Exactly one year ago today, I took my five little children to Michael's craft store to make good on a promise I made earlier that week.
I won't rehash all of the details, as I've already blogged about it before, but, to refresh your memory, I didn't make it through the checkout that day.
Instead, I ended up in the hospital for four days.
The days that followed were frustrating, at best.
Check outs? I've learned to HATE them all.
I've fled the scene a few times in the past 365 days leaving items and bolting to the car for some sort of "pseudo-respite".
But today, I didn't allow the growing giant of fear and anxiety to keep me in my personal quicksand pit. I had a mission:
to finish the craft day that never really began.
As I pulled into the Michael's parking lot today, I barely flinched. I felt confident. I felt the Greater in me cheering me forward.
The logistics of the trip greatly mirrored the previous one: the way I organized the children in two separate buggies, the clear instructions given to "follow me closely, not to dawdle, and to not pick up a thousand things". The only difference was they are all one year bigger than before. Oh, how slowly and rapidly time passes.
We may have only been inside for ten minutes total, and I may not have been mentally calculating to see if our purchases leveled with our budget, but we checked-out this time.
...aaaaaaannnnndddd, I may have broke down a bit while we were driving away. I wish you could've been inside my head for the past 365 days. You'd understand my emotion. I've left myself with a sort of precarious mine field. But today, for some odd reason, I danced around all of the mines almost with an eerie intuition.
Craft day was about to commence. One year later.
We even threw in a picnic and a park trip before heading all the way home. For children that no longer take outings with mommy for granted, this was a busy day for us. Although, the amount of busy we used to tackle, before last years Michael's trip, was infinitely more so.
No matter. What's past is past.
What matters now is that I keep moving forward, toward Christ and freedom and away from Satan and fear.
What matters is that I keep talking about my struggles because they may help you or them or someone.
What matters is that I continue to acknowledge the fact that no matter how tough life gets or seems to appear, that the God I serve doesn't ever leave me. He doesn't cease to be good, and He always, always sees me. My frustration. My tears. My exhaustion. My giving up time and struggling forward times.
I owe it all to Him.
I owe it to my husband, who I never imagined I could love like I do right now.
I owe it to my children. The grace that radiates from those five precious lives is intoxicating.
I owe it to my parents, my siblings, my extended family.
And, of course, the friends that God served up on a silver platter and, in exchange, became family.
Thank you. Thank you so much.
And so, we just now swept all of the scraps and crafting excess away and are left with the day I meant to create for my children one year ago. Memories. Love. Laughter. And a mother just a little bit stronger and more brave than yesterday. And that makes everyday worth creating.