So much has happened since my last post.
On January 8th, my Sweet Caroline turned three. We had a wonderful party with our family and friends. I'd love to post some photos but I left my camera at a friends house a couple of weeks ago and the pics from her birthday are still on there. When I get the camera back I'll get around to it.
A couple of weeks ago we had one of the most difficult and scary weeks of our marriage. I had a breast cancer scare - found a mass. While I was able to get in to see one of my midwives to get it checked out fairly quickly (on a Friday), I wasn't able to get a mammogram and sonogram for several days (the following Monday). That weekend was a true test of my faith and all I could do was lean on the Lord to be my strength. Thankfully, at my appointment that Monday, everything checked out completely normal.
That same day, Jason's dad had some oral surgery done. We were a bit concerned about how he would come through it because he's got quite an extensive health history and it was a bit risky. Once that was done (it went well) and my appointment was done (and went well) our family breathed a collective sigh of relief. We were in the clear.
Or so we thought.
That Thursday night, Jason's mother had a stroke.
Yes, a stroke.
We were shocked. We were scared. Thankfully, she was able to get to the hospital within an hour and have tPA (a clot-busting drug) on board within 90 minutes. She was in neuro ICU for three days and then a neuro telemetry unit for three more days. She moved to an inpatient rehabilitation unit (at the same hospital) a week after suffering her stroke.
Initially, she was completely paralyzed on her left side and had very slurred, heavy speech. She's regained much of the strength and sensation in her left leg and her speech has returned to near normal. She is still working on regaining the use of her left arm. She's slowly getting sensation back and can move it a bit in her therapy sessions (6 hours of therapy a day!). She improves daily and is determined to return to life as normal.
Through all this the question running through our mind is "why?". Why all these trials? Why all at once? It seems that over the past three months, Jason and I have been bombarded with situation after situation that stretches us almost to our breaking point (we had to put a new transmission in my car, have major plumbing work done at Christmas, and then all these health scares, and we just had to have some major work done on Jason's car).
You know what's amazing? I KNOW there's a good reason. Do you wanna know what it is?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-7
God is sovereign. He works all things together for our good. Even the bad things, the trials. It's all designed to bring us closer to Him. We have to learn to persevere, to have unfailing faith and to claim God's promises. Even in the difficult times we have to lean on the Lord for all our needs. We can cast all our cares on Him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). All the difficulties are to help us to become more like Christ, and to be a witness to those around us in troubling times.
So, I praise the Lord for my trials! Would I love to be spared from hurt and pain? Of course. But, would I be so thankful for the blessings I have if I never experienced trials? Probably not. I'm not sure what the next crazy turn will be but I know that there will be one. I'm not done with pain and suffering in my life. I'll just roll with the punches and know that I'm stronger because of them.
*I totally realize that was a very discombobulated post. Sorry but I needed to get all that out!*
Edited to add: I completely forgot to mention how all this has made us so aware that the decision for Jason to change jobs was led by the Lord. How amazing is it that he gets to work in Fort Worth, five minutes away from the hospital where his mom is?! We've seen more of our family over the last several weeks than we have in the last several months. As Pattie would say... "BONUS!"