Happy New Year & 2019 Review

Happy New Year, and New Decade!!

Wow, what a year it’s been.

I remember sitting exactly where I’m sitting in this moment, one year ago on New Year’s Eve.  Typing in my journal about the struggles and sadness my family had walked through, over and over, in 2018.  Worried about the future.  But also hopeful.

I remember feeling a renewed sense of optimism.  Even though I didn’t know things would get worse before they got better, a year ago our daughter seemed to be experiencing a breakthrough.  And I remember I was also turning a corner, in a way.

My heart was slowly returning to the hope of goals once dreamed about but forgotten.  I started thinking about possibilities, and allowed myself to be open to a new vision of my life.

And I started a blog.

Through all the ups and downs of this past year, I kept writing.  I kept reading and learning and thinking and seeking and dreaming.  My hope increased and the shattered pieces of my spirit started to heal back together.

At times there was darkness and confusion, and I would need to stand still until I saw a glimpse of light again.  Many times I wasn’t sure I would.  I never knew if that small flame of hope had burned out for the last time, and the rest of my life would be in darkness.

This is what it’s like, living with someone with mental illness.

But, thank you Jesus, I’ve been able to keep moving forward.  Hope lives.  It flickers in the constant breeze of uncertainty, and sometimes it’s barely an ember, but that’s all I need.

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I could list the valleys we walked through by name, but I won’t do that here.  I’d rather reflect on the blessings in between.

Here are just a few things I’m thankful for from 2019:

  • My daughter is alive, and this year she chose life over death
  • My kids are physically healthy
  • The accessibility to modern medicine
  • Good health insurance
  • The opportunity to work and generate an income
  • My husband’s steadfastness and reliability
  • Having a creative and productive outlet
  • The love and friendship between my children
  • My daughter graduating high school (with honors!)
  • Watching my youngest son become passionate about basketball
  • Having my oldest son move back home
  • My mom visiting (twice!) from Las Vegas
  • My friends coming out from Vegas to take me on a weekend retreat
  • All the love and support and prayers from friends and family
  • God’s faithfulness through everything

I could keep going, but these are the highlights.

I feel a tiny tremble of excitement when I think about all of the promise this next year holds.  It’s muffled under a thin blanket of fear and worry, but I still feel it.

This year, I’ve decided, will be a year of growth and new experiences.  I’m ready to start reaching farther than I ever have, and stepping into the person I know I’m capable of becoming.

I’m going to start doing things scared.  Jumping in with both feet.  Giving something my everything.

Where will it take me?  Well, that is the unknown.  That is the variable.  I can’t control what will happen in the future, but I can control what I do right now.

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And in the end, isn’t it all about seeking purpose?  Finding connection?  Making a difference?

So, it doesn’t matter where I end up.  Because if I’m just faithful and committed to the process of reaching God’s full potential for my life, I’ll end up right where I belong.

And the same goes for everybody.  The same goes for you.  That’s why my hope for you in 2020 is that you finally get to that place where you’ve decided to give life your all.  To chase after that dream that’s been in your heart for too long.

It’s time to make it happen.  Turn your dreams into realities.  Don’t just let them lie dormant in a journal or hide in empty words.

You have those dreams for a reason.  You’ve held onto them for so long because they matter, and you were born to make them come true.

Commit to doing whatever is necessary to get closer to the life you were meant to live.  Then, next year, on New Year’s Eve, you can look back and be amazed at how far you’ve gone.

Happy New Year, and God bless!

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