We had a very quiet and peaceful Christmas and I am so happy we’ve said goodbye to 2015. It was a difficult year for the whole family. We ended the year with a flurry of activity as we wrapped up MJ’s resume and portfolio and prepared for the holidays. So, I’ve been letting MJ take a breather while I focus on some other things. Here’s a quick recap and some thoughts for the year ahead.
MJ started the year still struggling to get through college classes. We fought constant battles to stay on top of the work so she could pass. After 4 years of community college, we were doubtful that MJ would ever be able to get a degree and she was unsure of what direction to take. We felt like there were very few alternatives to school and not many opportunities available. I was still having a rough time comprehending her gender issues and was distressed by the nocturnal schedule she was keeping. She also had some online relationships that proved to be toxic and often times debilitating.
In the last few weeks of the year, MJ had finally been sleeping at night and getting up in the mornings. Sometimes she even made herself breakfast before my husband left for the office. Of course the schedule was disrupted during the holidays, but I’m hopeful she’ll be able to get back to it soon. We made slow but steady progress in the Pathways program. The visual resume is done and her portfolio is in good shape. The team is poised and ready to line up an internship for MJ. And though she still doesn’t drive much, MJ finally has her driver’s license. If you’ve been following my posts, you also know that I finally came to a place of peace with her gender identity. I’ve come to accept her transitioning appearance and support her by taking her to the hairdresser, shopping for clothing, and helping her out with hair removal products and cosmetics. We ended the year with high hopes for the future, deeper love for each other, more patience, and a resolve to enjoy each others’ company more.
While recapping the year, it occurs to me that what I am most grateful for is that God transformed our relationship. He softened my heart, replaced my anger and despair with compassion, more kindness and hope. These fruits of having lived the year praying for wisdom and guidance and seeking Jesus are precious to me. I pray for the strength and determination to continue to walk in faith, even as the enemy seeks to distract me in the next few months.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
– Galatians 5:22-26
We’re still waiting for MJ to make a move toward getting hormones, if that what she wants. And she still isn’t very sociable, so the only people who she’s requested use female pronouns with her are the people from Pathways. Our family members have all been loving and respectful as she presents more and more like a girl, wearing boots with heels, women’s tops with tight pants and sporting long manicured fingernails. And she’s been wearing her hair very long with bangs for quite a while now. I think we’ve all gotten used to this look. I have to admit, she looks pretty. In the next month or so, we’ll add things to her wardrobe that will be suitable for the workplace and I’ll try to help her develop a gender presentation she feels comfortable with.
Here is my vision for MJ in 2016. I guess this is not too different from setting IEP goals.
Professional: She’ll begin to develop and be working in her chosen career.
Financial: She’ll generate a steady income and create some savings. She’ll learn to manage her money and build her credit.
Social: She’ll go out with friends more frequently, let’s say at least once a month.
Physical Health: She’ll get into a healthier sleep/wake schedule. She’ll start getting some regular exercise.
Independence: She’ll be driving herself to and from work. She’ll do her own laundry.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
– 1 Peter 4:8-11
By the way, remember the friend I mentioned in the last post who was homeless? Turns out she was likely lying in order to get money for her drug habit. MJ hasn’t communicated much with her since finding that out. She wanted to confront her in person while we were in the area over the holidays, but we never did. Please join us in praying for her. Whatever her situation is, it can’t be good.