... things changed, life changed, my perspective of life and God changed when my worst fear came true. I always feared losing one of my nieces or nephews, and then my fear became a reality at 10am on Saturday, March 29, 2008. That was the day that my nephew Billy went home to be with Jesus... completely without warning.
He was only 5 months old, none of it made sense... at the time. There are still moments that I have where I want a complete and detailed explanation from the Lord, but I realize that may have to wait until I see Him face to face. However, I've seen glimpses of hope in the last year, I've seen God's hand as He has used Billy's death to show me life. Billy's death was only a part of the puzzle that was God's pruning and beginning to move me from where I was to where I needed to be. I've never felt more pain and loss than I did in 2008. With the number of good-byes (not just by death, but by life changes) I had I really didn't see how I was going to get through it and make it to the other side.
But here I am, barely standing with the scars to prove it. Then I close my eyes and in a flash I remember everything that got me here. I remember falling to my knees the moment my dad called to say Billy wasn't breathing, I remember sitting stone faced when my brother hugged me and told me Billy didn't make it. I remember wanting to start walking to Colorado, anything to get to my sister... she needed me. I remember wanting to do anything to bring that sweet boy back here with our family. I remember watching in amazement and awe as my sister and her husband stood before family and friends to minister the hope and joy that came from Baby Billy's life at his memorial service. I remember coming back home and watching as everyone else kept moving forward with their lives and feeling as though I was stuck in the mud.
As I remember it gives me strength to move forward and to not stay stuck... that is a revelation I only came to this week. You see I miss Billy, immensely, but I don't miss the person I was before his death. People told me this would change me and I didn't believe them. However as I look back on the last year I see nothing but change... I had to. God had no intention of keeping me where I was or who I was and for that I'm extremely grateful. Now don't get me wrong, there are definitely feelings I miss having from last year, but I don't miss the year, I don't miss the person I was. I feel as though I'm finally learning to stop living in the past and trying to re-create what was, but rather learning to embrace the here and now and fully grasping all God has for my future.
Before Billy died I was definitely intimidated by others, I was a chameleon willing to change and adapt according to what pleased others. I wasn't me and I hadn't been for a long time. It was subtle things, but enough for me to look back and realize it was not me. I wanted so much to make everyone around me happy and be the girl they needed me to be that somewhere along the way I kinda forgot the girl I needed to be... period! So as the last year has progressed I've grown back into the girl I was called to be. I picked up the dream I kept brushing under the rug and I'm running with it... in a little less than 2 months I'll have 9 classes left before I graduate with my Masters in Counseling... it's amazing and scary and fun all at the same time. I've faced lots of opposition in this area and I love that I continue to push through and I'm starting to see God's hand in it all. I now look in the mirror and I see a girl full of life, fun, joy, talent, intelligence, compassion, craziness, and sometimes a little sadness. I feel every emotion and I don't care anymore. I'm tired of shutting myself down and out so that everyone else around me is comfortable. What is comfortable? And since when am I the responsible party for comfortableness?
Life is uncomfortable at times and I think those are the times where we grow and learn how to adapt. God has a crazy sense of humor and for that I'm grateful, because otherwise I would probably still be the scared, timid, little girl hiding inside the awesomeness which is the woman I'm called to be.
All this to say, my life did indeed change 365 days ago and as much as I hate and still grieve over what happened, I'm grateful for where it got me. Instead of hunkering down and hiding from life I decided to take it head on and I'm able to see all the beauty that has come with it, and I've been able to see God's hand in the testimonies that have resulted from the lives changed.
I look forward to seeing my Billy in Heaven someday, but until I do I praise God for what He's doing in my life and in the lives around me. Billy left his mark here with us and I look forward to see how it grows as the years go by.