I am feeling really happy right now. And it’s a feeling I am not used to. It’s been a long time since I felt this kind of happiness, because I have endured an enormous number of trials. God decided to pile a ton of things upon my shoulders, and it all began five years ago, continued and finally came to a rest this year. In 2010 I lost my Dad to prostate cancer, a year later my first dog, Kelsey, died of lung cancer, a year after that my sister died after being in a persistent vegetative state for almost six years. Then six months after that my mother collapsed in my arms, suffering a massive stroke. Now she is in a nursing home and will never be able to be anywhere else. There has been an incredible loneliness in my life for a long time and there were times when I despaired under the weight of depression.

So what changed? What has happened to lift this weight off of me? Well, quite a lot. Like dominoes falling, a number of good things have happened in just one months time.

1. In late April, after having interviewed over 40 times for 38 different jobs, I landed a job. But not just any job! This is my dream job, more incredible than I could ever have imagined. After graduating from school only three years ago, I am now in a top level design position as Lead Designer at a company called Omnilert. The best part is, I don’t have a commute! I work from home.

2. On May 24th, after searching for a bible-based, non-denominational, church for nearly ten years, I found it! One morning I was walking my dogs and a neighbor of mine, whom I had seen several times before but never talked to, came over and introduced himself. Our conversation led into churches and he invited me to check out his church. I accepted his offer and now I am a member of it. I have made a lot of new friends and now do bible study with them and my neighbor. So that quest has finally ended and now I am spending time with my new-found friends, which is another blessing I am thankful for. Up until now, I really had few friends here where I live. Now I have many! Thank you God!

3. I was adopted and raised by two wonderful parents, but often times my doctor asked me if something ran in my family. A question I could never answer because I never knew my biological parents. Two years ago I wanted to do the 23andMe DNA test and find out what my medical risks might be based on my DNA. I was also curious where in the world my family originated. Well one of the benefits of 23andMe is that they also can help find relatives by comparing your DNA to other people who are members and have done the DNA test. On Memorial Day (May 25), I got an email from 23andMe’s mail system, it was from the wife of someone who could be my uncle. I was curious but also skeptical that this could really be true. After confirming some information it became clearer and clearer that this person was, in fact, my uncle and knew my biological mother. Within a couple hours I was on the phone talking to my biological mother for the first time in my life. I found out I have two full sisters (as opposed to half or step), one slightly older and one much younger. Sadly I also learned that my biological father passed away two years ago. But I apparently look a lot like him and my new family is thrilled to have me back. Even though I didn’t know these people from Adam, something inside me told me to embrace them and to become a part of their family. I think it was God telling me that He had made this possible because He knew my heart was drowning in sorrow after losing my entire family in a two year period. Words cannot adequately express how happy I am to have a family again. I love my mother and my sisters, and in October I am flying to take part in the family’s annual family reunion. It’s going to be an incredible time. All I know for certain is, I better pack a ton of Kleenex.

So for the first time, in a long time, I feel happy. I have been crying sometimes because I just don’t know how to deal with these incredible feelings. Tears of joy. Tears of relief. Tears of grace. After going through a great trial, God has embraced me as if to say, “Enough! You have proven your faith, now rejoice in the grace I give you.” It won’t be the last trial, but thanks be to God, this one is over and I have come out the other side holding onto my cross with joy in my heart for what I have been given.

Yes, it’s been a long time…

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