In writing to you, I hope that my stories give you encouragement and confidence in a situation that might seem hopeless. I’m a firm believer in learning from other people’s life lessons and so I hope that someone is spared pain from learning from my mistakes or simply learns something new about our heavenly Father.
If you know me at all or have ready any of my past blogs you know that this past year has been one for the books. I thought 22 was hard, but 23 was pretty rough and I learned a lot about myself. Two weeks after my birthday my world was permanently shifted and the next 5 months of my life are basically non-existent. I was depressed and I had stopped living. I spent most of my free time sulking and fixating over something that wasn’t in God’s will but I so desperately wanted it to be. I never want to go back to the place again but I am so grateful that I went through it. God’s grace and mercy were all over the situation and being on the other side of it I learned that I am a lot stronger than I thought I ever could be. Yes I went through a really rough emotional period but it no longer defines me and I am a better person because of it.
In James it says that “a man who endures trials is blessed for it produces steadfastness, at the end you will lack nothing and have gained the crown of life,” (paraphrase). While I was going through trial I questioned God constantly; His will wasn’t what I was hoping it to be but in the end I am extremely grateful that His understanding and plans surpass my own. God’s love consumed me and His hand was over this situation the whole time. He completely destroyed me and rebuilt me with a heart completely sold out for Him and His plan. I no longer wanted my old life and I finally had learned what it meant that ‘there is hope and joy for the future’ and to find my full, complete, lacking in nothing, joy/delight in God alone. I have never been so happy in my life and I realized there is still an abundance of things to learn and do. I’m not confined or defined by my past and neither are you. At any given moment you can change where your life is going and make it one that walks the path of Jesus. You can make it a life that you love to live and not just a life that you live. Our time on Earth is fleeting and the “joys” it bring are too.
Plant your heart in God’s and I promise you that your joy will never dim and you while you live on this earth you will be leaving a trail of footsteps that are walking into eternity. Yeah you are still going to experience hardships and trials, those are promised in the life of believer; however, you can still experience joy in those moments. Because of the faith we have in our Father, joy doesn’t necessarily have to mean experiencing happiness all of the time and always being in a great mood. It can mean having peace through the storm and weathering it untouched (or coming out of it for the better) and that even in moments of sorrow (to quote Annelle from Steel Magnolias, one of my favorite movies ever) “there are still good times to be had.”
I encourage you to not let a moment (that may last for a while even) define you and dictate the rest of your life. There is so much freedom in laying it all down at the Cross and letting Christ carry you through it. He has suffered through it with you and wants you to have faith in in Him. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will teach you, mold you, refine you, and make the unworthy worthy. Just call on Him; He is waiting.
So even though 23 was rough, I would not ask for it to be any different. It was a year of losing/pain that lead to growth, learning, forgiving, loving, quite a few tears, so much laughter, tons of smiling, and lots of living. God is so GOOD.
For those of you who care, here’s a short list of things I’ve learned about myself that may seem insignificant but they’ve helped me to better know myself. I honestly wouldn’t have figured them out had I not experienced this year. I mean, everything happens for a reason…
-I like running in the woods
-I don’t like apples
-I don’t like Nikes
-I’m much more introspective than I thought
-I prefer a car to an SUV
-My college friends are some of the most supportive people I will ever know
-My coworkers are more like my family
-How to forgive when I feel like I can’t
-How to pray when I don’t want to
-Short hair makes me look more mature but I still love my hair long more
-I’m glad I didn’t get married, my life has been way too fun this past year
-I’m horrible at taking those photo booth strip pictures
-I love traveling anywhere
-I am called to foreign missions eventually
-How to properly tease my hair (I think that’s my favorite thing I have learned thus far)
I know some of these are kind of silly, but I just really wanted to show you that you truly don’t have to be the person you are now if you don’t like it. There is so much to learn about yourself and don’t be afraid to try and figure yourself out. You will be so much happier in the end…even if it means simply stop eating apples if you don’t like them ☺️
So here’s to 23 winding to an end and to a year of being 24! I pray that God continues to lead me throughout this next year and His will be done in my life.