2013 is almost over. And while part of me doesn't want it to end, part of me sighs heavy relief at the same time. It's been the hardest, most tumultuous year of my entire life. I pray I don't have another like it.
With every new year comes resolutions. Resolutions to be aspired after, tried, and most often broken. I don't remember if I even made any resolutions for 2013, but if I did, they never came in to play.
I want to do it differently in 2014. I want to set goals for myself. I want to be purposeful. I want to follow through on doing things that will help me heal, grow, and challenge myself. I've said previously that I've been finding a lot of help and hope in listening to Faith Radio. I have take-aways from every show, every day. It's been incredibly challenging and encouraging to listen, remember, and apply new principles and ideas. Along that same vein, the sermon in church on Sunday was especially encouraging and challenging. One of the statements made was to "resolve to seek righteousness." Wow. I've made the resolutions before to read the Bible more, (what is "more" anyway? More than never?), pray more, etc. But to resolve to seek righteousness? Who would have thought? The pastor did. And thank goodness, because it was a powerful message and thought. I'm going to do it. I'm also going to resolve to read my Bible more. But not just "more". I'm going to resolve to read it daily. And to retain and focus on what I'm reading. I'm going to resolve to seek righteousness, and I'm going to start by being in my Bible, purposefully, every single day.
There are other changes, challenges, and pursuits I want to make in 2014 as well, but I'm not going to spell out every single one. I've most likely lost your attention by now anyway.
One thing I will say is - 2014 will be the year of ministering to the hearts that are broken like mine. I've read so many blogs about perinatal loss, grief, etc. and I want to be a resource for people as well. I know those have helped me so much, and there are so many truths those people spoke to me. So many of those truths I wanted to be the exception to. I wanted it to not be true for me. Yet...that wasn't the case. They speak of what they know, and what they know is they've been in my shoes. They know where the road leads and what challenges and heartaches are along the way. And now I know too, and want to also encourage and share with the loss-world. If I can bring a glimmer of hope and encouragement to any grieving mother or father after the loss of their baby, I would be honored to have that part in their journey. And this is a journey I understand. A journey I get. I'm not the same I once was, and others soon forget that. I live it, though. I understand what it's like to be expected to be the same Val I was before losing Harlynn. But I'm not her anymore.
A dear woman, and new friend, said during a speech once that after she suffered a serious brain injury, since she looked the same on the outside, people assumed she was fine. Some were even annoyed or put-off when she would display awkward behavior - after suffering a BRAIN INJURY! But since her outside was the same, they assumed the inside was too. She made the point of "not judging a book by it's cover." Her cover was the same. Her story wasn't. Her speech resonated with me to the very core of my being. My cover looks the same. My story, however, is not.
So to those people who have the same cover, but their story is different....to you parents who had to part with your precious babies....2014 is the first year of many I'm devoting to you. To helping you, to hurting alongside you, and to honoring the little ones you love. I resolve to do this. I commit to it. To you.
2014, the new year, won't be a clean slate. I have scars and wounds still healing from this year. Just because a calendar turns, doesn't mean everything from the previous year goes away. Harlynn will be a part of this family for always. She'll be a part of my life every year. Losing her has taught me numerous lessons I dare not forget or dismiss. But even though I will forever carry the events and heartache of this year with me, I do have hope that next year will be brighter. I do have hope that I'll continue to grow in love and learning from everything we've been through. I do have hope that Harlynn will bring big things to be in 2014.