We’re only a couple days away from ringing in a new year. It’s a time of anticipation and preparation of the future and all it will bring, and a time of reflection of what 2013 brought us.
Have you seen those really cool instagram videos that have been going around with snapshots of people’s most liked pictures of the year? I love seeing those things. Most of my friend’s are filled with weddings, babies, and more babies. Haha.. It’s so amazing to see all the smiles, new beginnings, and happy moments so many are reflecting on.
A couple weeks ago I posted a video challenging myself and you to be real with ourselves and those around us. I talked about how on social media we usually only see someone’s happy moments and not their struggles, and when we compare our behind the scenes to someone’s highlight real, we will almost always feel bad about what’s going on in our life because it’s not an accurate comparison. So, I’m risking being vulnerable here and wanted to let you know that if you’re looking back at 2013 and your highlight video isn’t full of what you wished it would be, you’re not alone, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t have a purpose.
Today, I was reflecting on my 2013 and as a surprise to me, tears came to my eyes. First, let me say, the point of sharing this with you is NOT to get pity from you or have a pity party for myself. It’s a statement of authenticity and ends in thanksgiving. This time last year, I was in Spain with my husband. I was the wife of a basketball player living what many would call “the dream”, living in a foreign country, moving every year to different parts of Spain, living by the beach, soaking in the rich culture. It wasn’t a bad life. I look back at all that happened between December 29, 2012 and December 29, 2013, and if someone would have told me what would go down, I never ever would have believed them.
I lived in Spain on the coast of La Coruña until June 2013 when I went home for the summer to see my family.
I shortly after found out I’d be moving to Kansas in August for my husband’s job and completely shift my life from European culture to the heart of America, this was a very exciting and challenging time.
Shortly after the big move all my dreams of having my own home and finally being able to settle down were shattered on September 11 when my other half decided he had other plans that didn’t include me.
For those of you who have been through divorce, you can probably agree that it is one of the deepest pains our heart can feel. I was talking with my mom about this and we were comparing our experiences as she lost her high school sweetheart when my father passed away 15 years ago when I was 11 from the motorcycle accident we were in together. We both agreed, that there is something different about a divorce. The pain of rejection has a sting uncommon to other forms of grief.
The final months of 2013 for me were some of the most painful and most enlightening times of my entire life. I experienced the most brutal, deepest form of heartache and the most powerful, healing forms of grace and love I have ever felt.
This is the beauty about pain and suffering…if you allow God’s love and truth to penetrate your heart and come to a place where you fully trust HIM, you will ALWAYS come out stronger, refined, more patient, compassionate, and prepared to more deeply love the people around you. I can’t explain how I have overcome this huge obstacle so quickly, how my heart feels more loved than it ever has, how I have no resentment or bitterness on the other side, how I feel better than I have in years, how much JOY I have in my heart… all of that is supernatural, I can’t take credit for it. All I KNOW is that we are UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED by an AMAZING God. A God who is there through the thick and the thin no matter how many times you may doubt Him or turn your back on Him. He is aching to hold you right where you are. The idea that you have to do anything to earn His love is a lie. It was in my darkest moments that I was able to experience a supernatural strength in ways I never knew it. It was in those moments that I knew I was being molded for something greater…a calling I never knew I was cut out for, to love on others through some of life’s most painful moments including death and divorce. That may sound morbid, but I’ve lived through it. I know the pain, and I’ve experienced the grace, peace, and hope. I’ve reflected on life and instead of tragedy, I see beauty from ashes, strength from fear, rejoicing after sorrow, and I am SO THANKFUL.
YOU, my friend, have your own story. You’ve experienced your own darkest moments that you never thought you would heal from. Many of you have experienced more heartache than 100 people will in their lifetime. I want you to know that not a tear is wasted. You’re being molded and prepared for something greater beyond yourself. We are not here on this crazy planet just to exist. We’re here to love on others and use the gifts and experiences we go through to help others through this insane journey. Together.
So, my 2013 may not have been full of smiles, butterflies, and rainbows, and I may have fallen on my face quite a few times, been thrown a few dozen curve balls, and had the rug pulled out from under me, but I am walking out of 2013 with a new found strength, love, grace, humility, understanding, wisdom, and appreciation of life. A new compassion for those who are hurting, a more mature view of the brokenness of humanity and desire to simply love on people and CHOOSE to be THANKFUL in EVERY circumstance and situation. It’s like a magic trick! Thankfulness is anger’s worst enemy. Try it, I dare ya! 🙂
The biggest lesson that I am walking away from 2013 with is to BE LOVE. Love everyone around you just like Jesus did. Don’t get so caught up in organized religion that you completely overlook the lessons and example that Jesus taught. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Religion has in many cases become a more effective tool of evil than of good.
To people who don’t know me, I’m a girl who lost her dad at a young age and now divorced at 26. Do you know how many labels the average person would slap on me without even knowing my heart or the situation? How many times do we do that? I know I have been guilty several times! Isn’t it time that we stop this madness and encourage instead of discourage, empower, inspire, strengthen, and lift others up no matter who they are or what they’ve been through. We can’t change the world all at once, but we can start in our little circle of family and friends and create a ripple effect throughout the world. We all want change, it’s time we step into action.
So, my challenge to myself and to you is no matter how 2013 went for you, let’s end it stronger than we started, because that IS our choice. YOU CHOOSE how you view your circumstances. Choose to let them make you stronger instead of weaker.
I know my foundation is in who my Creator made me to be. I know He loves me unconditionally no matter what I do or don’t do. I know in Him I can do all things. I know that nothing can touch the peace and joy that is from Him, because ALL things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. I KNOW that HE wins every time. So, I have nothing to fear. And I KNOW He’s just as crazy about YOU.
RN & Health Coach