Out with 2010, in with 2011

New Years was rung in quietly for this family. Chris and I really aren’t late night people to start with, and we didn’t have anywhere to go so we stayed home with the fam watching movies and I think my ringing in of the New Year consisted of brushing my teeth and waving at my parents on the way to bed as the clock struck midnight. Woo hoo!

I feel like I’m kind of in a funny place emotionally right now. I’m thinking back on 2010 and the nostalgia is there, but I’m also anticipating 2011 and the things that are already shaping up there. If I had to do a summary of 2010 it would look like this…

  • Spent New Years Eve with family (Chris’ parents) and sat on our deck under a full moon drinking a bottle of champagne watching the neighbors fire off fireworks at the strike of 12. I think we anticipated a better year for ourselves than 2009 had been. We were kind of right.
  • Almost two weeks after that night our world and the world of not only almost 10 million people, but people around the world was shaken and rocked when the earthquake hit Haiti on January 12. The days and weeks following were an emotional blur, though we know we were the lucky ones that were removed from the immediate impact. When I think back on that day one of the most vivid memories I have is standing on our deck at about 10 pm that night weeping and shaking as I watched my husband step out of our friends car in our driveway. I hadn’t heard from Chris in over 5 hours and could only hope and pray he was okay.
  • On top of trying to maintain the work we were doing with the mission and address the post earthquake needs the best we could under the circumstances we realized that our adoption would not move if we didn’t start pushing. It was a critical turning point for us. We ended up not being eligible for humanitarian parole, and in hindsight are so grateful for God’s leading in that because we can see now his plan for our family was different.
  • We welcomed Peter and Sara Craig to the mission, which was a huge step forward for us as an organization. The things they have brought to the table have been wonderful contributions and their presence and abilities made it possible for Chris an I to take our much needed sabbatical.
  • We hosted several training classes, training over 30 new filter technicians for several different organizations that are now getting filter projects started .
  • We hosted several weeks of Vision Trips and enjoyed sharing our life and work with new faces, made some new friends along the way.
  • In August we started seeing the light at the end of the adoption tunnel and were able to start making loose travel plans.
  • In September we saw the completion of three years of adoption angst and got on a plane and flew out of Haiti as a family for the first time.
  • In October we found out that Little Rolling is on the way. I celebrated by being sick everyday for about three weeks straight. Wow about that.
  • On Christmas Eve our daughter held her citizenship certificate for the first time.
  • We’ve picked pumpkins, we’ve picked out a Christmas tree, watched light up parades, gone trick or treating, walked in the snow, strung Christmas lights, eaten a few turkey dinners, baked cookies, wrapped and unwrapped gifts, gone sledding, had an ultrasound, spent some time away, and just overall enjoyed the fun of Canada.

As we start 2011 I’m feeling hopeful that this will be an even better year for us. 2010 was hard in many, many ways. But, we’re seeing a shift from some of those really hard things to something that I can only describe as a feeling of “newness” or a sense of “moving on”. I told Chris this last week that I feel like the last couple of years for us have been about struggle, pushing through, feeling like we just needed to get through each day, and many days just feeling like we were surviving. In those times we’ve seen things in our selves that we didn’t know were there, saw things that God had put in us exercised. Our faith has deepened, our character has been molded, our values strengthened, and we’ve gained a deeper sense of who we are and what we’re called to do. We have learned what obedience looks like on a more personal level and that sometimes it requires those hard decisions and a sense of purpose that we don’t always know exists. It means questioning things, praying through them, and stepping out in faith to see what trusting God with our lives really looks like.

I know that in tough times it’s easy to feel like we should be spared from some of these things, and I definitely had days where I wanted to go home and I wanted to cry and whine and ask “why me/us?” But then God would remind me that he was walking with us, that he promises to never give us or take us through things that he hasn’t already or will equip us for. In those moments I would be reminded that there are people all over the world that were struggling through loss and pain that was more difficult that any of the things we were going through, that there were people that lived in countries with no freedom and feared things like people shooting in the streets or stepping on land mines on their way home from fetching water. There were families all around us every day that had reached an acceptance of some of the things that we have experienced (corruption, loss, fear) because it is part of their “norm” every day. I realized that there were lots of things that I needed to be grateful for in the midst of those really hard moments, and God used those times to show me more of who he has made Chris and I to be and what he has called us into. Now, looking back on those hard moments, the moments of loss or fear or confusion, I am grateful for the journey because I see so many things that have been direct results of that. I remember going through our first couple years of marriage and having moments where Chris would say something like, “Things are going so well right now. The mission is growing and there are some really good things happening. I wonder how long it’ll last until we have some major problems, because we will have major problems. That’s the way it goes.” Sure enough, we had about three really good years, and have now had about two really hard ones.

As we start 2011 I think there’s a sense of hope oozing up for us. That’s not to say that we won’t still have hard times or moments or experiences that will drop us to the bottom of ourselves, but I think we’re moving into a new phase. A phase of renewal and growth for us and the mission. A time of moving forward, and that’s exciting. I feel like some of the things that started those two difficult years have gone full circle. Our miscarriage was sort of what got the ball rolling, and now here we are two years later with a healthy pregnancy and the expectation that our family is growing and changing. Our adoption which got fully underway in 2008 after 6 months of preparing paperwork, is done. Not only is Olivia a Canadian citizen, but she will be leaving Canada on a Canadian passport next week. The feeling of closure that brings to Chris and I is amazing. I feel like we finally won. After years of struggle and fighting and worry, our daughter will be returning to Haiti with us as a bonified Canadian citizen. We will not have to worry about Immigration issues or whether we still need to get more paperwork and how we do that etc. We are truly done. I haven’t had a good melt down cry over that yet, but I suspect it might come later this week when we pick up her passport.

We are moving on. We are pulling up our bootstraps, or I guess sandal straps, and are ready to face another year of life and ministry and to take all the things that come with it. We are anticipating good things, and are better equipped to deal with the difficult ones. We are excited about getting home, and I think I’m feeling a little anxious too simply because of all the stuff I need to sort and pack this week, while I’m counting sleeps and waiting eagerly. It’s always this mix of excitement and anxiety for me until we get through check in. Then I know we’re on our way and we just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Baby steps equal big steps equal a fabulous journey. Sometimes we trip along the way. Sometimes we come to blockades in the path. Sometimes we have to make the path. And sometimes we get through that stuff and we get to stretch our legs and run with abandon for a bit.

Here’s to 2011 and anticipating all the things that will come with it!

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

4 thoughts on “Out with 2010, in with 2011

  1. Leslie, 2011 will be a Great Year! Remember 2010 is in the past, you have learned and now are better equipped to enjoy 2011. Enjoy have fun and remember you have a great team backing you, God included!

  2. You are such a blessing to me! I am so happy your heart and mind are ready to go back to Haiti and start serving again the great and awesome God who never forsakes us. May this year be a time of showing his love to the Haitians and helping them to regain HOPE that has been lost not only from the devastation of the earthquake, but also from the corruption of government over the years. I am soooo praying that changes will take place in Haiti this year and I know God may just commission the many missionaries there, including you, to start the transition. He didn’t give you and the Livesays rest and months of comfort for nothing. I know you would love for the Haitians to be able to experience some of the joys and comforts that we have, as all of us do.

    My daughter in-law is in Haiti today trying to lay the groundwork for an upcoming mission trip this spring to build a house for a young man she came to know who was her taxi man back in the summer while she was there delivering supplies to the orphange where our grandson had lived. I know my grandsons mother and siblings are living in terrible conditions and you can’t help but want more for them. May HOPE rise up in Haiti this year with the help of God and his servants. I am anxiously waiting to see and hear how God is going to answer my prayers for Haiti through people like you. You are our eyes and ears to this country….and for that I thank you so much.

    May your cup runneth over with God’s blessings in this new year.

    G.S.

  3. And isn’t it wonderful to know that if you stumble and fall, or are just too weary to move forward, God will pick you up and carry you. He loves you thaaaat much!

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