A couple of weeks ago, as we prepared for Christmas, I started sorting through the photos of 2015. It hit me really hard, just how difficult of a year this has been.
If it wasn't for the photos that I have, I would have no evidence of some of the things that happened. You wouldn't know it from the circumstances I am in here at the end of 2015.
I took some time after looking through those photos to cry. To accept that it was a hard, confusing, frustrating year.
And then I decided it was not going to be the year that destroyed me.
I pushed through the project and ended up spending hours and hours working with the 2015 photos on a photo book for my parents.
Ringger Family Shutterfly Book
It ended up being quite the healing process for me.
I had to make a conscious decision to look for all the positive, God things, making the book helped.
Kiahna has come so far this year. At the beginning of the year there wasn't much hope. I came to a point in February where I was so "done", so angry, so hurting. Putting her in the hospital with so much hopelessness. The aloneness of her disability is overwhelming. The lack of support and understanding and insurance coverage. The list of frustrations with this mental disability is so high.
Incredibly thankful that we have currently found a medication that is helping her considerably. She has pushed through all the hard things this year and come through so much better than I ever could have hoped.
She dealt with having Jim in our lives and then leaving again incredibly well. She has not had a dad in her life at all, and it was beautiful to watch her connect with him. These days she prays for him, some nights she tells me that she doesn't want to pray for him. And I tell her that I understand, but we are called to pray for the people that have hurt us, and it's the right thing to do for our own hearts... some nights she still decides not to, and I get that. Mostly I think I am speaking to myself when I say those things to my kids.
Kiahna changed school buildings and teachers this year. That was cause for much anxiety and fear. Not long into the year the aid in her class was let go, the main teacher had family health issues and needed to take off a couple weeks, new faces, new kids, new building, and all these changes... I don't have to think long to recognize how much of a miracle it is that she is doing this with as little of issues as she has.
I realized about November that there wasn't a real good support system going on at the school, and had to call a meeting and get some things dealt with. After she hit a teacher and threw something. I know well enough to see that this is her only way of saying how incredibly overwhelmed she is & that the support system isn't doing it's job.
Hoping that the new year brings her more success and progress. Praying that she will.
Jadon & Lucas, my two boys living at home with me have been a blessing. I think I will just keep Lucas home with me forever and not let him grow up and get all adult on me. He is such a gem. My quiet, patient, hard working, constantly willing to do anything I ask him to do, son.
Jadon has entered Middle School and all the "joys" that go with that. It didn't take long into the school year for me to see that he couldn't handle the amount of freedom that Middle School was offering. I had to reign him back in and get some perspective on that. He has done better since then, and is growing very quickly into a mature young man.
As the youngest of 4 brothers he wants to be grown up. I am thankful for the good role models he has before him, and the way he can see that wrong choices will take you to wrong places also.
Speaking of wrong places. My prayers for Zach continue. I am thankful for peace of mind. We rarely see Zach at this point, and I am thankful for the times he comes around and seems to appreciate who his family is. Many many prayers needed.
James and Brooke moved to Ossian this year and bought their first house. They seem to be settled into their jobs and enjoying the "no kids" season of life. It's good. Their third shift jobs are hard sometimes, no doubt, but I am thankful for the sacrifice they make in their sleep to be at family functions. Can't say I would do well with those kinds of hours!
With a growing negativity towards police and all other public defenders, my prayers for protection over James are always on my mind. The sacrifice is very great.
Leah is enjoying Huntington University! What a blessing she is, she has decided also to become a member of our church and will be baptized in January. I love that our relationship has grown into a friendship. I miss her horribly when she is gone, but I am thankful all the same she is growing up into an incredible woman.
The hurt of Jim leaving us again hit her pretty hard. I continue to pray for her and the other kids hearts. That they would have the grace to keep forgiving and keep loving as Jesus has called us to.
For me the processing of what happened this summer with Jim being back in our lives for two months and then just being removed again with no notice and no more contact has been long and hard. The battle in my mind and in my heart is intense. I won't say that it is over, because it still rages, though less intense and less hurtful as time passes.
I know that I witnessed a miracle unfolding this summer. I have zero doubts that what I saw, felt and what Jim was saying was real. I won't sit her trying to justify or analyze or figure it out, because I won't figure it out. It's too complex and too many things I don't understand.
I just know that in the months since he stopped being in contact with us the same message just keeps coming to me over and over and over again. And that is one of Faith, Trust, Hope & Love. The message of a Restoring God who does not lie or let things happen for no reason. God's ability to work through any circumstance. His amazing ways that don't make one bit of sense to the human mind.
I will never let myself believe that what I experienced was not of God. That God let all that happen for no purpose. That God isn't still at work in this crazy circumstance.
So, in 2015, I witnessed miracles.
And in 2016 I will expect to see even more.
Hanging on to my hat!
In His Grip,