What You Don't See in my #10yearchallenge Photo
There is a challenge on Facebook right now called the #10yearchallenge. Essentially post a picture from 10 years ago side by side to a photo from today. When you look at another person's photo, you are probably looking at either the growth or damage a decade has done aesthetically to a person's body. Sure, John is a bit grayer, Elena is a big kid now and well, botox makes my forehead look the same.
But what you don't see in my #10yearchallenge photo is how much that couple in the photo has grown together. 10 years ago, we had been married just under 2 years, we were over $150,000 in debt from student loans and I felt overwhelmed with fear at the idea of having 2 kids. Two kids, not seven, raising seven kids was never on my radar. I had only been a Physician Assistant for 1 year at that point and was just starting to not feel completely overwhelmed when I went to work in the ER. I resented the fact that I had to work full time and couldn't be home full time with my baby Elena. We went to church as a little family every week, but my reliance on God was nothing like it is today.
What you don't see in my photo is how much grace God has given me to answer the call of my vocation to being a wife, mother of 7, and Physician Assistant. God's grace allowed me to turn resentment at having to work full time into gratitude to be able to work full time and provide for my family. That grace allowed me to overcome the stress of the idea of having a larger family. It allowed me to let go and let God when things don't go perfect with my kids. It allowed me to become a professional multi-tasker to manage so many people's wants and needs at the same time.
What you don't see in the photo is a PA that used to be scared and anxious about seeing patients and not know what to do to now being a confident and grateful person for the opportunity to care for my patients.
What you don't see in that photo is how much John and I have grown as a couple. Seven pregnancies and seven kids has filled our lives with utter joy, but it hasn't been easy. Bed rest on a few of those pregnancies left John to care for a lot of little kids solo. A placental abruption and massive hemorrhage during my 4th pregnancy with subsequent NICU stay brought the two of us closer together and closer to God as we prayed together for my health and the health of our baby.
What you don't see in that photo is a man who kept his vow to be by my side in sickness and in health. During my first hospitalization for paraneoplastic syndrome, John rarely left my side, and cried and held me when I received my final Sacraments of Anointing of the Sick, Eucharist and Reconciliation.
What you don't see in that photo is a million laughs and smiles at seven first steps, first words, first days of school, near monthly birthday celebrations, holidays and vacations.
What I see in that photo is a family that has grown closer together and to God over the last decade. I see a family that isn't perfect but we try our best to do things for the greater glory of God and I can't wait to see what the next decade brings to us. What do you see in your 10 year challenge photo?
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam