Every year is filled with good times and bad. That's just a fact of life. For our family, the past two years have been incredibly difficult. We have faced challenges we could have never imagined. Yet, when I look back, I can honestly say that these painful years have a purpose. Not that I fully comprehend that purpose, but I choose to believe that every good and every bad thing that happens is shaping me into the thing God is making for Himself.
I will say, however, that I do not believe that some of the horrible things that we endured were things that God liked. If He is a Father, there is no way He was ok with some of what has happened to our family. That's why I'm trusting that at some point (and I hope that's soon), He will do something to help us and get rid of the stuff that's causing us so much pain.
Meanwhile, there are some moments from 2016 that I truly loved and appreciated. I will remember these moments as much as I will remember the bad ones. I will make a choice to remember both the bad and good. I may not type out the bad stuff here, but I will remember it all on purpose. I never want to forget the way I have felt this year. I want to use the fear and the pain to motivate me in my love and compassion for people who hurt.
Although I'm not writing the list of bad stuff here, I'm remembering it forever. But I'm thankful for the good stuff and will honor it all by saying "thank you Lord for giving us good things" and here are 16 of my favorite memories of 2016...
- The birth of my amazing nephew Cash Wilson Allen!
- My daughter starting at SHSU, my alma mater
- My son getting his driver's license and a super amazing sports car
- My husband leaving his career to start a new and exciting one
- My job at Fusion Academy (worth the low pay for the happiness it brings)
- Getting to hear a donkey scream "HEE HAW" (I seriously did not realize they outright say that, but they do!!!)
- The Dallas Cowboys
- Our family underwater photo shoot in January (that was actually my favorite day of 2016)
- Running the Houston Marathon for Team Christopher while wearing the names of more than 100 cancer patients and raising funds for the LLS. Go Team!
- Watching "Teresa" with Morgan. So happy my girl watches telenovelas with me!
- Going to Nashville with my mom
- Another trip to Walt Disney World
- Seeing my son swim Varsity and get his letter jacket
- Celebrating 20 years of marriage
- Viewing Christmas lights in Prestonwood with my hubby and kids
- Ending the year in Colorado in the snowy mountains.
Dear Lord, thank You for being with us in the good times and the bad. Thank You for loving us in sickness and in health and in poverty and wealth. You always remain true to Your promise - You never leave us or forsake us. Thank you. Although I felt abandoned and unloved and often like a piece of trash on the side of the road, You were with me all along. You gave me strength to continue breathing when I wanted to stop. You gave me grace to get up in the mornings and put one foot in front of the other to keep on moving forward. I believe in You and trust You as I pray for justice. I will hope for justice for my family til I take my final breath. If I never see it, I will trust in Your plan. As John said in the final book of the Bible, "come quickly". Now, 2017... bring it.