To Twenty Nineteen

I used to think celebrating another year was easy. The ball drops, the fun parties, the spam of every good and perfect moment of everyones beautiful life wrapped up in nine simple instagram photos from 2019. I used to think it was easy to celebrate the wonderful gift of another twelve months of life.

As I create space to thorougly reflect on this year, I'm revisited by all the memories that brought the biggest heartbreaks and the greatest joy. It's as if I stood right there in each moment so vividly walking through every emotion that trigged each simple minute in what once was the present traded now for the past. Words have failed me on both occasions, but the God who never did was the One who never left me to face these seasons alone.

I can write that now because I've walked through it. If it wasn't for the anchor of hope in my life, I know this message wouldn't be the same. It wouldn't look like it does. It's the kind of faith that gave me strength  to lean into every passing day just hours after losing life's most beautiful gift, a mother. My own mom. You know the things you think happen to others, but then they happen to little ol' quiet you whose just trying to serve faithfully, love deeply, and inspire others to love the life they live. Yes, even you.

Twenty nineteen sure brought lots of tears with the loss of what felt like too many loved ones within our circle, but not one tear was wasted. It also brought me an even greater revelation of God's love than ever before. This year challenged me to fill my heart with more gratitude than ever before knowing that each day is truly a miracle. It helped me experience the hope I cling tightly to in a fresh way. A way that wouldn't have been like the way I knew before.

This year taught me to get down on me knees again. To pray harder. Listen closer. Seek constant. Love deeper. Take risks. Step out. Step in. Lean close. Open up. Cherish life. And don't give up even when life gives you all the reasons to want to. It opened my eyes to the multitude of love and support that stand in every inch of my corner. In that my friends, there is so much to be thankful for.

Even with the challenges that came with the 365 days, credit can not be taken away from the beauty of many, many incredible memories made. Our life has never been more full with the blessing of our sweet baby boy and I have to brag on having the most thoughtful husband alongside of that. I wouldn't imagine life without the friends who are family, the love sewed behind the scenes at the churches we get to be apart of,  the sisters I've made in the ministry I've served under, and the countless random acts of kindness to those encountered in daily life.

Although I didn't intend for my reflection to carry heavy pain or substantial burdens, but it does. It always will and thats just apart of my story here. A narrative that I desperately desire to see help someone else even when the only whisper to be heard is a simple "me too". You never know what your story does to inspire, change, or support another's.

I used to think celebrating another year was intended to be happy, light, airy, and all smiles. I used to think it was easy. Reality check: that's not every story. Whether it was a great year for you or a difficult one, walk away here with the understanding that your story is just as special, just as important, just as worthy, and just as needed as the next. Don't think for one moment that your story doesn't need to be heard just because it doesn't look like the rest on social media. Celebrate with those who celebrate. Mourn with those who mourn. Share your heart, your hurts, accept your seasons, tell your testimony, and let's leave the comparison of our lives behind at the stroke of midnight. Are you in?

Dear 2020, I look forward to experiencing you soon.