It appears to be that time of year again. The commercials are in full swing, the end caps at the stores are displaying weight loss items, self help books, and all sort of gimmicks to help you achieve your NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS. I know little about this tradition, but I know that I don't think that I have ever kept one new year resolution.
After coming home from the hospital, just days before a new year was to begin, the traditions of setting a resolution struck me as odd. I had just spent five and a half months away from my home. I found a new room that my family called home. I spent most of my days hanging in an ICU praying my baby would live to see another day. Now, finally at home, I have this child that I am trying to figure out what to do with. Looking around the living room, new pieces of medical equipment was scattered all over. There were cords and paperwork and phone numbers and burp clothes and feed pumps, it was not at all how I envisioned bringing my child home.
The problem, it did not matter. It did not matter what I envisioned, this is how God had planned it and at was perfect. She was home and not much else mattered than that! Praise God that for the first time in months, we were all under the same roof. Praise God, the first time in months we could sit as a family without nurses and machines interrupting our thoughts and conversation.
I realized then that a new year resolution actually takes you on a journey. I don't believe it is about the end result but the journey that you took, what you learned, who you are now, and what was taught to you that is the most important thing. I realized that we are missing out by focusing on the end result when it is the journey that counts.
When I first heard of Lydia's diagnosis, Down syndrome, I was given a poem called Welcome to Holland. Maybe you are familiar with it but it talks about wanting to go somewhere and you end up in Holland. It is not where you intended but it is not bad. Things are different, but there is just as much beauty and majesty as the other place. While at first you may compare where you wanted to go to Holland, eventually you settle into your new life.
It is the journey that means the most. Yes, I was nervous about many things with Lydia. I have to say that her medical issues has overshadowed many of the typical doubts about Down syndrome. However, now that we are transitioning into not as sick of a child, there are more and more things about Down syndrome that creep up and leave me in a place I don't like to be. However, it is not the end result, it is the journey, the learning process, the shaping and the molding that is the most important piece to learning about your new surroundings, learning about where God has placed you.
There are many times that I sit and I compare Lydia to the other girls. I know I shouldn't, but I do. However, I realize more and more that Lydia is who she is suppose to be. She may never intend to be the brightest scholar in the world, she may never be a six foot tall basketball player. But she can teach you about joy, about simple things, about love, about laughter, and about being cute. Some things are very similar to Ellen and Allison and others are completely different. And that is just fine. She is right where God wants her to be.
So, if I were to set new year resolutions for last year it would have been to read the Bible in a year and to lose weight. Here is my take on both of them. While I am currently losing weight, I probably have gained more weight than I have lost! I will end the year on being three months behind in my read through the Bible in the year. Does that mean that I have failed?
NO! What I have learned is more valuable than accomplishing those resolutions (if I would have set them!). I may have not finished my read through the Bible in a year, in a year. However, I do believe that God gave me the verses that I needed exactly when I needed them. I know that I made a very diligent attempt at finishing in the year and I was leaps and bonds ahead of where I was the year before. But, I also know that my personal relationship with God strengthened a lot simply because I was being more obedient. No one success all of the time the very first time around. I am not perfect, but I have created habit. I am proud of myself for where I am. See the process of teaching myself to be obedient to get up early and read the Bible, to put my relationship with Christ first, to realize how much better I function when I am walking in God's way, is much more valuable than saying I completed the Bible. It was more than completing a check list, it was about walking a journey, learning and exploring my relationship.
My weight. It has been a battle for a long time. I, however, do not want to get on a diet craze and crash. In my life, I also know that food runs much deeper than just another new diet. Feeding is always a struggle with Lydia. I have learned so much about food and what it is used for for our body. I have learned healthy ways of eating and managing stress. I have learned why God made for and the purpose. I have also learned a lot about faith. Faith in God that He will provide, He will teach, and He will allow success in His time.
I can't quite put into words all of the things that I have learned myself about eating, but I know that I am in a good place. Yes, I have lost weight and I have lost inches, but the most important thing that I have gained is a new perspective. A new perspective on life and weight. My weight did not just come on in a year and it represents pain and stress and running away from problems. I knew that I needed to deal with a lot of that before I was able to successfully change my lifestyle and learn things in moderation. I also learned that I need to know this so I can teach my children very healthy habits and deal properly with Lydia and her feeding issues.
I have to say that right now I am not be any thinner than when I started off last year, but I am healthier in so many ways. I am in a great position physically and mentally (I'm in a good routine of getting exercise and managing stress, and eating for the purpose of nourishment and not just pleasure, I also am managing the stress of feeding Lydia much better). It was a process to learn this, to unlearn what I had been taught and obedience to step forward. This is an important step if I want to do this properly and honor God. I can truly say I am happy with this progress.
Maybe none of this makes sense, maybe it makes perfect sense, but to me the new year resolution craze is silly. Lydia and the life of Down syndrome has taught me that my expectations are only that. Things and situations in life will happen, they will change you, and they will take you on unexpected paths. By being stuck in one thought of thinking, you rob yourself of the journey; the most important part of your life.
I have found too, that some journeys are very difficult. Sometimes you may think that you will be a mom for your entire life and your child dies suddenly, leaving you empty handed and on an unpredicted journey of grief. You may think that you will have a healthy child and you learn about the diagnosis and it takes you on a journey of living life in the hospital, not knowing what will happen from day to day, it will stretch you and teach you and your path will look much different.
No one can tell their path from day to day. God has the entire picture and He is working everything for our good. What I have learned about new year resolutions is to enjoy the journey. Things often don't happen in a year and your path will more than likely take an unexpected curve or dip, but that is OK. Learn, embrace, have faith, and hope in God that you are walking this path to be the person God intended you to be.
I pray that this year I can continue to fully embrace everything about having a child with 47 chromosomes, that I can continue to embrace the feeding journey and rock, and that I am obedient to God and the path that He chooses for me. Here's to another year of Resolution Journey!