In 2015 my stepdad drowned causing my mom’s and our world was turned upside down.
In 2016 we lost our dog and my dad within a month of each other while enduring a six month deployment.
In 2017 Joshua and I would both lose grandparents, his Papa and my Grandma, who were vital in helping us become who we are today. We also received orders to Anchorage, AK and uprooted our comfortable little family to move across the continent.
I very distinctively remember New Years Eve 2017, I was grateful we were settled in Alaska, grateful that those who were close to us and really sick were resting beautifully in Heaven, and was really looking forward to a peaceful and productive 2018.
In the beginning of 2018 God called us out into the raging sea.
LJ was diagnosed with DIPG and we were about to experience the most excruciating year we’ve ever had to endure. We honestly had always thought we’d had a pretty challenging life path. We had no idea what God had in store for us in 2018. The first half of the year we walked around mourning our son, who was alive but had been given a death sentence by diagnosis. We celebrated life and made some unforgettable memories but the truth is we lived as if we were going to lose our son. God was with us in 2018. Surviving that year comes from strength that only God can give.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.Isaiah 43:2
In 2019 the waters we were drowning in were definitely parted and we boldly and effortlessly walked through.
You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters.Nehemiah 9:11
This had been the year of miracles. Time after time LJ’s tumor has been called stable. He has ran, jumped, and played. Just about anything a normal child is capable of LJ can do. And then there is pitching…LJ can pitch better than any 4 year old, bet. And he’s a lefty!
The power and protection God has shown us this year is immeasurable.
A recap of 2019
- moved to Ohio
- Totaled a camper
- Bought our first home
- STABLE MRI
- dragonfly gala
- Played Flag Football
- Cure Starts Now Gala
- Emmy’s first concert
- Found a church
- Epic Family Vacation
- Monster Jam Worlds
- LJ turned 4 years old
- STABLE MRI
- Joshua made Master Sergeant
- Vacation Bible School
- Hyde Park Blast
- Family Visiting in summer!
- Joshua went to Japan
- Became cheer parents! GO WeeBolts!
- Emmaleigh went tubing and LJ finally fell in love with water
- STABLE MRI
- Joshua turned 30!
- Cones for the Cure!
- Emmaleigh had a luau in October!
- Christina found her workout tribe and camped with them in 30 degree weather.
- Gorilla-Dinosaur and Cleopatra
- STABLE MRI
- Christina shared her testimony at a Women in the Word event.
- Emmaleigh’s first musical
- West Virginia 2x
- Red’s Fest
- Bengals Win!
When I think about 2020, it’s terrifying. Just like 2019. I thought that we would be planning a funeral for our son in 2019. I thought that I would be navigating the deep dark waters of grieving my child. And although I still feel the weight of LJ’s diagnosis daily, he is here, and so am I, full of hope and strength, the kind of gifts that come from Christ alone.
When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea they stepped on dry land, but it wasn’t the Promised Land. God provided them with water, manna, and quail in the wilderness despite their complaints and ungratefulness. The first generation of Israelites were unable to enter the Promised Land because of their rebellion but God still provided and cared for them. When the time came for Israel to gain the Promised Land, they had to fight for it. God gave Israel their victories but each one required faith and obedience to God.
I do not think it is a coincidence that I married Joshua and we named our son Joshua.
“Yahweh is Salvation”
What a beautiful name.
Our story is not an easy one but neither were the Israelites and look what they won. Eternity. Their journey was worth the fight and ours is too. So as we enter 2020 I will look back at the sea that God parted for us, the sea that He has commanded to swallowed this tumor for almost TWO years, I will enjoy all the special moments of manna raining from the sky and water pouring out of rocks, and march hand in hand with my very own Joshua to the Promised Land as we put our hope in God alone. Come what may in 2020 or even in this new decade we are boldly proclaiming it will be for God’s glory!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9