This year for Christmas I was given not one, not two, but three lighthouse Christmas ornaments for my tree. Some might feel disappointment over receiving so many similar things, but not I. I have long loved lighthouses; we frequently visited one as I was growing up, so they are already special to me. Over the past week I have pondered the importance of the lighthouse. I’ve thought about those desperate situations where sailors were swallowed up by the darkness and the blackness of the sea, needing to reach the land. That beam of light, it was their only savior. It alone pointed them in the way they should go.
This Christmas was one of those moments where I felt like God thought it appropriate to use a megaphone to speak his message to my heart. I’ll see to it that she gets not just one lighthouse, but three, so that maybe she’ll hear me. And I’ll even speak this word out loud to her through one of her family members. Alright. Got it. Loud and clear, Lord.
The word was this: With the year that you have had, so many trials and ups and downs, know that the Lord is your beacon of light, always showing you the way you should go, always directing you to the truth. He will thus make you a light to others.
This word caused me to reflect on the year we’ve had. With two little ones, I don’t often pause and spend much time in reflection, though this time of year, that is often the trend in our culture. I’ve asked myself: What was 2015 like for me? What do I hope for in 2016?
What was 2015 like for me? From sleepless nights last winter due to our young son, along with stringent dietary restrictions from a milk allergy, to a relapse of trichotillomania and an apraxia diagnosis for Sophie, to the failure of my own health this fall, and a possible genetic diagnosis for Sophie, 2015 has been a year of many challenges.
More specifically, 2015 held a lot of heartbreak for me over Sophie’s differences; it was a very hard year in that regard. I’ve wrestled with the enemy (and, quite frankly, with the Lord) over her relapse into hair-pulling, her diagnosis with apraxia, setting out on a long journey of speech therapy, and a possible genetic mutation. These are hard truths that our family has faced. They have years-long, if not life-long, implications. They are not what I hoped for as 2015 began.
Even though this synopsis seems to point towards a tough year, I haven’t thought about it as a tough year until now because there have been a lot of good occurrences in 2015, too. We’ve taken great delight in the emerging personality of our son (and his improvements in sleeping), and we’ve watched our daughter learn to communicate through words. It still makes my heart soar to see her progression with verbal communication in the past six months. In addition, we’ve been blessed with a financial outpouring which will keep Sophie in private speech for the foreseeable future. I’ve been blessed to continue staying at home with my children, and I’ve made great strides in my writing (this was the year of the blog!).
In my reflections, I indeed see the aforementioned ups and downs. And truly, at every single up, every single down, I’ve seen God’s loving hand directing us, holding us, comforting us, strengthening us, guiding us, giving us glimpses of his deep love for us. It’s all too easy to feel lost in the darkness of my broken reality, to feel like my heart, my life, is a bunch of broken, meaningless pieces. But whenever my thoughts and my gaze began to stray into the darkness, he shone the perfect piece of truth that I needed to see. (Remember when He showed me Sophie’s friends at school? Or when Sophie began saying all her letters without any prompting?) He has met me at each and every turn. He has been the guiding light, the source of truth, through all of the mayhem. He has, indeed, been our lighthouse, our constant beacon, shining the truth of his goodness into our lives. Although our circumstances may not have always been good, we have seen that our God is very good to us right in the middle of heartbreaking circumstances.
What do I hope for in 2016? More of God’s goodness. No matter the trials, I just want to see more of his goodness in my life. And I know that often times, for me, I can’t see God’s goodness as clearly unless I’m in the midst of trials and brokenness. So be it, if more of that should come. But I’m refusing to sit here in the grip of my brokenness. Rather, I’m moving forward, pressing in, striving to be a better version of myself in the power of Christ Jesus. Maybe all these broken pieces of my life will be shaped into a beautiful mosaic, through which my Lighthouse can shine his light.