Why Celebrate?

My daughter Anna struggles with depression and anxiety because of her Non Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). She was hospitalized eight times within a two year period. It was hard, real hard. Basically every three months she was in a hospital or C-BAT unit. But after that, because of her hard work and the prayers of many friends she started to make significant strides in learning to cope with her NVLD. When we came to the one year anniversary of her being free of self harm and hospitalization we had a celebration going to her favorite restaurant, the China Buffet. When she made it two years, we had a party with family and friends to celebrate her accomplishment.

But three months after the two year celebration, she hurt herself again and ended up back in a C-BAT unit.

The question has come up: what is the point of celebrating such milestones of recovery when there is no certainty that the recovery will continue without times when we fall? Does the fact that she fell again say that our celebration premature?

The reason for celebrating is not about what you are going to do tomorrow. It is acknowledging the work that was done in the past. She worked hard. She accomplished a lot. That was worth celebrating. We weren’t celebrating the expectation that she would never fall down again, we were celebrating the fact that she had gone so long without failing down again.

And you know what? She had a much easier time getting back on her feet this time. She is not the same person she was four and a half years ago. She is in not in the same place she was either. She is stronger, wiser, and more resilient. And so are we and the rest of her support system. Celebrating her milestones is about building her up, giving her hope, and acknowledging her work on her journey, not setting expectations for perfection in the future. She knows that.

I say, yes, it was worth celebrating. It was not a mistake. It was not premature. If I had the chance to do it over again, I would. And when we get to a year from her latest trip, we will all celebrate again. Love drives us to celebrate these milestones with her, no less than it drives us help her up when she falls.


  1. I think that every small positive victory, blessing or action He bestows on us helps us meet the needs of others in difficult situations. We can share, encourage and bless others and give Him the glory.

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  2. I was thinking the same thing, on a much lesser scale, just the other day. I’ve been trying to declutter more lately….to live in the house I want to live in and not the messy one that I allow to build around me. I did a great job cleaning…and started to congratulate myself. But right away that voice came in…”Ya, you’ve done this before…it never lasts…you have no business feeling proud of yourself.” Hmmm. But then I thought…”Wait a minute! How do I know this isn’t the moment when I change for good? I have made other changes in the last year and they have lasted…this one could too. And so what if it doesn’t last and I am in this position all over again? Right now, I did something that had felt impossible to do.” And THAT is a reason to celebrate. 🙂 Jesus doesn’t just celebrate our giant steps…He celebrates our baby steps too. And since he’s the example to follow, I guess we can celebrate them too!

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  3. Amen! Celebrate those milestones. In life we never go backwards, although sometimes it feels that way. Every single thing that happens is actually moving us forward. I often forget that.

    You are really blessed in your area, too. My state ranks 48th in the nation for getting people the services they need and it just isn’t pretty. On the bright side, lots of people see the problem and maybe someday we’ll start doing something about it.

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  4. Continue to celebrate!! Celebrate life, celebrate love, celebrate recovery! Just celebrate. God is good and He has a plan. He uses all that we go through… Lil’ Anna will one day have an amazing testimony. She is blessed to have you and Mandi and a wonderful support system with her family!

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