As our year petered to a close, almost everyone in my family had colds and we all kept fighting over the single box of Kleenexes.
“So…I was wondering…” Brad said. “Why do you buy only one box of Kleenex for our house?”
Because that’s what I do when I’ve spent several months in a zillion different unplanned locations for reasons that make me cry. I shop small. Less grocery loss that way.
I don’t know about you, but 2016 turned out to be a doozy. Almost every plan we made or assumption we had ended up changing…sometimes in painful ways. Those who know the whole story, look at us with concern, like they’re expecting us to crumple into a puddle on the floor. And they don’t even know our Kleenex situation.
(The year included an emergency appendectomy for our 3-year-old, challenges to meeting the needs of the flying work here due to low staff levels and other limitations, the loss of both my grandparents and an aunt within just a couple of months, and cancer in another close family member.)
Yep. I’ve created those tearful puddles, grieved losses, asked God desperate questions, whispered fears into my pillow when everyone else is sleeping.
We’re supposed to make plans for 2017—flying plans, training plans, base plans, homeschooling plans, writing plans, furlough plans. But after last year, (and many overseas years previous), I know to hold lightly to expectations. Shop small. Plan small.
It’s crazy to hope. The world is full of bad news. We’re way beyond thinking politics or money or technology will solve all the world’s problems.
On a personal level, I’ve learned (again and again…sometimes the hard way) that my own efforts and sacrifices and dreams aren’t guarantees to getting what I think should happen.
But I hope.
Despite (and dare I say, because of) everything hard that happened, this past year grew hope in my hurting heart. We watched amazing friends support us in incredible ways. We experienced God’s undeserved mercy in moments of desperation. We marvel as a God-given resolve to be here grows in us, even while we feel fragile and human and inadequate for the task.
So, I hope.
As our heartbreaks connect us to the hurting (and their heartbreaks to us when we hurt). For deepening dependency on Him in the midst of trauma. With a life that keeps unfolding nothing like I expect—but not alone, never alone—because my hope is in Him.