Happy New Year!

January 3, 2017

I’m back! I spent the last couple weeks focusing on time with my family and Operation Christmas Survival. I’m happy and grateful to report we more than survived it. In fact, we mostly enjoyed it. Sure, there were a few tearful moments, like when Gman gave me the precious Christmas gift he wrote for me. It survived a 9-yr-old boy’s backpack and made it straight into my heart.

IMG_5945So there were some tears, but we didn’t let it ruin Christmas. We went to church together, ate tons of food, played lots of games; saw a movie at the theater, binged on Netflix and basically mastered unproductivity. (We were soooo LAZY).

We definitely missed Mark, but we tried so hard to focus on all the love still in our lives and on celebrating the birth of our Savior. This helped us with the hurt of not having him with us this year.

We conquered another big first – we handled it well even! So when we counted down to the “Happy New Year!” I was surprised by feelings of sadness and loss. We were doing so great, so why the setback now? Isn’t the beginning of a new year supposed to represent hope and possibility? I set goals for my new dreams and look forward to a year better than 2016, so why was I feeling depressed? And then I realized why. 2017 will be a year my husband never lived to see. The year to the right of his dash was 2016. And now that year is gone.

Even though to most, “Happy New Year!” means a new beginning, to me it also serves as a punctuation mark – an end – 2016 must be left behind. Time marches on. Facebook loves to throw salt in open wounds, showing me memories of a New Year’s Eve past celebrated with other couples and then brand-new pictures of the same couples celebrating this year…sans “us.” A reminder that I am not an us anymore. I’m not one part of a couple. I’m just…me. Ugh.

Anyway, January 1 is the first blank page of a brand new book waiting to be written. Although that sort of excites me, it also feels like a large iron cell door banging loudly as it locks behind me. It emphatically signals finality. It taunts a reminder that we are moving farther away from the time we were together.

All of this made me want to calculate how many days it has been. I was shocked. 283 days. TWO HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE days since I held my husband, heard his voice, told him how much I love him, and laughed at his stupid jokes.

But it’s also been 283 days he has been without pain. 283 days since he was healed. And it’s been 283 days the kids and I have survived – even thrived at times. I’m thankful for all of that.

So although all the ways in which we mark time can certainly cause sadness and seemingly magnify our loss, it’s also evidence of our healing and survival.

And YOU! You made it too. When we feel like we can’t possibly do it, let’s take a moment to realize that we already are doing it. So let’s keep going, ok? We aren’t afraid of you, 2017. We know who’s in charge and trust His plans, even when we don’t understand them…like, at all.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (NIV)

God healed my husband, just not in the way I prayed. But he is healed. Thank you, God, for healing him! Thank you, Lord, for being the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. We may not understand your timeline, but we are going to trust you with all of it. Thank you for your provision, your peace, your promises and especially for your Extra Grace. Amen?!

Extra Grace & Happy New Year,




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  • Reply Jeanie Martin January 3, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    You made it through beautifully I would say and with verbs that captured the emotions and words that are salve to your soul. Love you!

  • Reply Karen Underdahl January 3, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Jodi, you expressed your feelings very well! 2017 has to begin a new chapter in your lives, so many new and exciting things God will bless you with! As you said, yes we don’t always understand why things happen as they do but we always know God is there to help pull us through! We need to trust and it does challenge our faith at times. You are doing a wonderful job with the kids, Mark would be proud. So glad that he no longer suffers, your memories will always be special! Thanks so much for sharing with others that may be going through the same difficulties! You are an inspiration Jodi and I am so glad to call you a great friend! Thank you!
    Wishing you the very best 2017 can offer! Blessings to you and your family!
    Love, from ND Karen and Lynn
    I have a new e-mail it is karenunderdahl@gmail.com

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