and playing the comparison game of our homes and our lives is exhausting. The blog world can walk a fine line in creating a place that inspires and encourages...or painting an unrealistic picture of a life that no one can attain (not without a cost anyway).
Each new year is bound to bring it's share of both joys and trials. There's no need to play down or play up any of those things. We share both, because that's how we were meant to live....carrying each others burdens, laughing through the messes, and rejoicing over the victories and the gifts with one another.
We have a new house to make our own this year (gift!). It won't happen overnight and it won't even happen in a year. I have so many lessons learned from our first house (that I'll share soon in a much more lighthearted post!), but the first one I intend to focus on is making this a place where we live grace. I need to accept it for myself, and extend it to the rest of my family.
Grace and gratitude sort of go hand in hand. Counting our gifts takes the focus off of what we don't have, and can bring freedom from whatever rules or expectations make us feel like we aren't measuring up.
This Christmas was hard. It felt like I was struggling to find the joy buried somewhere between the moving boxes and the grief from a life taken too soon. Life was simply overwhelming at that moment but joy wasn't lost. It's in my family, our provisions, the kindness of a new neighbor, and certainly in the hope of what Christmas means for my often weary heart.
Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!