Here we are at the end of another year. My what a year it has been. And if I had to rank all of my years on a scale of easy to hard well 2015 would most definitely be the hardest. Without a doubt. I think Brandon would agree. In fact, I know he would agree. More tears have been shed this year than in all our years of marriage combined.
January 2015 started off blissfully. I was pregnant with our third child and while we were anxious about how we would juggle three kids age three and under, we were overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. I would joke to friends about how the girl that was once "not able to get pregnant" was now "not able to not get pregnant," as this was our second spontaneous pregnancy since having Clara.
And then April 1st rolled around and what was supposed to be a day of celebration turned into a day of mourning. Our sweet baby had died in utero. I remember leaving that appointment with my head hung low, not knowing what to do next. We walked to the car sobbing and I just keep repeating to Brandon "What am I supposed to do right now?" I was 20 weeks, too far along for a D&C. I would have to deliver my dead baby. What a cruel April Fools' Day joke. Except it was no joke at all. It was our reality.
We were admitted to the hospital two days later and our little boy was born sleeping on April 4, 2015. Tiny, but perfect. We celebrated his life the following Tuesday with the most appropriate graveside service. I have had countless attendees mention to me that Chance's service gave them hope and comfort and a sense of peace for their own loss, regardless of what type. It is so refreshing to know that Chance's service was about more than just our family and his short little life.
I have used this space to think aloud and process and write and grieve and heal. To anyone still reading, thank you for your gentleness and patience with me these last nine months.
And while 2015 goes down as a year I don't want to repeat, an abundance of fruit was born from our loss, fruit that I would be foolish not to push forward into the New Year.
Peace. Heaven. A better understanding of how to minister to others in their sadness. Jesus. A stronger marriage than I could have ever known. Hope. A keen awareness of the Holy Spirit. Embracing the mess. Utter gratitude for life. Stillness. A reshaping of priorities. A renewed joy. A deeper faith. An amazing awareness of how light pierces darkness. A slowing down. A daily surrender to the One whose plans, while seemingly devastating, are far greater than my own.
So while I don't have any grand vision boards or bullet pointed list of resolutions to share with you as we say farewell to 2015 and welcome 2016, I do have one main agenda.
Chance's purpose close to heart, and to keep pushing forward his fruit.
To family. To friends. To strangers. To myself. And this can play out in many forms - person to person encouragement, being present when it's not convenient, writing that note or making that phone call, writing here in this space, or elsewhere, as I feel the Lord's nudging.
I want to say yes to keeping my boy's memory alive. I want to keep paying it forward. I want our pain to produce a purpose.
So 2016, I walk into you with open arms.
It's time for the harvest.
Leviticus 26:4-5 Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.
(Previous posts related to Chance's life/death and our grief can be found here)