Where have you been the past few years? You all have asked me that with excitement and thrill in your voice. Well, at least in my head you are asking this questions. So, just humor me as I monologue my whereabouts. I have been living the “Jonny Cash” song of events. I like to call them the hidden years. These years have been filled with several changes: heartaches, caregiving, deployments, deaths, health crisis, weight gain, weight loss (I like that change), hair color, hair length, cars, car accidents, kids moving, new homes, pregnancies, dog sitting, dogs puking, dog hair everywhere, new diets, and new jobs. Sounds like a country song, eh? As many of you know, our life as a military family is ever evolving and keeps us on our toes. Our middle son was injured during war in August 2011, and we have the precious privilege of giving care to him. Caregiving can place a person in a state of isolation. I prefer to call it protection; protecting the one we’re nurturing back to health. We are guarding him from onlookers and those who don’t understand a person with a head trauma or PTSD. Or in this case a head trauma and PTSD. It is an honor to care for a wounded warrior. It may not always be easy, but it is always worth it.
In case you’re wondering (let’s say you are), I have been writing, but it has mostly been for myself and my family: journaling, writing promises down, writing words God has given me for my children and Joe and I. But, for the most part, I have been in secret. I wouldn’t call it a wilderness, but definitely a time of wandering while I meditated on what God was doing with me, with us, even with our two dogs….
In October 2016, I quit my job to focus on my health. After emergency surgery in 2015, I struggled with recovering. I have had several autoimmune diagnosis, (good fun) and this has set me on a path of prioritizing myself. This was a hard pill to swallow, not to mention the variety of actual pills I had to swallow. Barf. Facing these types of difficulties can make a person reevaluate their life. Plus, it made me make Joe learn all the passwords to our banking and online bills. That may have scared him a bit, you know, because I was dying. Seriously. In case you’re wondering (let’s say you are), I am doing better. I have my good days and bad, but I am on my way to a healthy body again. Thanks for asking.
So to answer the question I made you ask, “where have we been?” We have been on the other side of the pond. No, not Europe. I wish. We have been tucked away in Bremerton. We are starting our seventh year on the peninsula, and it’s Ryley’s seventh year since his injury. These past years have been filled with lots of questions, mostly from me. “What do you want from me, God?” “Am I still going to be used by you?” “Are my days of ministry over?” “Should I lay down my hearts desires?” “What about these extra pounds I keep gaining and losing?” All these questions, and more, were always in the front of my mind and heart during my hidden years. A time where I felt pulled from the race to care for another runner- my son. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to help my boy, I just wanted God to either release me from the heart pull I had toward the ministry, or give me patience to wait out the hidden years. Wouldn’t you know it, He chose the latter.
However I felt, God was stirring something new in me at the end of 2018. (BTW, the number seven means completions), and thank God Almighty there is an end to some of our trial, although weight and hair color will always be a dilemma. This stirring started in the midst of Ryley and I, once again, having to fight for his VA benefits. That is a blog all on its own, so I won’t bore you with too many details. But, let’s just say, I was preparing to contend once again for my sons rights and benefits. Rant moment- It’s ridiculous that we even have to do this!!! -Rant over. I began to feel that horrible feeling of dread and fear of failure creep up on me. I was growing tired of this fight. Then, the Holy Spirit spoke right in the midst of my heartache, “Holly, I want you to dare to hope again.”
Wait, what? Dare to hope again? Had I become a pessimist? A doubter? Absolutely not! I am ridiculously optimistic, it annoys my family. I’m like Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. But my Heavenly Father was encouraging me to not dread the battle.
I was not to fear the work that was before me once again. I was not to let my mind flood back to 7 years ago when I was fighting the army for my sons care. I was to not focus on the negative side of “what if”, but to DARE TO HOPE AGAIN! Dare to forget the former things, the past failures, the past sabotages of the enemy, the past times when hope felt lost and was more of a fairy tale. OKAY, maybe I was a little pessimistic. But I was instructed by Jesus to take a new grip with my tired hands and strengthen my weak knee, to throw off everything that was hindering me… the weight of dread and to Dare to hope again. –See Hebrews 12:1-12
This brings me to the conclusion of a new blog, and the start of a new year full of Hope. We have had a lot of wonderful things happen during 2018: Cody and Whitney bought a home. Sydney and Kyle are expecting (Yay, I’m gonna be a grammy! Eeek!!!). Jessey got out of the Navy and is working with Joe. And Ry has THEE advocate working on his behalf for his future. We are still waiting for word from the VA so we might as well watch grass grow and paint dry while we move forward in hope. In the meantime, I will keep writing, keep hoping, buy lots of baby clothes and house warming gifts, and try to eat right and pick a decent hair style.
My hidden years have been precious to me but God is calling me out once again. I just finished my first Young Adult Fantasy book and am ready to reenter the blogging and writing world. My hope is that I can encourage you, my friends, to pick up old dreams, forgotten promises, tucked away words of prophecy, and stir up and fan into flame the embers of Hope that may be lying dormant in a weary heart.