Grace: Hi everyone! We hope you’ve all had a merry Christmas and are having a happy New Year’s Day. 🙂 This holiday week has been nontraditional to say the least, but incredibly meaningful and hopeful (especially compared to last year!). Last year I spent Christmas in the hospital and hadn’t even graduated to using a wheelchair. This year felt much more like our “first married Christmas” as we got some practice splitting celebrations between families (on separate days, since I still struggle with fatigue) and started our own personal Christmas traditions on Christmas Eve.

Fast forward to Saturday – the 30th – and we had the privilege of celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary. This too felt much more like our first anniversary, since last year I only got to see Ivan for an hour and a half that day: he was moving us out of our old apartment and into a handicap/wheelchair-friendly one, plus dealing with other legal paperwork (all very necessary to the husbandly quality of providing and protecting, but decidedly not romantic). To be fair, the fact that I had just starting learning to transfer to a wheelchair with lots of assistance, had half my face still paralyzed from the stroke, and was working on swallowing without drooling was also decidedly not romantic. So as you can see, we had A LOT of catching up to do on this anniversary. A lot. We still had to split up the festivities over several days due to fatigue and seizure triggers, but I think we made the most of what was available at this stage (sushi for Ivan, coffee for me, and book browsing for both of us). And at the very least, being in the same place at the same time sans moving boxes, facial paralysis, drool, etc, felt like a celebration in itself.

To gloss over the challenges of this week would be misleading: several seizures, my new transport wheelchair, and lots of sunglasses and earplugs to minimize seizure triggers were all involved…not to mention missing church yet again. BUT the overarching theme has been gratitude and celebration. This time last year I doubt we could have imagined succeeding at or even attempting all the things we did do this week. It has truly been a week of blessing to our hearts – and I hope to the hearts of both our families too.

Ivan: Wow…another year is here!! As I take time to reflect on the past year as well as where we are right now, to be honest, I’m not even sure exactly how I feel. We’re still in a transition period, and we aren’t sure how that will end up. But I’m reminded of God’s truth that never changes:

King Solomon said, “Don’t boast about tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day might bring.” Nor what a year may bring, for that matter. So many things can happen in a year!! At times 2017 felt much longer than one year, but as I’m typing this it almost feels like it went by in the blink of an eye. What will 2018 bring? Only God knows. But He knows! So much of life feels uncertain because we don’t know what the future holds, but God knows and He extends His hands to invite us all in to His love and grace.

One thing I am sure of, is that Grace and I are so thankful for God’s care and provision throughout last year! We are thankful for the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ…your prayers! We are thankful for opportunities to grow, learn, and make progress, especially in terms of Grace’s recovery. God is a God who heals, restores. Healing takes time, and will be fully completed in Heaven, but we are grateful for the “in between” time–for the present, for each day that we get to walk closer with Him as He guides us through dark valleys as well as green pastures.

God deserves all the glory for 2017, as He will for 2018 and beyond…here’s to another year of pursuing and loving Jesus, as He has first loved us! 🙂

3 thoughts on “New Year, Old Year

  1. Dear Grace and Ivan,

    Thank you for pursuing and loving Jesus! You guys are such an amazing example of how to walk through trials as believers, and how to uphold and strengthen marriage in the process. Keep rejoicing in every milestone, because God is indeed good!

    Have a blessed 2018!
    Samantha Elliott


  2. You two are so amazing! Yes, I know it is because of your faith in God. May this next year bring many victories in your health, more than two steps forward and one step back. God is using you in so many ways through your faith in Him to those who work with you and watch God work.


  3. So blessed at this report! Much to be thankful for and solid progress made while tough challenges are still there but looking more hopeful to conquer. All my love in Christ to you both,


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