It has been a year since Anna was born. As I reflect on the most life-changing year of the 28 under my belt, a jumble of epiphanies come to mind.
There are so many things I could say about motherhood. How much it changes you. How wonderful and scary it can be. The thing that hits me the hardest is the notion that I am the primary part of Anna's current world. That in itself is an amazing yet daunting thought- that you are this person's world and will be for a long time. That even when they become older and more independent, as the mother (and father) you will still be one of the most important people in their life for the rest of your life. It's hard to fathom. When I think about it I feel an overwhelming sense of honor.
I've discovered just how weak and how strong I am this year. Weak because too often I have nothing left to give to this little person who requires so much of me. Strong because if you asked me two years ago I would not have believed that I would make it through everything that took place this year in one piece- the birth complications and surgery, Anna's agonizing colic, her fibular hemimelia, food allergies, and her surgery and recovery. Emotional strength isn't my strong point, yet I have surprised myself. Or really, God has surprised me with a new store of grace when I was convinced mine was past depleted. The name Anna does mean Grace, after all.
I've grown up a lot this year. If I was an old soul before, I'm even more of an old soul now. And I'm okay with that. I used to be self-conscious about my personality..... that I was too quiet, boring, pensive. I guess something about being a mother makes you more content with who you are. I don't mind that I'm not the life of the party, that I'm fine with (even enjoy) silence, that I prefer to take things slowly and reflect. I've concluded that it's better to expend energy on improving my character than changing my personality. I rest in knowing that my heavenly Father loves the way I am, that the most important person in my life feels the same, and my daughter, well she's stuck with me. What others think isn't that important to me anymore. Life is much better that way.
I am continually amazed at the man I married. If I've had a lot on my plate this past year, he's had exceedingly more. Yet you would never know it. He's been through the most difficult two and a half year program that the Medical College offers while simultaneously experiencing his wife's major surgery, four months of a colicky baby, her two surgeries, and a year of chronic sleep deprivation (from Anna's health issues, not because we didn't sleep train :). Yet somehow he has thrived in his program and maintained a 3.79 GPA, .01 from an honors recognition, which I'm pretty sure he will hit come August. While grades aren't that important to us, they are telling of just how much he has persevered... how he not only stayed afloat but thrived despite the year's challenges and demands on his time. I know it's been hard for him.... there have been many times when he's envied his single classmates who gets 8 hours of sleep and have nothing impeding on their study time while he is faced with a myriad of issues to deal with at any given moment. He rarely complains. He never blames me, even when I ask more of him than he is able to give. He lives in peace admist the storm.
When I look back at this post from when we found out I was pregnant and how God spoke to us that Anna would be a blessing, it would have been impossible to fathom at that point everything that would take place this first year. I guess that's what makes his promise so meaningful to me. He knew what we would be faced with, and he still proclaimed the incredible blessing Anna would be in our lives. I love how God speaks prophetically into the future what he knows to be true, because so often the present is clouded by circumstances.
I've learned that while God may continue to surprise me, he never lets me down. Even when I put all my faith in him and things don't happen the way I thought they would.... he never disappoints. Faith is never wasted when it is wholeheartedly put in God and his promises. We may not understand its effect now, but someday we will see in full; see things as they really are. And while I don't understand his ways, I know his Person. Infinitely Good.... in the habit of taking our ashes and turning them into beauty, giving us joy instead of mourning, and praise instead of despair.
Yes, it has been a good year.