I can’t say I’m sad to see it go but at the same time, I’m thankful for many things 2014 brought my way.
A few of my favorite songs…
And I’ve found a new love and appreciation for different music. I’ve grown quite fond of Imagine Dragons, OneRepublic, and The Script. I’ve also revisited one of my old favorites, Creed, for some music comfort. Music and lyrics have always played a huge part in keeping me going but even more so in 2014. Thankful, in the later months of 2014, for the return of many mornings waking up with Jesus music in my head!
A few of my favorite reads from 2014…
Reading hasn’t always been something I enjoyed. The past four years, reading has become a staple for me. It’s not always books…sometimes it’s articles or updates but I read all.the.time. And I love it. I read devotions and Scripture. I read lyrics and blogs. I read articles and studies. I’m always reading something. And I write. I thrive on writing. My goal for 2015 is to write…write more, write every day, write as much as possible.
And on my list of reasons I’m not sad to see 2014 fade away…
It’s been the most difficult year for me as far as depression goes.
That depression was accompanied by an eating disorder, cutting, and suicidal thoughts.
Nightmares and flashbacks have plagued me.
I questioned life, my family, my purpose…over and over.
It has been a year filled with hurt, desperation, fear and worry.
It’s been a year of heartache and loss of many wonderful people.
And while I’m not sad to say goodbye to 2014, it’s bittersweet because…
Through the darkness, God’s light has shined brighter than ever.
In my darkest moments, His words kept me going (Phil. 1:23-24, Joel 2:2).
I’ve learned so much about myself and about life.
I learned with prayer, encouragement, and support I can do anything.
I’ve gotten to know some amazing people who love me and accept me unconditionally.
I’ve learned to let others in and make wise decisions about who I choose to have in my life.
I’ve come to realize that God is my everything, that He is my reason to live.
I’ve learned to be honest about who I am.
I know I am called.
I know there is purpose for my pain.
I know God has bigger plans.
2014 has been almost unbearable at times. As much as I’ve wanted to see it disappear, to kiss it goodbye, I’ve been afraid to say goodbye…because saying goodbye to 2014 means a whole new year comes. It’s 365 days of more to come…and that may very well be more pain, more hurt, more fear, more suffering…and along with that, there’s potential for more growth, more learning, more challenges to overcome. For me, 2014 is a year I won’t forget…
2014 was the year I lost 60lbs. My weight loss journey began on March 12, 2014 when I filled my cup up with water instead of Diet Coke. I haven’t drank anything other than water since (and the occasional hot chocolate). That same day, I decided to eat healthier. I didn’t change what I ate, but I changed how much I ate. I began making better choices. And two days later, I started walking. I walked almost every single day, three miles a day through August. Along with this good, healthy lifestyle, came a new struggle I’d never faced before. I began purging which, for me, was very similar to the escape that cutting gave me. It became a new way of hiding from the pain I felt.
2014 was the year I went back to school…at 36 years old. In the summer, I took two online classes and made A’s in both. In the fall, I took a full load…four classes. I finished the fall semester with 3 A’s and a B. Not too shabby for a girl who never studied, who was dealing with some pretty severe depression and side effects including trying to stay alive, a wife, mother, blogger, and Bible study teacher. There was definitely some divine intervention from the man above! The plan for 2015 is to continue with school, but not the full load…back to 2 classes it is. This will allow time for writing!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
2014 was the year I cried out to God at 5am on a Thursday morning back in October…and questioned my reason for living, questioned my purpose, and doubted I could go on. That morning, after questioning, “Torn between wanting to live or die,” I read this verse…
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. Philippians 1:28b-26
2014 was the year I wrote a letter to say goodbye. In writing that letter, I learned I have so much more I want to say, so much more I want to write, so much more life I want to live. I said goodbye to people I’m not ready to say goodbye to. I wrote out words I thought I’d never write and expressed feelings I never imagined I would express. Through that experience, I learned how to be honest, how to share my deepest, scariest thoughts, and how to get through them. I learned that God is the reason I am alive. I learned that He is everything. In my darkest moments, He was what kept me going. I know some people don’t believe in God and I know some may question my beliefs or Christians in general but I can truly say, if it weren’t for my faith in God, my utter dependance on Him, I’d be saying goodbye to life and not just goodbye to 2014. If you are doubting life, wondering if you can make it another day, don’t give up. Press on. Tell someone. Be honest. Use your voice!
2014 was the year I looked at my children and felt the most incredible pain because I couldn’t stand the idea of leaving them and also felt the best thing for them would be for me to disappear. Physically, I couldn’t bear their hugs, looking into their eyes, hearing them laugh, and seeing them smile. Can you imagine that kind of pain? Torn between not wanting to leave your children but believing that would be the best thing for them, believing that neither choice would really be what they deserved, wishing they had been given a different mother? That was unbearable. And parenthood comes with it’s own struggles anyway. I’m thankful that wasn’t something that lingered long. It lasted about a week then those thoughts faded. It was a week too long and not something I’d wish on anyone.
2014 was the year I sat in my Tuesday morning Bible study, in my own little world, with thoughts of a plan running through my head. That plan was a plan of peace, of hope, of mountains and warm sunshine. It was the idea of peace and hope of leaving this world and being with God. As I stumbled across the verse below, I knew God was saying, “Put your hope in me. In your darkness, I am the light.” God was telling me, He is that peace.
A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, So there is a great and mighty people; There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it.
2014 was the year I learned to finally open up…to share things I’ve never shared, to break the silence, to allow myself to have a voice, to speak up for what I believe. It’s also the year I’ve felt most passionate about making sure others are encouraged to have their voice. I learned to trust and I learned about boundaries, setting them, and keeping them. I learned that I don’t have to tell everything to everyone but it’s also not good to keep everyone shut out. I learned it’s okay to share…and it can be safe, that there are people who will stand by me through even the most difficult moments. I’m still learning. I have a lifetime of lessons I’ve learned wrong that I’m slowly relearning. It’s a process. I’m thankful for the people God has brought into my life in 2014. Some were already in my life but it was 2014 that I really let them in.
All in all, I’m glad to say goodbye to 2014 because I believe that 2015 will bring with it, it’s own amazing stories to go on my timeline of life…of living. I’m choosing to live. I’m choosing to live for God. I’m choosing to believe there is purpose in my suffering, and that through this, there is a greater plan. I realized even more, just how strong my desire is to write, to speak up, to use my voice to give others a voice. I need to write, to share my stories, to explain things, to help others, to raise awareness for depression, self-injury, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts. I want to use my voice to help others find their voice. 2015 won’t magically make life better. It won’t make the nightmares stop or the memories fade away. There are things I have to face, things I have to share and talk about, things I have to heal from…but I am healing. I am choosing to move forward in spite of the fear and worry.
Will you join me in 2015?
Will you encourage me to keep going, to keep fighting the good fight, to press on?
Will you walk this journey with me?
I hope you will. I’m looking forward to what 2015 has in store for us all.
What has 2014 meant for you? What are you hoping for in 2015?