Friday, December 24, 2010


And so I am.

Despite the hardships of this year, I am blessed, and I know it.  I feel it.  I experience it.  I am living it!

As I'm sure is evidenced by more frequent writing, I am coming back to life again.  I'm thinking and processing all that has happened.  I'm beginning to be able to see the blessings.

A few weeks ago, I started composing Christmas letters in my mind.  (That's as far as they have gotten.  I'm aiming for another New Year's letter this year.)  I'm not sure, but I think that I might have experienced a little Post Traumatic Stress.  I'd wake up in the night and relive some of the scarier moments, walking thru the event.  I usually ended up breathing hard and crying a bit.

I gave myself room, sat with the pain, let myself do that.  After all, within a 14 month span of time my son was randomly beaten up and we went thru the police scene and trial, another little son suffered a head-injury in a freak accident, my husband almost died, got another horrible infection, had another surgery, was unemployed for 3 months and had a lengthy recovery, I walked both of my parents thru joint replacement surgeries that did not go well and cared for their physical needs, and thru all of this, I carried our ninth child.  The pregnancy was considered high risk because of a rare rh isoimmunization.  (Big E, little c, and little n.)

I won't lie.  I've gone thru days when it felt like God didn't care.  I've barely held my mind and body together at times.  I don't know how we held on.   I've been angry sometimes, numb sometimes.

And God has handled it....all of it.

As the year wound down, and as I thought about what I wanted to say to everyone, I passed through the angst and God gently began to let me see the blessings.

He was here.  He's been here all along.  He never did leave.  Somewhere along the way I became numb to feeling.  I kept going because there was no option.  I knew, though, that God was saying, "Do you trust me?"  Each event and every time, I knew that was what He was asking. 

He was in the car as I drove along and my little Sam flew overhead in the medical helicopter.  He was in the courtroom as pictures of my battered son's face flashed on the screen.  He was with Jeff and I as we waited to learn the cause of his intense pain.  He was with me as I sat alone while Jeff was under the knife, was with me as I waited to hear if the infection had eaten his bone.  He was with my father and I as we sat alone pre-surgery - when I noticed how small and vulnerable he seemed on the hospital bed. 

He's been with me in every emergency room, every night watch in cold hospital rooms, through every blood draw and ultrasound. He was there, in the birthing room, as our baby emerged and we held him at last. 

How I love Him.

How faithful He is.

He's sent His blessing into our lives through our relationships.  They've been tested, but they stood and they've been strengthened.

We've been blessed by our friends.  By you.

You came out of the woodwork to love us and support us when we were hurting.  Your cards, the meals, the practical things - God loved us through you.

There was the blessing of my healthiest pregnancy and recovery of all.   I bounced back within a few days, with loads of energy and a beautiful baby son.  We got a real person, and for us - that's what it's all about!  :)

God is here.  He's always here.  He's here when we don't know it, don't feel it, can't see how it's possible.  He's here when we celebrate, here when we suffer, here even when we are angry and when we don't feel anything at all.  He's here when we live, He's here when we die.   He's here in ways we can't imagine, but someday, hopefully, we'll know and understand.

He's here.

I say that, not to make us all feel better - but because it is true.  I have experienced it.

He is here.

Emmanuel.  God with us.

Merry Christmas, everyone.  God be with you.


  1. Amen, Holly. I posted a quote from Elisabeth Elliot on FB today that really fits your post here. "God came down and lived in this same world as a man. He showed us how to live in this world, subject to its vicissitudes and necessities, that we might be changed into saints in this world. The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances."

    Have a wonderful Christmas as you delight more and more in His presence with you.

  2. Holly,
    This is so beautiful. It expresses so eloquently what I think and feel and need to speak to myself sometimes. Merry Christmas dear friend. I miss you!!!

  3. He is faithful, God with us, Emmanuel... Oh Holly... sometimes saying Merry Christmas is an act of courageous, bold faith.

    Yours speaks so lovingly of our Saviour.

    I give thanks for brilliant faith like yours...

    All's grace,

  4. Thank you for this Holly. We are still in the midst of it all and He IS here, in the very midst with us.

  5. Oh Holly, this so lovingly captures the essence of what it means to believe in Christ. And it still astonishes me that you and I seem to be walking in tandem here, going through similar spiritual growth experiences at similar times. Not that we're at the same level or anything! Goodness, I have miles to go to "catch up" with you!

    This year for me has also been largely about the message that He is here, is what I mean to say. Having gone through our own brand of trauma a few years ago, it's taken us a bit longer to reach the place we're at now, and we wouldn't be here if not for Him. He's been showing us that, my husband and me. It's been an amazing journey, and I love how you captured not only your own story, but a bit of mine as well. :)

    Heaps of blessings on you and your family! Merry Christmas! *hugs*

  6. Holly, I can't express how much this touched me. You worded this so very beautifully!
    God truly is with us. We are going through a lot right now, and sometimes I forget that, and panic, but God truly is with us, and carrying us through all of it!
    Thank you for writing this! And I am glad that I ran across the blog that linked to this! :)

  7. Merry Christmas, dear Holly. What a blessing and encouragement you have been to me. It's even encouraging to hear of your struggles and to hear you praising God even after everything that has slammed you and your family this year.

  8. This is so uplifting! Thanks for reminding us all of what we so easily seem to forget.