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Devotionals

Devotionals
Devotionals

goodbye 2014, hello new beginnings....


Sometimes you just feel like you need a do-over. This year has been that kind of year. And I demand a do-over. The good news is that there's a new year just up ahead, and I'm claiming my new beginnings.

If anyone ever tells you that you don't get to have a do-over in life....that you don't get a "new beginning", just hug them. Because life is constantly about new beginnings and changes. They're just mad because they don't give our beautiful Savior enough credit.

This year has been, challenging, to say the least. It started out amazing -- I was ready for it, this was going to be the year that I owned and took by the horns. This was going to be my year and nothing and no one was going to stop me. I had this thing in the bag before it even started.....but then, God had other plans.

They say that man plans his course, and God laughs. It's true. I had planned my entire year out, and absolutely not one single thing that I planned ever came to fruition -- personally, professionally, and spiritually.

In the beginning of 2014, my health started throwing me for a loop. As many of you know (if you've been following), we've been "trying" for baby #2 for almost 2 years now. And here I was, two months late. I waited it out, because I have never shown positive on a pregnancy test until I was at least 8 weeks along. That morning, a very faint test showed positive, but it was a cheap dollar store test, so I decided to toss it and consider it an evaporation line. A few days later, the pain and agony that goes along with a woman's worst time of the month hit like a ton of bricks. And that was that. I'd later find out that I had most likely miscarried, but instead of running through the tests since I was pretty much through with the miscarriage, my doctor suggested I take a miracle pill to make it all "better". I refused, and after about 3 or 4 weeks, I was finally back to normal.

The health issues continued....

I went in for a dermatology appointment a month or so later to have a few moles looked at, unsuspecting of the outcome. What was originally a routine check up turned into a surgery with 18 stitches in the middle of my back (inside and outside)...and a scar that is still as ugly as anything. The tests came back as "abnormal" and "cancerous", which meant this mole, and all of the skin underneath of it, had to come off of my body. You don't truly understand the term "thick skin" until you've had that thick skin removed from your upper back. Thankfully, however, they got everything, and all of the other moles came back perfectly fine. Finally, some relief....


Until the following 5 months, where every month I'd have chills, body aches, headaches, severe joint pain, and at times, a fever. It was hard to explain. Lyme's tests came back negative, as did other tests. The doctor's couldn't figure it out, and neither could I. But rather than wasting hundreds of dollars on more testing and medicine that I didn't need, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I had been considering going off of cow's milk for months, but this really was the kicker. After cutting it cold turkey (listen, I love milk, don't judge), I was absolutely astounded by the results. All of the symptoms went away, every single one of them. Amazing! Yes, finally, some real relief!!

These things, among other issues, really worked on my mind. The battle always begins there. From the stress of having multiple work at home jobs, to homeschooling, to homemaking, and other stressor's, I wanted to give up....but I pressed forward by the grace of God. I had to learn to give myself a lot of grace, because I messed up so many times -- as a wife, as a mother, and definitely as a friend.

But there were good things too -- Junior was outgrowing asthma (praise God!), we were financially stable, and honestly, life for the most part was absolutely wonderful. There was no sickness for my child or husband, and we had been protected and taken care of by our Almighty Savior more than we could imagine.

The end of the year started to look up -- Fall was here and we were really enjoying it. After a major heart to heart with God, even the big things that got thrown at us really didn't affect us too much. And I noticed something....the less they affected us...the more they bounced off of us....and the quicker they were resolved. I was amazed, once again, at the grace of God. When He was our first line of defense, the blows seemed so much less effective. We always knew this, I always knew this, but I refused to ask for help from my Creator, because I felt like I just wasn't worthy of it. These "little" things were things I should be able to do on my own...to be able to deal with. But the sad reality is that, even the little things were never meant to be handled by ourselves alone...ever.

I could go on and on about the year, but ultimately, the year boiled down to one day in December. One day...the week before Christmas.


I was feeling awesome. We had gotten through health scares and vehicle and financial road blocks. We had come through it and were stronger because of it. Finally, the year was coming to an end and honestly, I had never been so content in my entire life. I had a beautiful family, a husband who loves me more than anything.  I have a precious little boy who loves to snuggle and give kisses even when he says he doesn't, and I have 75% of my dream "farm" put together. Buying a new property was coming closer and I was getting more excited about it. We were finally getting things renovated in our home, and for the very first time in the past two years, I didn't want another baby. I know, it shocked me too. But with everything else going on, I was actually delighted that God had not blessed us with another child, and quite honestly, I wasn't sure I would ever want another child. This life was beautiful -- and I was happy with it. I was the most content I had ever been in my entire life. I was officially comfortable.

And then it came. The blow that would knock me on my knee's and finish breaking this already fragile heart that had been pieced back together too many times this year. 

I sat in that cold room, waiting for the doctor to come in. I was trying to collect my thoughts, because I hate crying or looking frantic in front of people. Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I literally loathe crying in front of others. He finally came in after I sat waiting for what seemed like 2 hours. I couldn't blame him though, it was an unexpected visit and he tried his hardest to fit me in. 

I explained to him what was happening, and as always, he kind of brushed it off in an attempt to be optimistic. But as I laid down on the table for the exam, his face confirmed my fears....and then the tears came. He helped me back up, patted my shoulder, and with a soft voice said, "I'm 95% sure you're in the middle of a miscarriage. There's just too much blood here, and we really need to make sure you're going to be ok."

The visit was over, and as I walked out into the parking lot where my husband and son sat waiting, I felt that wave of heat and flushed cheeks rush over me. I sat down in the seat, wishing that they wouldn't ask that question, but they did. "Well, what's wrong with you?"....I fell into my husbands arms in our parked car, as our son sat in the back seat wondering what was wrong. I assured him mommy would be ok, but at the same time, my heart was breaking. I could not understand why a Father so great and mighty and lovely would hear my prayers, give me a child, and then completely rip it away from me. Is this some kind of joke? I'm not laughing, at all. But through my five minutes of blubbering, he held me and comforted me as much as a man can. There was nothing that could "fix" this....it was inevitable. It was over before it ever began.

I couldn't understand why....why...?

But life went on....it had to go on....



A few days later I received a sympathy card in the mail from one of my best friends. A sympathy card for a miscarriage? I thought to myself. At first I didn't want to open it. But it sat there on my bed, starring me in the face. As I slowly pulled the card out of the envelope, a beautiful white flower graced the front of it, with the words that said, "Moments of grace." There was something wrong with a twenty-seven year old mother opening a sympathy card for her child. And I thought of my friends who had actually had children, lost children -- and how silly it was of me to even consider this a "loss".

I took a deep breath, because I knew the words that she had written in the card were going to cut deep. And she began.....

"This is a loss, and it's OK to grieve it as such".

Among other words, her card was the exact thing that I needed to read. I lost it, all of the tears and heartache just melted out of me. And there it was....there was peaceThere was closure. There was the reminder that no matter what "storm" life makes me go through, it always ends....there is always sunshine at the end....and sometimes there's even a rainbow -- God's promises will always remain.

Grace. 

The year of 2014 was my year of grace. 


There is a scripture that I quote all of the time to others, but somewhere along the way, I lost it for myself....

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12


The year 2014 was supposed to be my year of awesome blessings and smooth sailing. When in fact, the year 2014 was nothing of the such. The year 2014 was Romans 12:12.

I had lost my hope...
I had lost my patience...
I had lost my faithfulness...

And while maybe I had come to terms with never having another child, maybe, just maybe, I wasn't supposed to. Maybe there was still hope....but either way, my job was to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and constantly faithful in prayer, no matter what the outcome. 

I looked at my journal sitting on the desk beside me. There was a new year about to begin, and I could not believe that I hadn't yet set my 2015 goals. I normally have two lists -- one list of things to pray about, the other list is a list of goals that I'd like to accomplish in the new year. I reference them throughout the new year, and it's incredible to see God's hand working in our lives when I set my mind to pray and spend time with Him. It's not that He "does more" for  us, it's that I'm able to see more of what He's done for us.

Even at my darkest and worst through the year, He was there. And there was a lesson through it all. There was redemption, because God is not just loving and almighty, He is Just. God is a God of redemption, love, peace, faithfulness, loyalty, patience, and zeal. How could I ever think that I could control the outcome of my destiny, when I am not God? And it reminded me, this year, that even in the littlest of things, He is still God.

So this New Year, the year 2015, I'm starting over....

He is God. I am man.

I cannot save the world. He already did that, over 2,000 years ago.

I cannot save myself -- no matter how healthy I eat or good I am (though I should do those things!), every single breath I take is dependent upon Him.

I cannot create my own path, because there are only two paths to walk down -- the world's, or His. There is no "Amy path", but simply a "this is the path I've created FOR you, walk it WITH Me." 


I flipped through page after page in my Bible, constantly wondering when God would jump out at me. And as I flipped through Psalm thinking there's nothing in Psalms about this, I stopped.....

"For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:13-16

We often use this verse for newborns or expecting mothers at baby showers. But it doesn't just pertain to them, it pertains to every single child and human that has ever lived, both outside of the womb, and those who never got to be delivered into this world.

And it was freeing...

No matter how small, or how much I hurt, my children, both born and unborn, were created by the one and only true and living God. They were knit within my womb, woven together in the secret place. His eyes saw their unformed bodies, and every single day that was ordained for them were written in my Saviors book of life. And me...I was knit together by Him too. 


...and to think that, for the ones who didn't make it into my arms, the first thing that they saw when they opened their little eyes, was the face of Jesus.

So today, I'm writing down my goals -- personally, professionally, spiritually. 

Today, I'm making time for Him to prepare me for this map that is unseen -- my path that I get to walk with Him. 

Today, I'm making plans, and then I'm placing them in His hands. Because ultimately, He gets to choose, not me. 

...and when that clock strikes midnight on New Year's eve, I will praise Him. 

I will praise Him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 

I will praise Him because no matter what life's storm is, there is always an ending, and He is always standing there with open arms.

I will praise Him because, no matter how broken or how hurt my heart is, I've come through storms that were put in place to break me, but in the end, only made me stronger. 

I will praise Him because I know that one day, my testimony will bless someone else -- and honestly, that's what it is truly all about

goodbye 2014....

hello new beginnings....

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