It wasn't our year.
Jamesie's unexpected diagnosis in June, multiple hospital stays, and the reality that our life now looks different than we imagined it would look.
Matt's brain aneurysm, craniotomy, and recovery in August - the hardest two weeks of my life.
Recovering from trauma as a family, and continually learning to cope as new challenges come our way.
It wasn't our year.
But how beautiful a year it has been.
Discovering the truly amazing community that held us together during James's NICU stay, and again when Matt was at Mayo.
Witnessing the countless ways our family and friends and people we don't even know have lifted us in support and prayer to our Father, making the most difficult of days bearable.
Learning that Jesus really does come to meet you where you are, especially when you feel like you can't go to where He is.
Realizing the importance of true rest, peace, and health - physical, mental, spiritual, emotional - and making space for all of those needs.
Cherishing the simplest things - a baby's peaceful sleep, a toddler's too-tight hug, a husband's hand in yours at the end of the workday. Because you can't take them for granted after a year like this.
It was a difficult, sorrowful, exhausting, unexpected year, but it was a beautiful one.
James was born and I was at your little sister’s monastery, and the Sisters, in their peaceful, confident serenity, told me how much God would bless the world through sweet baby James. I have prayed, and cried, and I have had the joyful privilege of being close to you and the boys this past year so much. I have witnessed God’s Grace firsthand. In you, through your maternity, in your marriage. I have seen it, tangible, through the service of your loving friends. I’ve seen ours and Matt’s families shine in unconditional support and profound love. I’ve seen James’ life affect people who likely will never meet him, and transform their lives. 2021 was a hard year but a year of miracle, a year of love, of gratitude, a year of God’s loving and transformative power in our hearts. May He allow that we all continue on our journey toward His perfect love. May He continue to grace you with beauty and strength as you see your adorable sons growing in His love! Isabel, I love and admire you beyond what any words can express, my beautiful, beautiful daughter. Wishing you the happiest New Year!