Off The Deep End

2012 was a landmark year for me.  I celebrated my 40th birthday in April, and celebrated 10 years of being in recovery from addiction in June. On October 23, I had the amazing opportunity to donate a kidney to my father.  It was a big year for me, and a big year for my family.  So as I drove home after celebrating New Year’s Eve tonight, I found myself reflecting back over the past year, and thinking about all of the things I learned, the feelings I felt, and the experiences that made this year all that it was for me.

Amidst all of these thoughts, I find that the primary word that comes to my mind is “redemption.”  I am completely and utterly overwhelmed with gratitude – enough that it honestly brings tears to this goofy, often sarcastic girl’s eyes – when I think of the path of redemption that my Savior has weaved throughout my life.  I think about the period of time a little over 10 years ago when taking pain medication for a medical issue led quickly to addiction, and to a very dark and difficult period in my life.  And yet God held fast to me, not only bringing me through that difficult experience, but redeeming it, and using it in ways that I could not have fathomed at the time.  And 10 years later, I have a job that I love, working with individuals who are struggling with addiction and various mental health issues, and I see them with eyes that can see beyond the surface to the depth of their struggle – because I have been there.  I can share with others that there is hope, and there is healing – and I KNOW this to be true – because I have experienced it.  Redemption.

I think back to a time 7 years ago when my engagement to my long-time boyfriend ended, due to circumstances that were nobody’s fault, but devastating for both of us.  All of a sudden, my long-held vision of myself as a married mother of 3 (2 boys, 1 girl in my mind – in that order) evaporated – or was at least indefinitely delayed.  And I couldn’t imagine that God’s plan involved my being single well into my 30’s – that scenario in no way fit the one in my head.  And yet, I turned 40 this year as a single person, secure in my identity in Christ, and by the grace of God, deeply loved by the most amazing friends and family in the wide world.  I have found that I am happy and content as a single person, and I could not ask for a fuller or richer life than the one I have.  Redemption.

I think back to a time 4 years ago, when I learned that I would not likely be able to have children.  As someone who ADORES children, it did not seem to add up in my mind that I would not give birth to any.  Once again, I still thought SURELY God intended for me to give birth to 2 boys and 1 girl (in that order) at some point.  And yet, it was not to be that I would be a biological mother to these 3, or any other, children.  And yet.  Enter the previously referenced most amazing friends and family in the wide world.  They have not only overwhelmed me time and time again by how well they love me, but they have given me the gift of allowing me to love and invest in their children.  And while I am not a biological mother of 3, I get to spiritually pour into and nurture numerous children.  And my soul is full.  Redemption.

Finally, I look back one year ago.  To my father’s surgery, and subsequent complications.  To nearly losing him.  To his initiation of dialysis.  To watching him struggle with lack of energy and fatigue.  While he never complained, his “spark” wasn’t there.  Today, he has the energy of a man 30 years younger.  His spark is back.  And I got to give the gift of returned quality of life to the man who has spent 40 years giving life – in too many ways to count – to me.  Redemption.

So as I look back on a year filled with milestones, my heart is so full that I cannot possibly express my gratitude enough.  To my family and to my friends, who are life to me.  But mostly to my Savior, who has proved faithful over and over and over again throughout the course of my 40+ years on earth.  May I live a life that is worthy of the grace and redemption I have received.

Blessings for a wonderful 2013.