Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February: You Horrible Month, You!




I’ll just say it—February can be a pretty horrible month.  The holidays are passed.  The optimistic beginnings of January are over.  March and the promise of spring are not yet.  And no matter how many chocolates I consume over Valentine’s Day, February still stays dark and dreary.

Looking back over the last several years, I see that recurring theme in my life.  Almost as if match the winter season, February is my hard month, my “middle of the story” month—the part when I’m past the opening chapters, still far from the happy ending, and slogging through the middle when the problems get worse.

It’s that part of the story where I just need to hang on and keep turning pages.

February 2010

In February 2010, my oldest was a baby, and we had two historic blizzards, one right after the other.  I remember snow piling up, icicles hanging a foot long, church being cancelled weeks in a row, the electricity going out, and me sitting huddled with my baby bundled up, waiting for the thaw.

She didn’t know it then, but a beautiful spring was coming when her baby would crawl in the grass and pick flowers and enjoy the playground for the first time, and she would realize just how fun parenting could be.

February 2011 -- pajama storytime.

In February 2011, my husband had just started a new job in the middle of a busy project.  He worked long days, sometimes driving home in the early hours of the morning.  I was stuck with a high-maintenance 20-month-old in our little condo beside difficult neighbors.

I memorized Colossians 1:11 that month: “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy….” because I definitely needed that endurance and patience with joy.

She didn’t know it then, but her husband’s company would soon allow him to work from home in a job that would help provide for the family for years.

February 2012

In February 2012, our son was two, I was pregnant with our daughter and experiencing a complication, and we were in the process of selling our condo and buying a new home in a new town.  Neither the buying nor the selling was smooth, and in the middle of it all, our HOA (deleted the adjective used to describe them because it wasn’t very charitable) decided to require all condos to update their plumbing systems to the tune of several thousand dollars that we didn’t exactly have to spend.

So the plumbers turned our place upside down and left with water dripping from our ceiling that they refused responsibility for.  I don’t even remember how this resolved.  I just remember the stomach-tightening stress.
 
It's telling that this is the only picture of me from that month.

She didn’t know it then, but they would escape the condo and the HOA, and move to a beautiful new home in a new town with new friends and a healthy baby girl.

In February 2013, I was struggling with postpartum anxiety and insomnia that would keep me awake into the early hours of the morning.  I would struggle through each day in a daze only to be sleepless again in the night.  We were in the middle of the arduous process of training and completing paperwork to become certified foster parents.

February 2013

She didn’t know it then, but that season of anxiety and insomnia was just what she needed to learn about herself and realize the importance of self-care and rest.  She would begin reading for relaxation again, and prioritizing all aspects of her health.  They would finish the foster care training and get a beautiful baby boy.

In February 2014, I was anticipating the loss of that baby boy around the time of his first birthday.  I was living under the dark crushing load of grief and uncertainty like I’ve never experienced before or since.

She didn’t know it then, but that experience of grief would deepen her faith and bring God closer in a way that would always be meaningful to her.  There would be no happy ending and the baby boy would leave, but there would be a sense of redemption and “it is worth it.”

In February 2015, I was pregnant with our third baby, there was so much sickness going around that it seemed like at least one person in the family was always throwing up, and we unexpectedly decided to foster a premature baby for several weeks.  It was crazy enough to be almost comical—me in my second trimester doing a surprise stay in the NICU to learn to keep a miniature little guy alive.

She didn’t know it then, but that baby would grow big and fast and his mama would soon be ready to care for him.  And the sickness would go away, and the pregnancy would culminate in a gorgeous little boy she had for keeps.


In February 2016, I have a stress fracture in my foot and am trying to take care of three little ones while hobbling around in a brace and sitting down as much as possible.  I am tired and frustrated and sore, and February seems like the longest month of the year.

She didn’t know it then, but her foot would heal and she would walk again without pain.  Spring would come, and her three little ones would keep growing bigger and get to be even more fun.

What about you?  What is your February like?

Are you also in the middle of your story, slogging through loose ends and unresolved problems?

When you just look at your Februarys, does your life seem pathetic and mundane, or like you are stumbling along from one crisis to the next?

It is the middle of our story.  We keep turning the pages.  We look for new mercies every morning.

I wonder what our endings and our springtimes will look like.

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