Choose Joy

Seeking Jesus in this crazy journey

Thank you for showing up

I’ve said before that I have the most amazing people.

Our family, our friends, our church… You have been and are carrying us.

As I reflect on the past year, there have been lots of amazing, uplifting moments.  We got to go on our family cruise.  We are (slowly) getting closer to finalizing the boys’ adoption.  We have been making tons of good memories and in so many ways, living a really great life.

But this year has had its share of bumps.  I went on a trip that was supposed to be this awesome girls’ get-away plus inspiring orphan-care conference, only to have to fly home the next day and be hospitalized with a bad lung infection.  I spent the first half of the year preparing to go to the DRC, a place so dear to my heart.  I cautiously committed and got more and more excited as it drew closer.  A week before, some symptoms worsened and it seemed unwise to go to a country so far from the medical care I could need.  I hugged my friends and mom at the airport and cried every day that I wasn’t with them.  The cancer has progressed; the treatments have changed; the side-effects have been hard.  My kids “play chemo” with their stuffies and bring them puke pails and give them needles.  And I am sad that I can’t shelter them from my sadness.

This stuff, it breaks me.  It really does.  But my people come around me.  Every. Single. Time.  They bind up the brokenness, in big and little ways.

Thank you to the people who I don’t even know who made me and our family care packages over Christmas.  We were so blessed.

Thank you to our parents who take off work to come up on chemo weeks, who babysit during appointments on short notice (because sometimes I lack foresight), and who love us so tangibly through this all.

Thank you for the friend who brings me supper every week.  She doesn’t ask if it’s a particularly bad week; she just shows up.  (My kids ate like 8 pieces of pizza each tonight.)

Thank you to the sweet kids at my church who CHOSE to get needles over spray for their flu vaccines so I didn’t have to worry about their contagiousness.  (I cried buckets when I found out.)

Thank you for the generosity of meals, date nights, babysitting.  I know it involves sacrifice for you to serve us.

Thank you for our great workplaces, who are so good to us.  Thank you for our church, the great people I work with, and the people I’m lucky enough to serve with.

Thank you for the messages, the hugs, the ceaseless prayers.  You are carrying us through some hard days.  You are petitioning on our behalf when we don’t have the energy or the words.

Thank you to so many people who have walked into the mess with us.  Again and again and again.  I often think how much easier it would be on your hearts’ if you gave yourselves a bit of distance and if I wasn’t always dumping my burdens on you.  I feel guilty that I can’t reciprocate the way you serve me.  And yet you keep showing up.  You’ve come to me so many time, taken so many phone calls, talked me out of so many deep-dark places (and sat with me in so many others, when it wasn’t the time for a talking-out-of-it).

With so much love,

Alissa (and the family)

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