What 2022 Taught Me.

Well, hello friends! Hello from a very long hiatus. When I wrote my most previous post, I didn’t think it would be one of the only posts that I would write for the remainder of the year. I thought it was the beginning of me writing more, sharing my story, but the truth is that I wasn’t ready. 2022 has been filled with more pain and more joy than I knew I had the capacity to withstand, and I just didn’t feel like I was ready to share until my heart was more settled.

I’ve done these posts every year since starting this blog, but this year is the hardest to write. Not just because of what I’ve experienced, but I feel as though I’ve learned so much, it’s impossible to put into a single post. For those of you who may not know, due to complications, my wife gave birth to our daughter earlier this year, and while we had her for a few short hours, she passed away the night after her birth. So, today I will share just a few things I’ve learned over this year. And just a warning—this post does discuss infant loss, so if you’re uncomfortable, please feel free to move on. This year was the hardest year of my life, I just can’t candy-coat it, but I look forward to the possibilities ahead in 2023.

God is holding me regardless of whether I see it or feel it.
After losing our daughter in February, I was so angry at God, and honestly, it’s something I’m still processing. I never felt abandoned by him because I’ve seen so many miracles in my own life, but I truly was expecting something remarkable that didn’t come. I’ll share more of our daughter, Evie’s story in the coming months, but through the pain and depression and grief and what-ifs, God still held me. I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. The fact of the matter is that no one is immune to tragedy because of the world we live in, but I truly believe that God is still God and He’s writing a bigger story that we won’t understand this side of Heaven. Regardless of my fear, regardless of my doubt, regardless of what is in front of me, God is still who He says He is.

Anyone that says, “God will never let you down” is wrong.
Hear me out on this one because I’m sure I just turned some heads. Think about this. Have you ever prayed for something that didn’t come? I’m not talking about praying for a future spouse or for a job, although those are very valid. I’m talking about praying for a miracle that doesn’t turn out how we had hoped. Whether it was cancer, pregnancy loss, illness, infertility, or something else that required us to step out in faith only to lose the one thing we’d been praying for God to save, the truth is that if we live on this Earth long enough, God isn’t always going to do the thing we want. Why? I have no idea! My guess is because we all transcend beyond our life on this planet and there’s so much more that we have yet to see and comprehend, but God is God and I simply am not. Yes, God let me down the day that our baby girl passed away, but here’s what I’ve learned—God may let us down, but He never leaves us. If we live long enough, we’re going to experience loss that is unexplainable in some facet. Don’t get me wrong—I still believe all things are possible with God. I still believe that God wants to give us the desires of our heart, and I still believe that God is in the business of miracles, but the reality is it may look differently than we want or expect. And, we may not understand this side of Heaven, but if we believe what we say we believe, if God is who He says He is, this isn’t the end of the story. I wonder if it’s only the beginning, even in my limited knowledge. I’m about the farthest thing from a theologian, but I feel something inside of me saying that our lives here on Earth are just the beginning of what God has for us.

Our daughter’s death will never be beautiful, but her life is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
This goes back to the idea that we can hold pain and joy in the same two hands, that life is bitter, but also so sweet, the “yes, and”. One thing I learned about death this year is that there’s so much beauty in life. Holding our baby girl for just a few hours changed me forever, for the better. God used her to change the way I look at everything. Her life pushed me to lift my eyes toward Heaven, and while I would change the entire outcome in a nanosecond if I could, the gift that she gave her Mom and I deserves to be shared. I hope I always remember that even in our darkest hour, there was so much beauty.

Courage > Knowledge.
When tragedy strikes, we want knowledge. Why? Why did this happen? Why didn’t you save them? The biggest question I asked myself over and over when we lost our daughter was why? But, one thing that I’m learning (slowly) is that courage will get us a lot farther than knowing why. Knowing why doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the outcome or the reason, but the courage to take one small step forward, the courage to lift our eyes towards healing, the courage to take tragedy and let God use it to help others will transcend any question we may have. Tragedies alone are not a gift, but what changes us, moves us forward, shifts our perspective very much is.

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