It’s one of those small little words that we all probably wish did not exist. When I think of my 2015, pain is one of the words that I would use to describe it. There are a lot of factors on why that I can’t really share, but I’m sure (more now than ever before) that I’m not alone in some of what I went through.
You might be like me, I often find myself wrestling through why bad things happen to good people. Why are there so many miscarriages? Why do we prepare for and dream of kids, that we never get? Why do we have dreams of paths that aren’t meant for us to go down? Why are we asked to go down paths that leave us raw, tender, broken? Why is there cancer? Why is there hunger? So many questions.
I don’t have real answers on the whys. I know we live in a sinful world. Yet, I also know we have a Savior who hurts with us. One who sees our pains and desires to walk, carry and bring us through these chaotic moments and seasons of our lives.
For me personally, we have had a lot of changes in the last few years from two moves, job changes, community changing, being foster care parents, leaving our beloved Georgia, and starting anew with everything in Indiana. It’s been an adventure. One that we excitedly said yes to, every small step along the way. In some smalls ways, I think I felt the pot brewing at the start of this year that I needed to slow down.
I needed some “no more changes” time. My soul was hungrily crying out for rest, quiet. As it turned out, I wasn’t ready for that peace yet. Jesus had some work to do through me and in me. It was a loud year. It broke me. To be just completely honest, I’m not sure you can be “quiet” (my word was for this year) as a foster care parent.
Have you ever looked in the mirror and realized you no longer recognize yourself? I found myself as a weepy, angry, hard person. No one circumstance is to blame. I think it was a slow build that led to where every part of me was left crying out for change.
I have found comfort that the baby born in that stable so many years ago…lives, loves, and is my Savior. He carried me through.
With that fact, I also started going to counseling for the first time in my 33 years of life this year. There’s no shame in being raw, open, and honest. It’s actually one of the truest beauties I know. I wish we could all just ignore all the media screaming for our attention for just a minute (or the whole new year) to breathe and remember who we are without needing to be told what we should be.
I can tell you this. I still feel tender. I still feel like I’m healing. I still feel like I’m broken. But I have peace. I am learning to rest.
No, this is not my year to open a store.
No, this is not my year to try to start-up another entrepreneurial venture like sending out craft kits again or hosting craft events.
I keep telling myself these two things.
I’m still working through what my one little word will be for 2016, but I am excited.
I know I am carrying some burdens from 2015 with me, but I don’t feel shame or like they are holding me down. It feels like a conviction that can only lead to a renewed refreshment. It has me begging Jesus, “where do you want me to go from here?” “How can we use this year of pain to grow and change?”
I’m not done. Jesus is not done with me. I’m ever-changing. This world is ever-changing. I have things I need to learn and practice. God is at work, and I am so thankful I am not alone to journey this life. He sees me at my worst and wants to carry me to my best. I just need to lean in and fully accept.
These next few days of processing and planning in between years are some of my favorite. Matt and I always try to get away or at least get a date night to talk, process highs and lows of the previous year and set goals for ourselves, marriage and kids for the new year-while expressing things we feel are stirring in our hearts and dreams of where we want to head.
Take a chance. Take a night to do this too. We can journey it together. And because we can all only handle so much heaviness, I put fun Christmas pictures in this post. I am truly blessed. I can’t wait for the new year and to see what good things God has in store for us. I pray you rest well till the norm of life sets back in, after the holidays.