Kara’s Collection: 2012

From an article originally posted December 31, 2012…

This sweet couple made it possible for Jason and me to sneak away for a night. God bless you both for your service and love to our family.

While in Denver with Jason, I spent a lot of time thinking about 2012.

I will summarize it in blips of thoughts. It’s how my mind thinks.

I love many things, but in 2012 I have loved Jesus, my hunky husband, my kids, my girlfriends, and the many mothers that have cared for me and my family. I love a hot fire in my fireplace, and I stinking love hot wings and anything flavored with buffalo flavoring. I don’t know what is so amazing about those buffaloes, but hot and tangy together are a hit in my book. 2013 will bring a new exercise regime and diet, but I will still take a break for some wings. I’m a bit of an addict.

2012 was a gift, a wonderful, terrible, tough, gnarly, amazing year.

This year brought to us hard that was used to deepen us, our family, our faith and the faith of those around us.

2012 showed us the fragility of life.

2012 has caused me to consider how, why, and what I live my life for in my moments at home, in quiet, in public, in my community.

2012 has brought nearness as well as distance to people I love. With limited strength, it was hard to maintain relationships. My weakness hurt on many levels.

I have seen the bottom of myself. I had moments that I thought I could not survive. 2012 caused me to consider my actions, my thoughts, how I desire to spend my energy. 2012 brought me through a fall, a fire, and cancer and gave me new eyes to see Jesus.

In 2012, I held onto my 11-year-old daughter for support during a worship service and wept at the gift of singing Silent Night with her. I see the mundane as precious. I count the boring moments as a gift.

I have seen the gift of a true Christ-centered community.

I see many mothers extending love to my children. Christmas Eve I saw a mama reach out for a daughter and love her. This woman expected a hug from Harper, she made a place for her where there was no place. I was able to see how much and how well Jesus loves my children through others. I have begun to see the ways God really is love. How an equation without me in it is still a loving one for my children. That love is far bigger, deeper, wider than I will ever fathom.

2012 was tough, but 2012 was a great teacher. I do not hate you, 2012. Cancer, I do not hate you. Cancer and 2012 have been a beautiful teacher in my life. As much as I long to move on from you, I thank you for the devastating, heart-changing breaking you have been to me.

But if I made it sound as though cancer or the year were my teachers, I would be a liar. It was God in his good and perfect providence who has numbered my days, counted the hairs on my head (though few), planned my suffering, joined me in my suffering, and carried me through. Jesus is my song. Jesus is my guide. Jesus is my hope.

Driving to Denver I was thinking of finishing the details of our will before my surgery. I was thinking through the details I want in order if surgery should take me home. To my true forever Home. Friends, it was not morbid, it was not me surrendering. It was this beautiful moment of thinking of all the love I know. I cried sweet tears of thankfulness. I thought of the many pastors that have walked many a hard road beside our family. I thought of my dear friends near and far. I thought of the many, many, countless people who have abandoned comfort to help carry us through this difficult season. I thought of this treacherous year and the ways we have been helped. Community is such a beautiful thing. I never expected to build community on such suffering. But out of the pain of this year Jesus has built something beautiful. This is not my home. But as an alien in this place, Jesus has been very good to me.

We came to this town brokenhearted. We continued to see the grace of brokenness throughout the year. We now have a deeper understanding of the deep brokenness that lives in us all. I have grown more intimate with the only true Comforter to that brokenness.

As this year ends and another begins, I pray I am forever changed by the hard of this year. Part of me wants to sweep the dust off my feet at the doorstep of 2012 and say you were not very hospitable, but the truth is, I have loved and been loved and known love in so many new ways this year. Certainly 4 months face down helpless is not a place I want to revisit. I’m not a glutton for punishment, but I pray I do not squander the lessons of this year.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 8:37-39

Friends, how have you seen the grace of hard in 2012?