So I absolutely LOVE New Years - it's probably my favorite holiday. To me New Year's has always had this romance to it, being able to shed off the mistakes and heartbreaks of the previous year and look forward with excitement and optimism of the year ahead. I love the end of the year countdowns whether its the top songs of the year or the biggest celebrity blunders of the year. I LOVE remembering what was and hoping for what will be.
This year New Years feels all different though and the things I'm recalling are much bigger and more meaningful than ever before. I suppose you could say that's all part of growing up but I think more than anything its a reflection of where I am spiritually in my life and how my faith and belief in God have really shaped this year for me and my family.
First of all, I think of all the incredible blessings we've had this year and all the heartache and in each blessing I can see heartbreak and in each heartbreak I can find the blessings. I probably lost you huh?
This year was especially hard for us, but it was by far the most rewarding year of my life. I experienced the greatest joy I've ever known and also the most piercing grief. I lost friends and found new ones. I witnessed miracles and experienced great suffering. I saw life come into the world and held a hand as it slipped away to heaven. I watched my husband stand strong in the face of adversity and be a safe place for me to fall at the end of many days spent wondering what the doctors would say next. I experienced faith like never before.
This year I learned that I am stronger than I ever knew anyone could be but I am only strong because I walk in faith that God is in control of my life, without him I am nothing, but with him I can face the impossible and persevere. I saw the tiniest little man I've ever met face great obstacles, baffle doctors, and fight for every single breath he takes. I am so proud to be Owen's mother and I anticipate with great excitement all that God has in store for his life.
This year I took on the toughest and most rewarding role of my life, being Owen's mother and as I make my resolutions the top of my list is to be the best mom I can possibly be to my little man. Becoming a mommy was the best thing that has ever happened in my life.
This year I watched as my angel on Earth, my granny departed from this life and entered into her eternal life. She was the sweetest (albeit the feistiest) little old lady in the world. She loved me and all of the rest of us SO much. She taught me kindness, and generosity, and how much a little girl could get away with when her parents weren't around. I loved her so much and I pray that Owen will know and love her through the legacy she left with all of us. Losing her was one of the hardest things I've been through in my life, but I got to hold her hand as she slipped away into the presence of the Lord. I think about this year and I think I've never been closer to heaven than in that moment or in the moment Owen came rushing into this world. How precious. How remarkable. How lucky am I to have felt so close to heaven?
I've spoken about it before but the worst day of my life was on September 13, 2010 when Owen was just a week old, and I didn't think he would survive the day. I don't think I will ever forget just how bad that day was or how hard it was to see him like that but God was with us and our faith was strong. I overcame my fear of witnessing to people this year. I'm not sure why I ever had a problem with it but I did. Me, an award winning public speaker, actually was afraid to talk about something, but until this year I always shied away from witnessing to people, even though I knew it was something I was supposed to do as a Christian. I just wasn't comfortable with it, but Owen has helped me overcome that.
Owen is without a doubt the greatest blessing of my life. I don't know what I did to deserve to get to be his mom but it is an honor and I am so proud to call him my son. But as I said before no blessing came to us without heartache. We have cried and worried and faced impossible situations but we have overcome them all - Praise God. Owen has given me strength I didn't know I had and I know with God, and Ed at our sides we can face anything.
Those who know our story know that Owen is an absolute miracle, when he was born his apgar score was a 1 and anyone who knows what an apgar score is knows that that is the worse it can be. When he was a week old his lactic acid levels were a 9 and a doctor told me "only a baby could have survived that." Another doctor said he had 0% chance of making it without us as his parents, but all I could think was Thank God we believed in a higher power because it wasn't us it was God. There's no doubt I witnessed multiple miracles in Owen alone but I was blessed to see many more in other children and families this year and I believe that everyday holds the possibility for miracles. I think that's how I will go into the New Year, knowing that God can do anything and miracles really do happen. Knowing that with every heartache we can be blessed beyond measure, believing that what you put out into this universe inevitably comes back to you, trying my hardest to take on life with this new positive attitude I've found through my son. I have high expectations for 2011 but only because I've seen how incredibly wonderful life can be (even in the midst of great turmoil), and I know that God will bless us when we least expect it in the most miraculous ways.
Tonight I pray for Owen as always, and I pray for Ed and I to find comfort and strength along the way. I pray for our family and for every single person who has prayed for Owen. I pray for the life that God has planned for Owen and the journey that we are on. I believe that even though this year has been so amazing (and I truly mean that) that next year will be even more incredible and that blessings will reign down on my son. I think if you put yourself in the right frame of mind as you think back on what was and what will be you can see that even the worst really wasn't so bad. I will miss my Granny for the rest of my life but I was so blessed to have 30 full years with her.
At the end of the day, at the end of the year I look back with great joy on the year that was, I feel extremely blessed and thankful for the experiences and I can't wait to see how those experiences shape the person I am and the things that will come in the new year.
Happy New Years everyone! Be blessed.