It honestly does not even feel possible that we are into the second week of February. And its 2015. Where have I been?!
The holidays were a blur and I feel like I have been trying to play catch up ever since. While I will share more of the specific details tomorrow, it has by far been the most challenging period in my life and considering my journey the last ten years, I feel like that is saying a lot. The cherry on the depression cake was losing my Charlie last month. The depths of loneliness I have felt have shaken me to my core.
My saving grace has been my family and music. My husband has always been my rock and my Godsend but to say that he carried me through this rocky time would be an understatement. He kept me from losing hope when a part of me felt wasn’t sure that there was any left. He has had to carry things that no one should ever have to but the depths of his strength, faith, and love have sustained me in ways I cannot describe. I could never, ever put into words how much I thank God for giving me such an amazing man as my husband and best friend.
Of course I cannot leave out Abby. There are so many times that I have been blown away by her tender compassion, and quiet spirit. She is a wild and hilarious little girl but her spirit is so gentle. To know her is to see the embodiment of the childlike faith written about in Scripture. Of course as her parent, I could give you 48296263 reasons why I have the most amazing little girl on the planet but all that aside, there are times where I watch her and the immense care she has for others, I am stopped in my tracks and I feel like she has a greater understanding of faith, grace, and mercy than most (myself included). We read her school newsletter together a few weeks back and they shared about a little boy in her school who has diagnosed with cancer. The school was going to host a penny drive to support his family and without any hesitation (or prompting), Abby immediately went to her room and grabbed her piggy bank as she wanted to help.
I have shared many times how adoption has taught me so much about God’s love and grace and to know my daughter has saved me these last few months. God has worked through the heart and hands of this amazing five year old little girl to remind me that though my problems can often feel so big, I serve a God that is so much bigger and He has a plan, a purpose, and a love for me that surpasses all understanding.
In the midst of the chaos, there were times I felt like I was drowning but I finally feel like I have been able to come up for air. The last two weeks have been refreshing and a reawakening. Its as though a weight has been lifted and like I have been able to breathe fresh air for the first time in months. I went to church yesterday (for the first time in way longer than I wish to admit) and the pastor shared from Luke 8 about the Parable of the Sower. He shared how there are so many people along the path that have allowed things in life (such as anxiety, relationships, and even religion) to harden our hearts but how the love of Christ can soften and change our hearts and when the seed of the Word falls on a receptive heart, it flourishes.
We can flourish.
I can flourish.
All I have to do is drop my defenses, allow my heart to open, and God’s love will do the rest.
As a humorous aside- while the pastor was quoting “Jesus’s love can change hardened hearts,” all I could repeat in my head was “Jesus’s love can thaw a frozen heart” in the voice of Olaf. You know you’ve seen Frozen too many times when . . .
It was important for me to write this post not as a way garner sympathy or to put together some type of explanation or excuse for why the blog and social media have sat gathering dust the last weeks/months. It would be easy to write a post with an apology for absence with a promise to kick-off the new year with exciting new things and pretend like I have it all together. After all, the tagline says “tackling chronic illness with a fierce dose of hope” right?
As I sit in bed writing this, I have tears streaming down my face and a massive knot in the pit of my stomach as this may be one of the hardest things I have ever written.
One of the most important things for me in writing this blog has always been transparency. I want to be completely honest and completely real about life with chronic illness. The good, the bad, and the ugly. My life has been about as ugly as it gets.
But thankfully, my story doesn’t end here.
God has amazing things in store and that hope, even when I have felt like I had lost it, continues to be ever present. This last chapter of life may have been dark but the One who writes my days promises that the best is yet to come. He has more in store for me than I could have ever imagined for myself. Love and mercy are around every corner. This is just the beginning.
Last year, my goal was to be fierce but this year my goal is to be brave and being brave starts with being honest.
Being brave starts with putting myself aside.
Being brave starts with grace.
For those of you that are reading this and have stuck by me, I want to thank you for the depths of my heart for your support, your prayers, and your love and to say that the community of warriors I am blessed to be a part of has been keeping me fighting would be an understatement. There aren’t enough words to say it properly so I will just say it again, thank you.
I do hope that this post is a kick-off of exciting things to come and hope you will join me for the ride! God has amazing things ahead and the fire He has placed within my heart is eager to make 2015 a year like no other. Endometriosis Awareness Month is just around the corner and plans are underway for the 4th annual Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign so I hope you will mark your calendars (and drop me an email if you want to jump in on the planning!).
As I mentioned in this post and in my Thank You Letter to Skillet, music has been a saving grace and one of my favorite lyrics has been, “This is how it feels when you take your life back, this is how it feels when you finally fight back. When life pushes me, I push harder. What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”
How does it feel to take my life back? AMAZING.
Have you chosen a word for 2015?
2 comments on “Coming Up To Breathe: Rediscovering Grace”
my word is Cherish – i need to appreciate what i have more!
also, I’m seeing skillet in concert on friday
I am so jealous! They are absolutely amazing live! I took John to see them for his birthday last year and unfortunately we had to leave early 🙁 The light board they had on stage behind them made me sick whenever the used it! I’m hoping it was a fluke because I cannot go without seeing them live again! My sister played a Skillet song for my 2 year old niece and she shouted, “Aunt JJ!” She knows how I jam 🙂