I’ve never really been a person to do the ‘New Year’s Resolutions thing’. However we come to it, we change because we have a conviction about it, not because we flip the calendar page. These last few years have taught me a lot about who I was doing things for and where my focus was… about where it should be.
For example, I’ve learned that it’s ok to be uncomfortable because that’s where growth happens. I’ve learned what it means to be strong within myself while people were leaving during the hardest time of my life, and how truly deep friendships can be because of it. I understand a different, honest type of love that isn’t something everyone will experience; one that is almost as painful as it is wonderful – almost. In all of my sleepless nights and the moments where I have to take a step back to compose myself, there is joy. The relationships I’ve lost were ones that were swept away too easily; they were lacking the kind of roots that withstand storms. The people I get to experience life with now are ones who have chosen to stand with us after losing our babies, who love us when we have half as much to give as we used to. They allow us to be real with them and give us grace when we need it and sometimes when we don’t. They remember who we were before Luke and Jonah, and they allow us to be who we are now because of our children.
This new year won’t see any sort of resolutions from us because we’ve already shown a steeled resolve for our children. We’ve found strength we didn’t know we had because of them – the kind you don’t know is there until you need it. As parents of children you can’t see we’ve learned to love ugly, and that’s what 2017 will be about for me. We’re somehow only three months away from Jonah’s first birthday and there’s going to be some hard times that come with it, but they come out of love. We’ll take vacations, watch friends have more children, and grow our own lives – and God willing, our family – and we’ll love through it all because this life isn’t about holding onto the reason we hurt, it’s about being able to see light through the darkness; about being able to love when it isn’t pretty.
If you’re out there hurting as we start this, I want you to know we’re doing it together. Experiencing the things life has to offer without Jonah in my arms has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I’ve grown more because of his love than I ever could have hoped to otherwise. I hope that you go into this new year and take all that it has to offer. Feel everything come and hold it close. Love every bit as hard in your dark moments as you do in your light, because those are the moments our children shine for the world to see.
Love ugly, and love whole.