Looking over the past full year of marriage, I am simply amazed. God has provided so much in both of our lives. I recently was overwhelmed by all the lessons that we learned through the community around us. We watched as death suddenly took the life of one of our church moms, leaving a husband and two boys without her here on earth. I cried reading the story of how the college classmate I sat next to at my college graduation lost her first baby to a miscarriage. We talked through what it looks like as we heard of a marriage that was in the midst of falling out of love and seeking to get counseling to save their marriage. There were even lessons we learned through infidelity in a marriage that happened through work relations and now leaves two kids to grow up with parents separated. And even a marriage that fell apart after a more than a decade of marriage. We watched and learned as we hugged our loves ones who lost their best friend to cancer. And learned as we watched parents handle the news that their child was diagnosed with type one diabetes. We learned how families cope with their loved ones who live every day of their lives with brain tumors.
We learned lessons as we got to know our neighbor and how Alzheimer’s has stolen her fullness of life and changed her family relations. Lessons about cars getting broken into and dogs passing away. We took lessons from watching our dear friend leave for a mission trip happy and healthy and come back with his life on the line. We learned how anxiety and depression can so quickly rob someone of joy. We took note on how brave wives stayed in America to work and take care of their family was their husbands were sent off on deployment. We were reminded of how short life is when one of my professors, a homecoming date from high school, and a college co-worker all lost their lives way too soon.
We were able to watch, be in community with, and pray through these hard times with those in our lives. The biggest lesson we learned through this year is that God is still so faithful, and his grace is real.
Through so much sadness that happened in just twelve months, so many beautiful things have also taken place! We watched and learned as a family opened their home and adopted a tiny human to take their last name. We celebrated with friends who made major career switches, graduated college, and moved states away. We got to learn all about our friends’ families as we celebrated at their weddings. We happily awaited the arrival of two little baby girls, one whose parents struggled through infertitily and the other who wasn’t planned but her parents always wanted a girl!
Anything can happen in one year. Anything. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Neither is your next breath. But lessons are learned. Through happiness or sadness, through pain or celebration. The Lord knew what He was doing when he created community! Through all these lessons we picked up in the past twelve months we are overwhelmed with the conversations all of these lessons have brought us. This past year and the community around us will forever change both of our lives, our marriage and our relationship with Christ.
Keep your head up high and words filled with love,
Your friend Colleen Howard