Like many people today, I am reflecting on this last year. 2022 has been a bittersweet year for my family. We have experienced some difficulties but we have also experienced some victories. I am sure that some of you understand this feeling in your own lives.
Last year at this time, my family was grieving the loss of my stepdad, someone who I looked to as one of the strongest male role models in my life. He encouraged me to pursue my teaching career and was always happy to hear how my school year was going. This year, we are grieving the loss of my parents’ dog, Roscoe, who was at times difficult to manage but was mostly a sweet dog. We imagine that Les and Roscoe are in heaven together, celebrating their freedom from pain today.
Last year at this time, my husband was struggling with shoulder pain that he has managed for years. We were preparing for doctor’s visits, MRIs, and physical therapy. This year, my husband is healing from intense shoulder surgery. We are hopeful that his recovery will result in better mobility and permanent relief from pain.
Last year at this time, I had a broken relationship with my son. Since moving to Colorado in the summer of 2021, he had pulled away from my husband and me, trying to forge his own path. He intentionally skipped out on our family’s celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas. He never said goodbye to my stepdad, and he never expressed his condolences to my mom. In February of 2022, he officially moved out, claiming that he could make it on his own. Sadly, this past summer, he spent some of his time living on the streets of downtown Colorado Springs and eventually moved from hotel to hotel with a friend. I thought we had lost him.
With a renewed sense of purpose, he moved back in with us, planning on joining the Navy. After meeting all of the enlistment requirements, he shipped off to boot camp, planning what his life would look like as a new recruit. One week after he left for boot camp, he called me and let me know that his graduation date would be postponed because he was sick. He sounded horrible. My heart grieved for him, wishing I could crawl through the phone and hug him. One week after that, he called again. This time, he told me that he couldn’t do it. After being sick, he just couldn’t get his mind to do what needed to be done and he felt like bashing his head against a wall. Again, my heart grieved and I wished I could crawl through the phone and hug him. He called later that day, letting me know that he was being separated from the Navy and that he would not be finishing boot camp. For the last two weeks, I have been waiting to hear when he can come home. By the grace of God, he is coming home next week, after only a few weeks in separation. This year, I am rejoicing in knowing that my son has been returned to me. I look forward in hope to what is next in our relationship and in his life.
This year we have seen trials and triumphs, grief and rejoicing, pain and healing. I am encouraged to remember that God is always faithful. Even when we think that things cannot turn around, God’s promises still stand. Even in the midst of suffering, God is with us, holding us through.
As I look toward 2023, I am encouraged that God will continue to carry me through the trials, promising the triumphs. I hope that in your grieving, you will trust that God will lead you to rejoicing and that in your pain, he will lead you to healing. Be encouraged to seek Him this year and to trust in Him to be faithful.