Before I sat down to journal out my memorable moments of 2016, the details seemed a bit blurry. In prior years, the months and days were carefully counted to track my son’s journey with epilepsy. The amount of time he’d been seizure-free was a running stopwatch in our lives. A stopwatch held by a giant named epilepsy.
Isn’t this so true for the different giants we face in our lives? Both the good and bad ones. Our lives are marked by anniversaries, births, gotcha-days, moves, schools, graduations, jobs, health issues, and lost loved ones.
Time wraps around these life altering giants. Leaving their unique fingerprints on our lives.
Often it’s the year after our biggest giants are tackled, that we find ourselves floundering a bit, struggling to find our new purpose again while processing the pain or coming off the celebration.
We don’t lack things to do, in actuality there are a thousand and one things to catch up on because so many things had to be put on the back burner while we were facing our giant. But somehow we feel a little lost and without our bearings. Like a deer in headlights, we don’t know which way to go.
We don’t know how to navigate normal again.
That was my story for 2016, my son was healed from epilepsy in 2015 and I was living in the year after. Maybe you can relate.
Last year, I remember sitting on a picnic bench with an old friend catching up on life. She had faced her own giant. Cancer. Her words laced with gratitude for the support her community had given her during that long difficult season but presently she was living in the year after and she openly spoke about how surprisingly difficult it was for her.
With her giant gone she was expected to reenter normal. To bounce back. But this giant had held a tight grip on her family’s life and she needed time to recover, heal and process. Cancer was gone but loneliness and isolation crept in to take its place. An understanding passed between us that day as we shared tears and our loneliness temporarily lifted.
After Drew’s EEG came back normal, I literally had to relearn how to wake up every single day like a regular person. Because the first thought that used to enter my mind every morning was, “Will he have a seizure today?” I didn’t even realize I was constantly living with this question, until the day I didn’t have to.
Without realizing it, my giant had become one of my closest companions.
The feeling was a little claustrophobic and I would’ve liked a little more breathing room, but there was a strange certainty in knowing the name of the giant I was living with.
A testimony I read in book back when we first started Keto will forever be etched in my mind because I finally felt understood.
She shared her story of how her son suffered from multiple seizures a day. After failing on 5 medications, Keto was his last hope. She openly complained about the rigor and strictness of the diet. The commitment and toll it took on their lives was tremendous – in undergoing all the preparation, calculating, measuring and cooking by the gram for her son. She emphatically stated that she couldn’t wait for the day when she could throw-her-gram-scale-out-the-window, and yet, she was so thankful because Keto had given her son back. Her son stopped seizing and he was able to go off all his medications that weren’t working anyway but that were altering his sweet personality.
She got her son back.
When my husband and I first talked to my son’s neurologist about tapering off Keto, those same mixed feelings enveloped me. Keto had been our security blanket for 3 years. It worked.
We got our son back.
But now we could throw-our-gram-scale-out-the-window! We could hand over our security blanket. It felt freeing and scary all at the same time. I honestly forgot what normal life looked like.
Y’all freedom is a gift but it can be a tricky thing to navigate. Maybe thats why we often stay in the comfort of our own spiritual bondage. Familiar lies lull us to sleep in the bed of sin.
Because while our souls long for freedom our flesh fears change.
Don’t get me wrong, I would never go back. I will be eternally thankful for the gift of healing God has graciously given my son. When our souls taste freedom we never want to go back to the way things were. But it can be easy to lose our sense of direction in uncharted waters; we can end up going around in circles before we find our way.
Maybe in 2017 you’ve found yourself in your own year after, or maybe you’re facing a new giant head on, or maybe you’re tired of going around in circles and you’re looking for clear direction in moving forward. No matter what boat you’re in, there is a new journey to embark on in 2017.
You may be highly motivated to begin again and I’m right there with you, cheering you on.
But as we list out our goals and mark up our new planners, my prayer is that we would listen to our souls. May we not let our plans drown out what our souls are whispering to us. May our plans be in keeping with tending to our souls.
One practical way I’m doing this is by choosing a word to live by for the year. New Year’s resolutions used to give me a great jump start to my year but my heart’s desire is to see lasting change in my life.
In keeping with my soul, I choose a life theme to live by, summed up in a word. I’ve found this mental exercise alters the way I think and live, and in turn impacts the choices I make.
I don’t know exactly what the Lord has for me, in 2017, He usually surprises me and deviates from my plans.
This isn’t some magic stamp for success but rather a word to grow into.
I’d love to share my word with you and I’d love to hear yours….
free to live
free to love
free to be me
Remember nothing will be wasted. Be gentle with yourself and allow the Lord to tend to your soul as you walk into a new beginning in 2017.