I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking through 2019, what was going on in my life a year ago, and all that I have learned throughout this year. And, because I love all things year end reviews, song compilations, top pictures, all of it because it is specific reminders of a full year, not just the most recent life events… And let’s be honest, we are all prone to forgetting how we felt or what the journey was like.
Going into 2019, like many years previously, I had a theme.. Unlike many people I know who have a single word, apparently picking *A* word is not my jam, because I tend towards phrases, multiple words that fold into one another, or in the case of 2019, I had two: Redefine and Reshape. I wasn’t totally sold on redefine and reshape as my theme, I was still so hurt and angry that I really didn’t trust my gut a year ago to be an accurate reflection of where the Holy Spirit was leading… but I also could not let the two words go, so I went with it… If it was wrong, such is life, I had gotten much worse wrong so it wouldn’t hurt anything. My words seemed fine but I felt very hands off and kinda ambivalent about them.
I felt very much like I was going to sit back and that GOD was going to be doing the work of redefining and reshaping.. Partially because I was still struggling so badly, and I knew without a doubt that I had no way of forcing or creating healing within myself… it was only the Lord that could restore all that had been broken in 2018.
So, with that perspective in mind, here’s my year in review.
In January my best friend and I officially launched our business full-time and not as a side gig. We spent an absurd number of hours working on business planning, website designing, social media setting up, etc.. etc.. Plus, figuring out how and where to get business, and then of course actually do the projects that pulled in money.
Being all in with our own business was freeing, exciting, and it was so overwhelming that I actually don’t remember a whole lot about that that month in terms of what happened day in and day out.
I read It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkheurst, and it felt like someone else had put to paper the struggle within me towards God. I was so hurt, I felt totally betrayed by him, and I was entirely absent of answers or understanding… And yet, I *knew* in my head that He had been faithful before, and He never changes, so therefore He would continue to be even when I didn’t see why… And yet, with this book, someone else understood and had written it down. – It felt like the first glimmer of hope pointing to the fact that one day, it was going to be ok again, and God would heal me, and I would see His love and faithfulness throughout it all.. One day.
Also, I turned 34.
February was maybe even more of a blur, and in a matter of weeks with our business we were navigating over 40 clients somewhere from inquiry to completion… Which meant that we were also trying to create and learn the best way to manage every step of our project process. I don’t remember, but I’m fairly confident my best friend and I both melted down and had many arguments all because of the stress, anxiety, and learning how to communicate in a new way with one another.
AND to top it all off, somehow through me filling out a survey we got noticed and interviewed by Square, and they shared our story with NowThis, and it BLEW UP. If I’m being honest, I panicked and kept telling my best friend, “We’re not ready for this!!” And honestly, we weren’t, but it was amazing and super encouraging regardless.
We (my roommates and I) also tried returning to church a few times, but ultimately decided that we weren’t ready to engage in a church community just yet, and needed more time… Plus, we were very much enjoying our slow Sunday mornings with Jesus in our living room.
If you’re unaware, March is National Women’s Month, and it was such a fun month for us as a business! We were featured on the local news because Square also shared our story with the local news!.. Business continued to be equal parts insane and really exhausting, but there was no doubting at this point that we were making it work!
While I had been dabbling in online dating for a few months, I started actively engaging in online dating again. I wasn’t sure how to put my heart out there again, but I finally decided I also needed to start practicing dating and purposefully taking steps to put myself out there, but realistically I didn’t end up going on any dates.
April was an interesting shift because we were every bit of working insane hours to keep our business going and as productive as possible, and I found myself having the emotions of gratitude about how the Lord was blessing our business and showing us favor that I was keenly aware we did not deserve and should not actually be happening… But I still felt largely numb and disconnected from my sweet savior.
I ended up going to an 8 hours intense Bible study that focused on prayer and fasting throughout scripture. It was insane and amazing because for the first time in eight months I had an immense amount of awe for the Lord once more. I found myself wanting to engage with the Lord again, but I was also aware that I was not suddenly better… I still felt that God had broken my heart, and I expected Him to fix it, heal it, restore it, and that none of those things had happened yet.
Also, adding to the stress, my dog (and my bestie/roommate’s dog) got poisoned, by a chemically contaminated raw-hide, and began getting really sick… As in explosive uncontrollable diarrhea all over the house for almost two months. It took us a couple weeks to figure out what happened many rounds of meds and probiotics and special food.
It is always interesting looking back at things, because May was equal parts SO much fun, and really challenging.
At this point I was a couple months into focusing on fitness and getting back into fitness after allowing work to just take over. We were training for another year of Trifecta Spartan races, and I was stoked because my goal was to finish in the top 10%. Plus, some friends and I planned a trip for July to go to Jamaica… We all knew we needed dedicated time for rest and fun… If only I knew what was coming in a just a couple weeks…
I also began actually investing and praying regularly again… I felt like I started to have things to pray not just for others but for myself as well. Up until this point most of the time I prayed it was thanking God for how well our business was doing, my friends and family… and then telling Him I needed Him to heal me because I had said everything that I had to say, it was His turn.
Heading into June, I really had no clear sense of where or how things in my life were getting redefined and reshaped. I didn’t really see anything markedly different, I largely didn’t feel anything had changed. – When asked, I just sort of felt this internal shrug, I don’t know.
And then my insanely painful and life altering accident happened, and suddenly nothing in my life was the same.. nor would it ever be the same honestly. – Even miraculously keeping ALL three of my fingers, they will never be as they were before the accident again..
The first week in June I almost entirely cut off three fingers, and yet, with so much pain, surgery, pins sticking out everywhere, ridiculous numbers of doctors visits, and countless numbers of meds and supplements… I found myself equal parts insanely grateful, surrounded by so much support and care, and struggling with so much internal fear and frustration.
I don’t do well being unable to take care of myself and not being capable… And yet, here I was with nothing else to do but allow others to love and care for me.
And this traumatic event is when it seems as though God began to implement His Redefining and Reshaping of me, my heart, our relationship, how I see the world, and my perspective on literally everything. It is one of the worst ways to find healing, but six months later I just cannot find anything but gratefulness for how God has worked in my life.
The rest of June, and July – August, found me pretty much sitting on my front porch, going to PT appointments twice a week, online dating, and doing whatever one-handed typing I could to create proposals for clients while my best friend LITERALLY became a one-woman show and kept us afloat!
We went to Jamaica in July, I had pins sticking out of my fingers, and I was unable to get my hand wet, but we had an incredible time anyway. The ocean and sunshine are always the best places for God to touch my heart with peace and rest. While there I read a book about 7 women who God used to change the world uniquely in a way that men never could because they are women. I returned from that trip so encouraged.
In June I had basically decided that since I had little to do, I started actively trying to go on dates. So, surprisingly, damaged fingers and all, I went on a lot of dates, talked to an insane number of men, had a lot of monotonous conversations, and I even dated a guy for a couple months. While he was fun, it was not ultimately a relationship that had the type of future that I wanted, so it ended.
In September my whole house did our annual “sucky sober september” health reset; which sounds much more focused on not drinking alcohol than it actually is (it’s actually connected to a story about a friend almost dying from Anemia)… We do a complete health reset, food, exercising, as well as spiritual shifts. Any and everything we can do to make healthy choices. Along with pursuing all things health, my roommates and I decided it was time to return to a church community, and we took the month to visit a few churches to see where felt like home.
I also had my second surgery on my fingers to give me the best possible chance for fully functional fingers.
In October, we settled on a church that after visiting several places it just felt the most like home, it was also the a location of the church I had gone to the 8 hour bible study, so we were very much drawn to it because of the teaching. – It is the bring your Bible, take notes, and let’s work our way through scripture type, and felt a lot like honey to my soul. Honestly though, while I’m not yet comfortable in the church setting as a whole again, this particular church feels like a place where I can continue to heal, and one day be ready to step into being involved once more. But for now, I can go and learn, grow, be around other believers, take communion, sing worship songs, and be poured into.
At this point, I bounced back and forth between actively online dating and pausing my accounts for a week at a time to take a break. Online dating takes so much intentional work, and I was very discouraged, yet continued to feel like I should keep pursuing and practicing dating.
And, of course, at this point nothing in my life is ever absent of intentional finger healing, so of course I had stitches removed, daily stretches and exercises, and continuing to go to PT twice a week throughout everything…
November felt like such an interesting shift towards contentment and as though God was changing seasons for me or as though dawn was starting to arrive. When I look back at November, it feels like the Lord has put people, sermons, even instagram posts, and allowed me to have experiences that point towards hope being restored… It also probably helps that I made the decision that it was my turn to just “do the hard work” and spend daily time with Jesus in Scripture again rather than sporadically… For the first time in a little over a year I decided that no matter how I felt or how late I crawled into bed, I was spending time in His Word. It was time.
Also, one of the absolute biggest highlights from this month was that one of my closest friends in DC moved into our house, so now all of my best girl friends in DC live with me. It literally feels like our home is covered in peace, healing, laughter, and challenging authenticity.
December is always a fun change, and while it gets dark so early and begins to get cold, it is also such a beautiful time full of lights and fun outtings with people I love!
I’ve also found a unique level of peace and contentment in the unknown that I have not experienced in years. While I do not know what is to come and more heartache is possible, I also feel an unusual level of safety. There’s this still small voice inside sweetly reminding me that I can trust God to lead my heart once again. He loves me, He has changed me forever, and following Him will never be without unfair heartache, but obedience to Him means being fully his even when I don’t understand and it tears me apart… I have learned so much about the sweet tenderness of how Jesus heals us always. I do not yet have a clear yes or no with things, but what I do have right now is the beginning feelings of hope and a returned settling that the Lord makes all things new.