2017 in review: A year of searching, seeking, fears, healing, unanswered prayers, grace and love abounding

“Yes, she has epilepsy. No, we may never know why; sometimes these things just happen”

Those are the words that were spoken to us in June 2017. But to fully understand you have to go back to January 2017.

January 1, 2017 Olivia consistently lip smacks or swallows in her sleep to the point it was keeping us awake.

January 2, 2017 I take Olivia to the doctor because she is still lip smacking and throwing up. In the ER her oxygen drops to 70% while she lip smacks. I’m told she is fine. To go home. I call her regular pediatrician who admits us for Flu A&B at a different hospital. Olivia continues to lip smack. She wets the bed 3 times over night with no memory of it.

January 3, 2017 7am: I hear Olivia lip smacking. I look over just in time to see her eyes roll back and her body begin to convulse. 45 minutes later her body stops convulsing. We are rushed to the nearest children’s hospital 1.5 hours away.

It’s the end of 2017 and I still don’t understand the events from the beginning of the year. Our year hasn’t slowed down enough for me to even find solid footing.

It’s December the longest Olivia has been without a seizure is 16 days. Most days she has multiple seizures. It’s December and Olivia has had 200+ seizures, 30 hospital visits/stays, 5+ EEGs, 3 one week or longer hospital stays, 1 life changing diagnosis.

2017 hasn’t been all bad, but if you ask me in 10 years what I remember most it will be this: Even in the good times, the bad times were always in the back of my mind. The worry that our world could shift in the next 5 minutes was always there. That the next phone call would be the school calling to tell me to meet the ambulance at the hospital.

Now back to the good:

  • Our beautiful second born turned 1, we have watch Sophia blossom into a toddler with her own distinct personality. She has one speed and it’s fast. She doesn’t do still. She loves fiercely. She has no fear. She is determined and spunky. She is truly one of a kind.
  • Matt got a new job, that will be less hours, closer to home and same pay. This is such a Godsend. He will be able to spend more time at home with the girls. So much stress will be gone.
  • Olivia started kindergarten and LOVES IT.
  • We found out we will be welcoming a third blessing to our home in 2018.

These are things I am thankful for at the end of this year.

This year has truly been a time of searching, seeking, fears, healing, unanswered prayers, love and a whole lot of grace.

I have wrestled with God more this year than in my lifetime thus far. I have yelled and cried and begged God for answers, for healing, for understanding. Only to be met with a silence that it is loud. I have questioned God, I have sought answers to questions which there are no answers.

I have stared my fears in the face as I watched my baby girl lay still for 2 days praying that when she woke up she would be okay. I have witnessed that healing and miracles happen; when my daughter walked out of a hospital after 2 weeks when science says she shouldn’t be okay.

I have had many unanswered prayers this year. My daughter is alive and well, but she wasn’t given a clean bill of health. She didn’t survive unscathed. She will now battle Epilepsy her entire life. She must now possess a strength that is far bigger than she.

I have been greeted with more love this year than I can even understand. The amount of people that have stepped up to help us is innumerable. I have learned to love deeper and better. I have learned that sometimes all you really need is love and the rest will just fall in place even if it’s a messy place.

Grace. So much grace. I have received it and I have given it. I have leaned on its resting powers, on its healing hand. I have learned how God’s grace is only ever truly enough. I have seen first hand the power of what grace can do

This year I have learned so much about myself, about God, about being strong, about being weak. I have learned that God is not too big for my questions. That it is okay to not be okay. That sometimes we are our strongest when we are at our weakest.

This year most importantly I’ve learned:

That your circumstances do not define you. What defines you is how you handle those circumstances.

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