2013 comes to a close today. Like most people, I have been reflecting on this year. Thankfully, I am smiling much more about this year than I have in a long while in my reflections. Today's post is more like a journal entry, perhaps a peek into my soul in some aspects, than it is anything profound. But it's what's on my mind and heart, and thus I write it.
I have found that this year was about significant, exciting growth for me. I feel that through obedience to Christ and a new, profound understanding of grace, I have moved forward in pieces of my life that I once viewed as roadblocks.
2013 in review…..
Anxiety once held a grip over my heart like the cold wind taking your breath away. I feared that I would never overcome this obstacle, that its grip would always hold tight on my emotions and reactions. And yet this year, I experienced a new freedom from anxiety I thought would never happen. It has been a refreshing breeze in my life to let go of what once held me down in this aspect. By God's grace, I was able to stop taking medication for this and a new sense of peace replaced the grip of the anxiety. For some, I know it's not that simple. I thought I'd never have that freedom again. But it is just that for me: a new sense of freedom; a weight lifted that once sat heavy on my heart. It does not mean I do not worry (on the contrary: those who know me, know I worry about WAY too much! ) But it means that I don't have to literally gasp for breath anymore because of panic attacks; it means that I don't cry quite as often; it means that I don't need a medicine to slow my heart down or calm my pounding fears. For me, it s a true freedom I haven't felt in a long time. And one I do not any longer take for granted.
I still fight the depression. Believe me, I attempted to stop all medicines, thinking I was in a place to be able to no longer need them. And yet, through some battled emotions, some wise counsel, deep prayers,a good doctor and loving family and friends, I accepted the fact that this is still a battle I fight. And accepting that is in part a victory. Many are surprised to know I battle depression. It is my thorn, as Paul referred to something he constantly battled in the book of Corinthians. I call depression my thorn. It makes me rely on God in all new ways; His strength made perfect in light of my weakness. And if it can be used for His glory, then I accept it even more. Many battle it; few openly talk about it. Depression looks different for any person who experience it. It can be a dark place at times; I have also seen God shine through it when I let Him. Sounds easy….but seeing Him in the midst of it is not. Yet when I allow Him to be my strength ….it makes all the difference.
I have learned this year to embrace who God has made me to be. I work as a barista, but that is not who or what I am. I write, but that does not label my life. I am a wife and a mom, and love those roles more than I can express, yet those are not my definition. God has opened me to new truths about Himself in me, and in so doing, has enhanced the above lists and blossomed them in all new ways (an incredible customer base in my coffee shop; larger blog audience; awesome new experiences with my husband and kids ) . To try to explain the heart change He has done for me in the year 2013 is like trying to run a marathon without training: extremely difficult. And so the way I just worded it is the best I can find to explain it. God has worked in my heart in new ways. He has helped me find (thought it doesn't mean I have mastered it) my identity in Him rather than in what I do or what others say I am. He has strengthened me in ways I thought impossible. It's been a year of good changes for me and for my family.
We've had many highlights and as I often liked to ask others the question of what was the highlight of their 2013, I found a hard time answering the question myself. Highlights for me would include:
- Getting published in the book Couch Rebels. Because Stories Like These aren't Told by Potatoes. (You can find this book on Amazon.com and a portion of every book sales go to purchase clean water for those in Africa).
- Family times. We experienced some great family moments this year and God really blessed certain aspects of our lives. We had a couple of good family trips, including Michael and I getting away for our anniversary this year and experiencing some new things together.
- I was able to travel out to Utah to see my brother, his wife and their new baby. And this was the first time I got out on my own since having kids. It was so fun and refreshing and good.
- The 5K in memory of mom, and her scholarship, took on a new growth this year. The goals were exceeded and the excitement has grown. I cannot wait to see what will happen in 2014 with it.
There were challenges as well, so don't get me wrong that 2013 was all roses and candy.
-We entered a new phase of parenting with a middle schooler. We've experienced new emotions and foreign territory as she is growing up in this year. I have often times felt at loss for (nearly the first) time as a mom, and haven't known what to do always. I have been stretched in new ways. I have missed my own mom in all new aspects. We are definitely in a new phase as parents. Good, yes. But challenging just the same.
- We said goodbye to our very last grandparent. Although expected, saying this goodbye did not come easy. However, we are thankful for the years we had with Granny.
- We had to say goodbye to our faithful dog of 9 years. Milo had to be put down this year.
- I let go of some old friends. That is never easy for me. I tend to think I can always hold onto people when they come into my life. And yet letting go is good, too. I have made new friends in light of that. I have learned tough lessons along with that. But God has taught me some great truths in the process. (which is entirely its own blog).
So 2013 is now gone and we usher in 2014. I, for one, am excited to see what God will bring my way this year. Challenges, I have no doubt. But excitement, too. Are you ready??
One day at a time….I will keep looking to Him.