2016 was Hard, but Great.

As I look back at the whole year, the feeling I have is best described as, “ugh!” I’ve lost a lot. Infertility became one of the most common words I’ve had to fight with. We lost our Colorado family and community when we moved to Michigan. We sold our beautiful home and all the wonderful opportunities of hosting people from all over the world and having a big yard with bon fires every Friday night. We left our amazing jobs and comfortable income. We lost the mountains and the hiking. We lost the sunshine and warmer temperatures. We lost a grandfather and a grandmother. This year hurt…bad.

But I can’t stop there. It wouldn’t be fair.

As I look back at 2016 I see so much gain. With the infertility struggle, we found support, kindness, and loving people who surrounded us in our many moments of sorrow. With the loss of our loving Colorado surrogate family, we gained our biological family and extended family. With the loss of our beautiful home, we gained a gift of living with family so we can save money in order to pursue our dreams. With the loss of our dream jobs, God gave us the vision of an even better career and the opportunity to actually make that dream a reality. We lost the mountains and the hiking, but we gained a gorgeous beach in the summer and lots of snow in the winter. We lost family members, but we gained deeper bonds between us and the opportunity to be with our family while the losses happen. You see…every loss, every struggle, every stabbing pain was matched or exceeded by joy, anticipation, or the planting of something new. The things we have gained because of the losses makes the feeling of 2016 turn from “ugh” to a contented sigh. 2016 was still difficult. The losses are still hard. But I choose to look at all of it. Both the good and the bad.

My challenge for you and me in 2017 is to find all the good that comes from the bad. Instead of being a victim of life, I want to be in charge of how I react to the bad circumstances. It all comes down to choice. Will I choose to see only the bad, or will I choose to find the good? It’s no easy task, but it is worth every ounce of effort.

As we move into this next year together, may your fight for good be blessed and encouraged. May you be protected against meaningless pain and find redemption in all things.

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