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I loved him through it. 

A friend was telling me about a difficult period in a close relationship, and her five words have been running around in my head and burning in my heart ever since.

I will look back on 2013 as yet another crazy full year with another funeral, a couple of weddings, a birth, an international move, and a two-year-old. One day when our lives slow down I’m sure I will think back to these years when everything seems to happen all at once and wish for the action. Right now I long for rest.

It is easy for me to remember my dreams for this year, to see what did not happen, the house that was never clean, the teeth that weren’t flossed, the unfolded laundry, the pilates I didn’t do, the harsh words spoken, but those five words, they tell a better story.

God loved me through it. 

When I was pregnant and barely able to get through my days, he loved me through it, and at the end of the day, I could celebrate that I was there. Standing. The day was done, and I had made it. He loved me through spare ribs from my favourite Chinese take away, through orchestra performances watched with Husband by my side and a kicking baby in my womb, through my favourite purple maternity pants and black t-shirt with pink flowers.

The days when I did not think I could handle one more tantrum, when I horrified myself with what I could do and say to a Little Boy who could barely put two words together, God was there, and he loved me through it. He taught me how to ask forgiveness of my son, how to receive grace from a still baby, and he gave me what I needed moment-by-moment to parent with strength, love and kindness.

Laboring through my second birth with a delivery that was going no where, pushed to my limit, but never without his presence, God loved me through it, there was grace holding me up, pushing me forward, a healthy, beautiful son. I slept so soundly in those following days in the hospital, the best chocolate tart I’ve ever had for dessert one lunch, friends who sat and listened to the birth story, all gifts of his love.

Transitioning to life as a family of four, leaving our lone family home in Geneva, saying goodbye to our beloved apartment, ending a chapter, and working with a little boy who was heartbroken and confused by it all. I don’t even know how we did it, why it was mostly so easy, how I was able to say goodbye to a place that held so much beauty, so much promise, so much pain. He was there. He loved me through it, and I know that the chapter is closed, the story is finished.

And Sweden, what can I say about this land filled with quiet, private, kind, helpful people? I’ve lived here for almost five months, but they have been full, beautiful ones. I think I’m in the kindest, most helpful part of Europe, and every time a shop attendant helps me in the store, smiles at me and says, Have a nice day, God is loving me through them. Every day I get out with two kids in the car, find parking, get them out, navigate a new culture, new roads, darkness, one snow day (so far), a new medical system, grocery store and language: God is loving me through it and in it all. Sweden has been good to me and good for me, the love of God in this short season of life.

I can hear the fireworks exploding even though it’s only 7:01pm, Baby is cooing beside me eager to get to sleep, Husband and Little Boy are on their way home. The toddler will go to sleep, and we’ll have a grown up dinner of fondue Chinoise, a family tradition of his. And I will sleep as much as I will be allowed by our smiley Baby.

I’m here. The year is done; I can say: I was loved through this year, in all of my mistakes and successes, in all of my good and bad, in all of my ups and downs, God loved me through it. 

And I am thankful.