Life was never meant to be lived by a predetermined road map with each event prominently marked. Sure there are rules of the road as we go along, but if we already knew what would happen, what would be the point?
This year has, for the lack of a better term, sucked. Early on in the year, my sister went through some horrific health issues. It sent my plans for the year tumbling into a pit of chaos. Then, I lost my job. That really sucked. Early this summer, my middle daughter called with a cry for help to get her and the kids out of a difficult relationship. Crestfallen hearts of disappointment and shame entered my life. But as all mother's do, I extended my spirit to my child and held her in the safety of home. In the midst of fall, my oldest daughter had, weeks before her due date, lost the child we had all so eagerly anticipated. Again, I stretched my spirit to encompass my child and share my strength with her and her husband.
There's a saying, "You can be bitter or better, but you can't be both. The choice is yours." If I said I had chosen to be better from the beginning, I would be a liar. I could feel the fingernails of bitterness entering my spirit deep down into my soul. However, I also found myself being pulled down to my knees - again.
I had made the decision about ten years ago to give God another chance. In that journey, I learned that you cannot count on people to help you with the big stuff. You can't lean on people your whole life. You have to stand on your own two feet.
During this month in which we reflect on that for which we are grateful, I find myself giving thanks for one of the suckiest years of my life. In this year, I learned I have more inner-strength than I ever thought I could possess. I learned that trust is something people have to earn from me. I will not freely give it. I learned it matters more what I think than the opinions of others. I learned that no matter what, God will not ever leave or forsake me. And, most importantly I learned where the true source of strength lies.
The last thing I learned is that I am my mother's daughter. My mother has been doing this her whole life. It is I who failed to see it. I am grateful for my mother, and my mother's spirit that has held me in the safety of home - be I far or near.