2016 was eventful. That’s a good word to describe a year with multiple hospitalizations, surgeries, broken bones, starting (and selling) a new business, and finding out we’re pregnant with baby number 3, right?! Yeah, I thought of a few other words too, but eventful seems safe.
I have had moments of serious panic over the last few weeks thinking about January coming up. Maybe it’s been the cold weather, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been having some of the same pain that landed me in the hospital in the first place, but I feel my breath quicken when I think about January 4. January 4 is that fateful day that I went for a run in the cold with my sister-in-law, and thought I was maybe coming down with a stomach bug, only to be sent to the emergency room the next day and put in ICU with ischemic colitis that caused me to be septic. I am seriously struggling thinking about crossing from December into January. It just feels so eerie, and scary. Call me crazy, but I also get really freaked out in the cold too. Like, I’ve never liked the cold (EVER), but knowing that it (and my lack of a certain important artery in my stomach) put me in the hospital for 3 weeks, makes my heart drop and my palms a little sweaty. Totally weird, I know, but it’s like trying to eat a burger after it was the last thing you ate when you got the stomach bug, ya know?!
My Facebook newsfeed has been full of comments and blog posts and memes about the new year, or the one we’re leaving behind. Some have had good years, and others can’t wait to turn the chapter in their book of life. I guess I’m somewhere in between. I was so optimistic about 2016, because we were leaving a kind of rocky 2015 behind and were ready for a brand new year. Then BAM, don’t you want to start your new year in the hospital for 3 weeks and miss the first 2 months of work on medical leave?! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! It was like a bad dream, especially after everything Brandon has been through.
Even though the doctors didn’t know exactly what my diagnosis was until about 2 weeks in to my hospital stay, I was still strangely optimistic that everything would be ok. I think that’s called peace. Peace that the Lord gives His children when though they can’t yet see the outcome, they can hear His quiet voice assuring them He’s still in control. The last 3 years have been rocky for the Delk family, but I have to say that without these last 3 years, I would not have experienced the Lord the way that I have. I have had to depend on Him, release control over what I think is best, and fully rely on His provision. Our medical bills are more than what a car cost… a new car. But God is so good, and we have not once gone hungry, and we’ve enjoyed chuckles at the robo-voice billing office workers who call and ask if we want to go ahead and pay our $4,573 balance in full today… really, it’s quite funny! I always ask “do other patients respond ‘Sure!’ And whip out their credit card for you?! Because you’re one of approximately 21 medical providers we owe that much money to.” Then I laugh and tell them I’m just giving them a hard time, and offer to pay $25
God also taught us about loss this year, with losing my grandmother and Brandon losing his great uncle. Those moments made us realize how precious people are, and how short this life really can be. Thankfully they are spending eternity with Jesus and we can rejoice in that fact, though we miss them terribly and feel their absence so strongly.
Then God apparently thought that this would be a great time for us to get pregnant… WITH OUR THIRD CHILD. Talk about a surprise! Not only did we think we couldn’t have any more children, but we weren’t exactly planning on this little munchkin, especially after the craziness of the year so far. We’ve talked about peace, so let’s talk about trust now. We laughed and we cried and we sat down slowly over that little pregnancy test, and had to pray and ask the Lord to help us trust Him and His perfect plan. Don’t get me wrong, we are THRILLED beyond measure to welcome a baby girl into our family, and think she will be a perfect addition to our lives, but I had my moments where I asked the Lord alllll sorts of questions… like “why now Lord?! I’m juuuust now recovering from a very serious acute illness that we really don’t know a ton about since it is so rare in someone so young.” And questions like “how can we afford another child with all these medical bills?!” And “why would you allow us to be told we wouldn’t have more children three weeks before we found out we were pregnant?” And “are we equipped to be parents to three? Officially outnumbered.”
Then in September, God thought the perfect celebration of our ten year wedding anniversary would be a 2 week stay in the hospital and another surgery for Brandon. OK, you have our attention! Talk about learning to trust in Him and literally living out our marriage vows to one another. In sickness and in health… Where you go, I will go, where you stay (the hospital haha!), I will stay, your people will be my people and your God will be my God. I never felt so vibrantly in love with my husband than on our ten year anniversary. I felt so passionately secure that THIS man was the man God hand picked for me, and that THIS journey was the most magical ride and I was so stinkin’ grateful to be on it with him, serving our Lord together, raising 2 (soon to be 3!!!) children to follow Him, through the good times and the bad… the scary diagnosis, and the thrilling (and surprising 😉) positive pregnancy tests. Through the surgeries and the bills and the adventures of moving and living and starting new beginnings.
Its beautiful really, the way this life weaves itself together. I couldn’t create a better one for myself if I tried. God knows exactly what I needed to grow and to mature and to love more deeply. We didn’t ask for trials upon trials but I wouldn’t be the woman I am without the life I’ve lived these last 3 years. And the year hasn’t been all bad. In fact, it’s been so sweet in a lot of ways. We’ve gone on some fun trips – some with family, some with friends – had friends who’ve had babies, celebrated some important milestones in our lives and the lives of those dear to us, and grown closer to one another and to our friends and family.
As I look to the new year, I look with a different outlook than I did at this time last year. I’m not slamming the door on 2016, although it was fraught with trials and hurdles for our family, because I know that God had everything perfectly planned out, and that He knew exactly where we’d be in this moment right now, a year ago. Instead, I’m embracing all that the Lord has taught us and shown us and looking eagerly ahead to the year before us. We have much to be excited about… we have less than 2 months before we meet our daughter and we are asking God to teach us and grow us and provide for us in ways that are perfectly planned for us. He is so good!
If you’ve experienced great success and happiness this year, I’m thrilled for you and praying that it continues. God wants to pour out His blessings on you! If you lost someone dear to you, or fought for your life – after an accident, or in a chemo chair every week – know that He is still good. He is weaving together the not so yummy parts of life with the lessons and the blessings that only trials can offer us. Trust in Him with all your heart, for there is nothing you can do on your own that will too what He has in store.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
He is the master at creating a way through the wilderness and we have wound our way through 2016 and are anticipating what God has in store for us in this new year. Whatever it may be, our eyes are on Him, and we know that He is good.
Happy New Year, friends. We love you dearly!