Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009

As we approached Thanksgiving this year, Tricia and I attempted to reminisce about last year's Thanksgiving...only problem was, as hard as we tried, we could barely remember just a few fuzzy details about it. As we moved closer to Christmas, we realized that we couldn't remember much of Christmas 2008 either.

This time last year, Tricia was just coming out of several months of chemo, and was still in the early stages of her transplant recovery. We were still "new" parents, adjusting to life with a little one who was still completely dependent. We were living with my parents and had just bought our first home, and I was spending several hours each week working on renovations. It's not wonder we can't remember much else...

2008 was a year of incredible stress and hardships in our lives. But, as I read My Last Blog Post of 2008, I am also reminded that it was a year of miracles, gifts and blessings. In comparison, as I look back on 2009, this year has been a time for us to use those same miracles, gifts and blessings to give to others.

For the first time during our marriage, Tricia spent less than a week in a hospital in one year (in fact, I can't remember the last time she spent less than several weeks in the hospital). For the first time in our marriage, we've gone more than a few weeks without a scheduled doctor appointment or an unexpected trip to the ER.

2009 has proven that our lives can be, comparatively speaking, "normal". We traveled more this year than ever before, unhindered by medical equipment and doctor appointments. We spent more time on the beach, walking around our neighborhood and just enjoying time with our friends and family than we could have ever imagined before the transplant. We found our groove as parents and have rediscovered what the word "routine" means.

We do not take for granted all of the people, most who are complete "strangers" to us, who have spent hours praying for our family, all of the cards and gifts that were sent our way while we were living at the hospital, all of the encouraging emails and blog comments. Because of the blessings we've been given and the freedom we're now experiencing, we find ourselves in a place where we can return the blessing to others...2009 has been a year for us to "pay it forward" in so many ways.

The investment that others have made in us over the past few years is now bearing fruit in our lives and in the lives of others. Much like I've learned to love giving Christmas gifts more than receiving as I've grown older, this year, Tricia and I have been able to focus less on our own needs and more on the needs of others, giving more of our time, energy, resources and lives to people who could use an extra blessing or two.

I've told you before that I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God never wastes a hurt...He always has plans to use the struggles and dark days in my life to eventually help others who are experiencing similar situations. I also believe that He asks us to never wastes our blessings either by using them for selfish gain and prideful recognition. Everything I have and all that I am is only because of Who He is and what He has given to me...to keep these blessing to ourselves would simply be to waste them.

So, thank you, our friends and family and blog readers, for blessing our lives and giving us the opportunity to return the favor!

There is no way to know what 2010 will bring. We certainly pray that it will be another "easy" year for our family. But, whether it's another season of good health or a year of stress, our only desire is to use what He gives us all to bring glory to Him and blessing to others.

Nate

35 comments:

Marie said...

Thanks for sharing your life with us, it has been a uplifting experiences sharing what The Lord has done for your family, praying that 2010 will bring good things for you and your family
Happy New Year

leinolife said...

What a year it has been! We are so grateful for your friendship & the privilege of walking alongside your sweet family in prayer. May 2010 be rich with blessings & provision in every area for you all!

Anonymous said...

May 2010 bring you continued health, happiness and comfort. Pauline

Shana said...

God Bless You Guys! Happy new Year.

Sarah H. said...

Great recap! Your family always gives me encouragement and helps me take a look at my life to make sure I'm using my gifts. Thank you.

Classy Fab Sarah said...

Sounds like 2009 was a pretty awesome year to be the CF husband's family.... praying that 2010 is even better!

Barb said...

An uplifting post, with reminders for all of us to allow God to work through us, to serve and honor Him. Thanks, Nate - blessings to your family.

Jen said...

Beautiful post :*). Praying for a wonderful 2010 for a wonderful, inspiring family!

Carol said...

So happy that you all had this, relatively 'easy' year to grown together as a family of three. Its been a joy to see a little of the fun, ordinary aspects of life. Wishing you ever more of the same.

Lindy Keffer said...

Nate, I've been reading your blog since just before Gwyneth was born (I'm a friend of Emily Benson Frey). I have hoped and prayed with you many times, but I am just now leaving my first comment. Just wanted to say thank you for your thoughtful words today. This is definitely wisdom born of suffering. The Lord has used your trials to do deeply GOOD things in you and your family. Thanks for being responsive to Him, and may he bless you and Tricia and Gwyneth so richly in 2010.

Ginger said...

Excellent post. I feel privileged to pray for your sweet family since almost the inception of this blog. I pray that God's rich blessings would pour over you, so much so that it fills you up and continues to spill over to those your lives touch. Happy 2010!

Tracy said...

Thank you for sharing your lives with us, you are all such an inspiration. May the New Year bring you continued good health and happiness.

KingsLittleBlessings said...

Blessings to you in 2010! It's been great these last couple of years, following along and watching what God has been doing for/with you! Thank you for sharing with us!

Loretta said...

May God bless you and your family with His choicest blessings in 2010. Your faith and witness have blessed me a great deal through this past year. 2009 started out with the discovery that my cancer was back; I now have stage IV metastatic breast cancer, with a very uncertain prognosis. But I know that God is still in control and that nothing that happens to me takes Him by surprise. Thank you for sharing your lives with us and setting an example of trust, faith, and perseverance. Happy New Year! :)

The Beaver Bunch said...

May you have a fully surrendered 2010!

God is so good! Happy New Year!

Erika said...

Happy New Year!!!

I also believe that God never wastes a hurt, and it is our duty to use our blessings to bless others.

I never thought I would see any "good" come out of the stillbirth of my identical twin daughters-and truthfully, I will always wish I had them here by my side...but I have found such depth and richness, and have been able to reach out to others in a profound way- that I feel that God has not wasted my hurt.

I love reading your blog. I hope this next year is very blessed for you guys!!!

(((hugs)))

-Erika

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the privilege of praying for your family. When we heard that the new Duggar baby had been born the same size as Gwyneth, we went back to the posts of your blog starting with her birth and read through every one of them, commiting every picture to memory. It helped us to pray for the new Duggar preemie knowing exactly what you had been through. No ... God never wastes a hurt and the testimony of your precious family is far reaching, beyond what I believe even you can imagine. Destiny D.

Cool Grandma said...

Very well stated...I am so thankful that things are going well for you and your precious family. I pray for continued good health for 2010 for all of you. Happy New Year!

Jenna said...

Praying for a wonderful 2010 for your family! We also pray for all of those who have hurts and for the economic crisis our nation is in. 2010 will be a great year!

mom2LEAA said...

May you be as blessed in the coming year as you have been in the past year. Thank you for reminding us to be thankful in all times and in all places.

Cindy

Susan said...

Nate - Thanks for always sharing your with us. I still check in a couple of times a day and also on FaceBook. You are a remarkable family, always willing to give and help others. I pray 2010 will be a good year for your family also. Happy New Year.
Hugs,
Susan

Becky in VA said...

Your miracles are many - praise be to God. Praying for all of you for the last two years has been a gift for me. Happy New Year!!!

Can't believe the Sweet One is ready for birthday #2!!!!!!

Love to all!

Karen said...

You and Tricia taught us how to live well, suffer with grace and kept us entertained. Thanks for sharing your lives. I love reading all about you and consider it a privilege to pray. God bless you, continually.

Christianne @ Little Page Turners said...

I haven't checked your blog in over a year - it was originally sent to me by a friend from college asking for prayer for you guys. What an encouragement to see you 3 doing so well! Thank you for continuing to share your story.

Christianne

~j~ said...

This was beautiful Nate. Thank you.
One of the first things I read this morning, which is really such a great reminder to us all, from Deut 11;11-12

"But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drink rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to it's end."

Happy New Year precious family!
blessings always,
julia

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing from your heart and your girls. smg-gdp

Our life is a bowl of Barry's said...

I, too, hope that 2010 brings you another year of 'normality', free from too many hospital visits and illness. Happy New Year N, T and G!!

Twinkletoes said...

Happy New Year to you and your family Nate! Wishing you more health and happiness than ever!
~Lynn/PA

Kerry said...

Thanks so much Nate, Tricia and Gwyneth...as I reflect on the last two years of following your blog, I cannot tell you how inspired I have been by your story and by all you do for each other with each other and for all those around you. It is truly an honor to know there are real, genuine people out here that care about the Lord and his message but be real and genuine and honest. The blessings you've given are far and wide and long.

Happy New Year,
Kerry (CF waiting for transplant)
breathingyouin.blogspot.

Mary said...

What a wonderful post Nate. Thank you for blessing all of us by allowing us to see Jesus through you. God Bless you all in 2010.

Mary in Florida

16 blessings'mom said...

Happy New Year! Your blog has been so inspirational. It is heartwarming to read that, come what may, you will continue to trust in God. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us!! May God continue to richly bless you and your family....

Noah said...

Hi, my name is Noah. I am in Mrs. Donaldson's Biology class in which Tricia attended and i'm writing a position paper on organ donation. I wanted to say that your story is very encouraging to me and is such a blessing to read. Thanks!
- Noah

Tracy P. said...

Thank YOU for blessing US, Nate. I think until you have been at the complete mercy of others who are willing to be used of God, you can't truly appreciate why God loves a cheerful giver, nor can you appreciate the weight of the truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But you have been giving all along, even in your need, through your honesty. I'm thrilled for all of you.

Emily said...

Amen, Nate.
Thank you you guys for being a part of my life, you have blessed me more than you know. To God be the Glory for ALL He does to make us who we are and use CF (and many other parts of our lives) to bless and love others.

Sending lots of love and big hugs to you all in 2010!

Larissa said...

awesome! you are such a blessing and bold witness to God's goodness. Welcome to another year of joys and opportunities, and even growth through difficulties. Because He is faithful! :)