It brings tears to my eyes to think of the year 2016 as a whole. I’ve faced so much loss, so much grief, yet so much hope and evidence of God’s faithfulness.

In case you didn’t know, I started the year just a few weeks after losing our newborn daughter to a fatal birth defect. Our Taylor was born at 30 weeks and lived just under 3 short hours.

To say that experience was earth-shattering is an understatement. I never knew so much grief was possible, even though I knew it was coming as she had been diagnosed at 16 weeks.

Then in February we lost my sweet grandma.

And in March we lost our beloved beagle, Buddy.

In May, we finally got some good news. We were expecting our second baby.

So, as you can see, the year has been eventful. But I’ve learned so much over the past year and wanted to share some of the important lessons God has shown me.

lessons-from-a-long-hard-year

Suffering isn’t part of God’s plan

Rather, I believe His plan is how we RESPOND to the hard things in life. Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. But God is faithful through the struggles and will sustain us through the trials if we lean on Him.

God will sustain us through the trials

I could list out SO many examples of God’s faithfulness through the toughest of times. When we got the terrible news our daughter wouldn’t survive, the doctor could not have been more sweet and kind. My OB took fantastic care of us through the journey. When I gave birth I was blessed with the most wonderful nurse who even took tons of precious pictures of our girl for us.

And that’s just the start – I could go on and on about all the blessings throughout the year that have supported us through times of grief. Especially the hope we were given as we were blessed to find out we were expecting baby #2 in May. You just have to look for those blessings and acknowledge them – it allows the healing process to begin.

There’s no shame in grief

“Jesus wept.” This is the shortest verse in the entire Bible. Jesus, who could raise the dead, was overcome with grief when his dear friend died.

Don’t be ashamed of your grief. It’s ok to share some of it too. We’re human and it’s natural.

Furthermore, the fact that Jesus experienced grief here on earth means that He understands what we’re going through.

lessons-from-year

“Grief only lives where love did.”

God can use your story to help others

When you recognize how God has sustained you through the trials, it only feels natural to share all that God has done. When He has healed you from insurmountable grief you want to let others know that He will do the same for them.

So don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. In this world of only sharing the pretty moments on social media, people crave authenticity. To know they’re not alone in their struggles and that there is always hope.

2016 has certainly been an eventful year. It’s my prayer that these lessons from the past year encourages you along your life journey.

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