Last year, January 2 was the worst day of my life. Jake left for Basic Combat Training. And my whole world fell apart. I had my first, and only, real anxiety attack. In hindsight, I see all the spiritual warfare surrounding that day and that 10.5 weeks. But at the time, all I knew was that I couldn’t breathe.
2018 was incredibly difficult. There were moments of joy, yes, but there were also moments of pure hell. There were moments of extreme blessing, but there were so many moments where I honestly didn’t know if I could make it one more day.
When I remember this day last year, I physically feel sick. I remember walking out of the house, knowing Jake wouldn’t see his boys for almost three months. I remember sitting at Post Coffee, trying not to throw up, fighting tears, pretending things were normal. But knowing, in the pit of my stomach, that this was going to be so hard… wondering if I would make it. I remember pulling into the parking lot of the National Guard Armory. Jake was so excited. But I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw myself at his feet and beg him to stay. I wanted to drive away forever, just the two of us, and pretend that the world as I knew it wasn’t going up in flames.
We had agreed on this decision. We knew it was what God was calling us to. But it wasn’t really what I wanted. When it came right down to it, what I wanted was to put my foot down. I wanted to go home. I wanted it to be over before it even started.
When I remember this day last year, I remember the moment a few weeks later that I realized Archer needed to be taken to the emergency room. Another seizure. There was a 3 month old swaddled and sleeping on the bed. The temperature was well below freezing. The roads were icy. It was late and dark and I was all alone. And I was holding a two year old angel in my arms, as he seized, and tears rolled my down face. I called my parents to meet us at the hospital. Then I packed up my babies. One of them shaking and unresponsive. Eyes rolling back in his head. I drove us to the hospital. Ran the red lights. Fishtailing all over the place. Knowing I had to be strong because I was the only parent they had that night. Crying out “Jesus! Jesus!” because I didn’t know what else to say.
When I remember this day last year, I remember the next seizure. I remember praying over that baby, claiming God’s promises. I remember sitting up all night to watch him sleep. I remember a distinct moment where I doubted my faith. The only time in my walk with Christ that has ever happened. But I remember where I stood. Watching that boy struggle to breathe, and thinking how could this be happening.
When I remember this day last year, I remember all the pain of my life, summed up into a single point in time.
There aren’t words to explain to devastation and despair I felt that day. Only tears and groans and cries. To say it was the worst day of my life would be the understatement of the century. I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain and brokenness on even my worst enemy.
Praise God, there is a “but”!
The days leading up to today have been incredibly hard. I’ve had a PTSD of sorts. All I could think about has been “this day last year”. I was mentally prepared for a terrible day today. A day that simply reminded me of all the horror and pain.
Do you know where I was this morning? Exactly where I was last year this morning. I was at Post Coffee. At 8 am. Again. Only God could orchestrate this kind of thing.
I had an amazing interview this morning (related to my dreams and God’s call on my life!!!) at Post at 8. And what should have elicited dark emotions resulted in what only God can bring.
God redeemed today for me. For my family.
This morning, I sat in the same place I sat last year. I didn’t even realize that was going to happen, until it happened. Until I wrote it in my planner a couple days ago and saw it in writing. Same place, same day, same time? What does that mean? I was sharing this with my mom, and asking, what does it mean, that this long-awaited day of pain was starting the same place. And she told me it meant that it was okay. And that I could move on and heal. And she was exactly right.
Today was truly one of the best days I’ve had in years. Amazing time in God’s Word this morning. Quiet, dark, with my coffee. A wonderful family breakfast. An encouraging coffee date that completely changed the pattern of my heartbeat when someone says “Post Coffee” or when I drive past that intersection. A very special day with my babies, full of playtime, Bible verses, nourishing food, learning activities, reading, and rest.
While there was nothing earth shatteringly positive about today… it was still exactly what I needed. There was safety. Security. Hope. Comfort. Love. Togetherness. Tomorrow. There is a tomorrow that I am ready for.
Today has been redeemed. January 2 has been redeemed. You know, when we as Christians come to know Jesus as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us. He will never leave us. But you know there are also times when we pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit, separate from that basic indwelling. Like when we speak, share the Gospel, or walk through a difficult time. And today, I felt the Holy Spirit. I felt that double portion of Holy Spirit power. I felt a peace that only comes from Him. Not from having Jake home. Not from knowing what tomorrow brings. Not from anything earthly. Only from God. The kind of peace that passes all understanding.
If words can’t express the devastation of this day last year, then words also can’t express the peace and restoration of this day this year.
Friends, this transformation, this redemption, this drastic change….can only come from knowing a Savior like mine. Knowing Jesus. Allow Him to change lives and circumstances. And hearts. He knew what I needed today. He knew that I needed a promise. Not of comfort and easy prosperity. But a promise of provision and partnership. He provided what my weak and weary heart didn’t even know to ask for.
Thank you Jesus, for the redemption of my heart, my life, my world, and my January 2.