For a few years, it seemed like my life revolved around sadness and tragedy. The long line of sorrow started on September 21, 2006 when my daddy unexpectedly passed away. Six months later, my uncle Jerry lost his battle to cancer. In March of 2008, my grandmother died after her health spiraled to the point of heartbreaking demensia. Two months later, my 18-year-old cousin Jonathan was killed in a car accident. And in January 2009, my amazing granddaddy peacefully left this world.
Funeral after funeral, my family whispered, When will this end? Dealing with all the grief was exhausting. It felt like our family was withering away. But, as in all things, we all knew it wouldn't be like that forever.
In September of 2009, my mom met Fred and I watched joy being restored to her. People asked if I thought it was weird that she was dating, but anyone who knows Fred knows he is a keeper! Had it been anyone else, I might have felt differently. But Fred is the perfect person for my mom and the happiness they bring each other is evident.
And in March 2010, I met Blake and I think people saw in me what I had seen in my mom. My spirit was lifted and as I realized that he was "the one," I also realized that our family was thriving again. Marrying Blake was a reminder that happier days were to come.
Right around Christmas time, we learned that one of my cousins and a close family friend (who is basically a cousin these days!) were both pregnant. In January, I learned that two other cousins were pregnant. And just a month ago, Blake and I learned that we, too, are expecting! We will have two babies born in August, one in September, one in October, and ours in January or February.
It's like life has come back to my family. Sickness, sadness, and death are always lurking. With a family as big as mine, there is always a struggle going on with someone. But the idea that five babies will be born into our family over the next several months is a reminder that our family is growing as it should. Death comes, as does life. Sometimes they are intermingled, other times it seems like we only get one or the other.
I'm glad to see the joy and excitement bubbling in my parents, my cousins, aunts, and uncles. New life is coming in abundance and we are ready!
And as for me and Blake, we are just happy that we have made it this far! Our first year of marriage had plenty of stress - from not having a place to live at first to me not even having a full-time job until November! I remember signing for our apartment lease not knowing how we would be able to afford it on our own (our parents promised to help us if we needed it). God provided for us then - just a month after moving into our apartment, I was offered a job for the school year. I have faith that God will do the same for us again. We have not only ourselves to support but now a baby, and we are trusting God to provide a job for me soon. God has shaped us into people dependent on His goodness and He has blessed us with a happy, healthy marriage.
I'm so thankful for happier days, happier times, and happier circumstances. The bad times come and go, but God's faithfulness endures forever. His plans are perfect and He never fails to fulfill His promises. We pray for continued favor and blessing over the next year of our marriage, good health for our growing baby, and for the stability of a job for me. And we pray that we can use the hardships and happiness we have experienced to bless others.
To God be the glory!