Christmas time is one of my favorite seasons. I feel especially thankful this year, to be spending our first year as a married couple. I am deeply grateful for how so much has changed in my life since the Christmas season 12 years ago. I was gravely ill, and received a health diagnosis that was devastating. We cancelled our trip to see family in California because I was too ill to fly. Looking back now, I see that I had already overcome the lowest point physically. But at that time, there was uncertainty. My parents’ hearts were so heavy. The life they imagined for their daughter was now a question mark.
Would I be healthy enough to attend school on a regular basis again? Would I be able to attend college? Could I ever travel again? How could I take care of myself and be independent? Would I have to live on disability?
That was the Christmas we looked at 12 years ago. I underwent a major surgery to restore my health. After several years, I returned to school full time, travelled to Latin America and Europe, moved away from home and lived in California & Massachusetts to finish my 4 year degree. I am married and work full time at a job that brings me a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Even though there was a relapse, and I still have day-to-day fatigue and symptoms, I am blessed to be entering into this season with joy in my heart.
There was a time not long ago when I couldn’t imagine inviting someone in to my life to love me and know me, to take my broken body as their companion. I couldn’t imagine sharing the pain of losing remission, of residual symptoms, of days hooked up to intravenous medication, and how awful some side effects can be. I couldn’t imagine how amazing and wonderful the man would be who would want to take this mess on…. who would dig through the dirt, research medications, motivate me, and do everything he could to make me stronger. I couldn’t imagine how he could feel knowing that things I once loved to do were just out of reach. I couldn’t imagine the patient servants heart that God was preparing me to share my life with.
There are friends and family facing hardship during the holiday seasons this year, and the spirit of “merriment and good cheer” can make the heart ache that much more. I want you to know how much I love you, how much hope there is in this world, and that seasons of darkness during expected seasons of joy are more than okay.
Jesus came to this world in darkness. In the night God came quietly to bring His light to this world through His son. He will come to you in the night.