2017, oh how you have tested me. You have made me fully aware of my desperate need for not only my Savior but all of the sustenance that He gives. Every day of this year has had its own share of hard stuff. There have been days that have reached as high as the mountains, full of SO MUCH JOY. And then there have been days that have reached the deepest of valleys in the sorrow they brought. There have been ordinary days and extraordinary days. Days where breathing felt like an accomplishment worthy of celebrating and days where laughter was infectious and necessary. I owe everything to my Lord. For without Him, there would be nothing and as I look back on the last year, there is so much to be thankful for in the midst of the sorrow that has settled in on our family. Our God is good and I’m especially grateful for his steadfast reminders of that; especially since it’s been pretty easy for me to forget.

I had myself all in a tizzy in the weeks (and even months) leading up the Christmas. I wanted this first Christmas without George to be perfect. I wanted to have it all figured out. Every detail, every possible scenario, I wanted to see and feel and acknowledge George Mason. I cried more times than I can count and stressed more times than I’d like to admit over things like stockings, ornaments, and christmas cards. It didn’t feel right to do any of the usual Christmas things if my sweet son couldn’t participate, but it also felt so wrong to not celebrate at all. Obviously that meant that I needed to have everything figured out and decided, right now this year, for how our family would handle the holidays for the rest of our lives. Obviously I was completely rational about this. And obviously not of those tear inducing traditions got “figured” out this year. Despite all my worries and stresses, christmas was ok. I might even go as far as to say it was wonderful. I had nothing to do with that. I also have the rest of my life to figure out how to include and acknowledge my son at Christmas - or any of the many, many other times he should have been here for - and hopefully I’ve learned that my son will always be acknowledged and included in our celebrations, simply because he is our son. Because George Mason McGough was born into this family on February 10, 2017. We became a family of 4, and even though he died, he existed. That’s all that I need to know. The rest is just details and if I’m really willing to trust my Lord, then I would know that’s those details will work out perfectly, exactly when they should.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to 2017 and tomorrow night when we go to bed, we will awake to a new year. I’m trying to think less about closing out the year my son was born and more about how God’s mercies are new every morning. And if they’re new every morning, they must also be new every year - because a year is just 365 new mornings. So as this year was tough, awful, and wonderful, and God got me through it, He will be right there in 2018. He didn’t promise to be there for every morning of 2017 and then leave me to go it alone. No, he said his mercies are new EVERY morning. Every. Single. Morning. For as long as time goes on. 2017 was a year of choosing to find joy. Choosing to be grateful. Choosing to know that the pain of loss is awful but that God is bigger, and stronger, and more comforting than the worst of any pain could offer. There were days when I failed at my attempt to choose those things but God followed through anyway. There were days when my broken heart lied convincingly enough that I felt abandoned by God, but He was there anyway. Every moment, regardless of my belief or acceptance of His goodness and truths, He was there. 2018, by definition, will be a new year with new mercies. New and specific to what I need - often that I won’t even know I need. What a God I serve. It won’t be easy to get through that final countdown as we end this year, but as much as I’ll be sad to see it go, I’ll be happy and excited to bring it to a close.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” - Revelation 21:5