December 31, 2013: The scar tissue was starting to form as my heart and soul were gently healing, being nursed back to life with the hope I had found. Six months prior had been spent in solitude on the start of my journey; having fought through a cocktail of loneliness, depression and anxiety sprinkled with a splash of fear and doubt. But on New Year’s Eve I raised my hands in praise and thanked God for what He had brought me through. 2014 was going to be a good year, I could feel it!
December 31, 2014: Sitting here tonight in reflection I could never have fathomed just how great of a year was in store for me! I sometimes feel I lived more life in 2014 than I did in the 47 years prior. The “2014 Year In Review” movie trailer plays in my head with snippets of “True Love Week”, “Hope Over Heroin”, street witnessing with Cheeseburgers and Jesus. I had a son who got married and I gained a beautiful daughter in law, while another son moved away to start a new career and made me so very proud of his fearlessness to pursue his dream. Being sworn in as a Guardian ad Litem and CASA Volunteer and then taking on my first case and becoming the voice of a child. I started a clothes ministry, performed random acts of kindness and experienced many amazing ”Jabez moments” because I listened to that still small voice when it spoke to me and said to move. Took my conceal carry class (and passed!) Created a web-site in memory of my mother and started the process of writing my first book. There were days it seemed my feet never touched the ground. I feel most blessed when I think of all the amazing, beautiful, strong, inspiring women I now call friends. Women I didn’t know a year ago, and so many new friends that I can’t find the time I wish I had to spend with all of them! My cup runs over with blessings!
I look back on this past year in total awe when I think of where I was only a short 6 months prior to 2013. I sat in a bit of depression feeling lost and confused; focusing on what I didn’t have and the many mistakes I had made. I was 47 years old and didn’t have a house paid for like many my age, a place my boys could come to and call “home”. Instead, I was starting over in a small two bedroom apartment an hour away from family and friends. I scrolled through Facebook and felt even sorrier for myself when it seemed as though everyone was out with family or friends on the lake, at the beach on vacation, or at their children’s sporting events while I sat home, alone. So what changed? Why am I able to stand back and look at 2014 in total awe and amazement feeling blessed beyond measure??
Here is my secret: I turned off the TV, I turned off Facebook and stopped being envious of everyone else’s lives and started living, with purpose, my own. I stopped making it about me, and stopped comparing myself to others. Instead of dwelling on what I didn’t have, I thanked God every day for all the many blessings I did have. I not only spoke it, but I started seeing myself as blessed and asked Him to use me to help someone else; being more concerned with showing love to those around me who were hurting or struggling than being concerned with my situation. The best way to have friends? Is to be one. The best way to be blessed? Be a blessing to someone else.
I stopped waiting for the sign to fall out of the sky to tell me “This is what I want you to do” and instead, started walking in faith and pursuing God’s will for my life; finding total freedom in surrender. Taking my hands off the wheel was extra tough for me as admittedly, I like to drive. I wanted God’s will, but I wanted to tell Him how I thought He should fix things for me. Oh I bet He got a kick out of that! If you sit in your misery and say “Why me?” you will stay in your misery. If you stay in a state of anxiety and confusion trying to “figure it all out” on your own, you will stay in anxiety in confusion. When you give it up and say “I trust you God – You got this”! and you take that first step on your journey in faith, you begin to make progress. One step at a time, one day at a time. As you walk forward boldly and pursue God, doors will open for you to walk through. And in the same manner, doors will close. And later, sometimes much later, you are as thankful for the closed doors that kept you from harm as you are the open doors that brought you blessing. And then what happens? You look up and realize a year has passed and you have experienced amazing moments and are in awe of how one led right into another just by walking in faith. I wrote this verse down and hung it with Post-It notes in many places until I got it deep in my soul: “Joy comes as a by-product of confidence in God, not certainty, in ones circumstances.”
Here’s to 2015! May all of you who read this find yourselves having the courage to walk in faith and be beautifully blessed in the coming year!