Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In the Days to Come

It has been a while since I've been so eager for a year to end. Maybe not so much for the year to end, but for a new year to begin. I'm not one to wish my days away, but as the calendar closes on 2014, I would be lying if I didn't say that I may be up doing the happy dance when the clock strikes midnight and 2015 makes it's entrance.

2014 kicked my hiney. I'm just gonna put that out there. As with all of life there were SO many good things that happened this last year. But if  I learned anything in 2014 (and trust me, it was a learning kind of year) it is that good things don't always come easy. Sometimes good things happen only when we've been pushed and pulled and stretched 95 ways out of our comfort zone. Sometimes they come during times that feel so overwhelmingly not good that it is hard to appreciate them. And sometimes things seem good when they normally wouldn't because they are framed in a new light of perspective that only comes from the hard things. 

This last year could be described in words such as bizarre, exhausting, stressful, and frustrating. I had my wallet stolen, dealt with some really stressful situations at one job, started another job, my (new) vehicle was in the shop 7 out of 12 months of this year, and I was in a car accident. Did I mention my car being in the shop didn't even have anything to do with the wreck? A lady was arrested in my yard (long story) and I had two kidney infections in a two month time. I started my Christmas vacation with a visit from Animal Control thanks to my yappy dog and I was also served with legal papers for my accident. Those are some of the high (low?) points. All of these things happened in a year that my life has changed in a way that is difficult to explain. I started a job working in child welfare and my eyes have been opened to situations and people that make me cry and get angry and see the world in a way I've not seen it before. Sometimes I wish I could unsee it, but I can't. And my heart has grown heavy and at times I feel weary. 

I don't share this to be a bummer. I'm sorry, I know so far it is. But, I share it because this long, bizarre, hard, wearisome year has brought with it some important lessons. It has made deep, soul changes in me. It has also provided some of the most rewarding, feel good moments of my life. I recently read the quote, "The darker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the word of God." (Corrie Ten Boom) That quote sums up my year. There were some dark times. For me and for many around me. But I came to appreciate that the brightness of God's Word and His people most in those times. Important lessons this year. I want to document them so I will remember them. And hopefully I will have learned them and not be revisiting them this time next year. :) Emily of 2014, here are the words of wisdom for you:

1. Some things are beyond your control. They just are. It doesn't matter how much sleep you lose, how many phone calls you make, how much you stress, it's just not in your control.You can only pray and put it in God's hands.

2. Kind words are never wasted.

3. Learning is exhausting. But you should do it anyway. Invest the time and energy to learn new things and do new things.

4. Making mistakes is exhausting. But sometimes it's the only way to learn.

5. It's better to do hard things now and  imperfectly than to be satisfied with an ideal of how you might do things one day. 

6. Make the most of your time. Work hard at work, love hard on your family, help people who need help. Put the kids to bed and watch The Office on Netflix. Promise you'll do better tomorrow because you'll probably feel like you failed in at least one of these areas on a daily basis.

7. You can't do it all, but you can become the grumpiest person to walk the face of the earth trying.

8. It's ok to cry if you miss your child's school party or sporting event, but not in front of them. You are the only one having a nervous breakdown over this. They're fine.

9. Occasionally go out for lunch with friends even if you don't think you have time.  Face it, your social life could use some work. 

10. Yes, you are always going to be tired.

11. Complaining does not change things. Whining does not change things. Stop doing them and stop spending all of your time and energy on people who do them. Focus on the fixing and the praying and the people who work for answers.

12. It's okay to ask for help, and you will be pleasantly surprised and blessed by people who go above and beyond.

13. Appreciate it all. The hard times that teach you, the happy times that you sometimes miss because you're obsessing over the hard times, and the down time that is rare. Be so super thankful for your health to be so busy and overwhelmed and the health of your husband and kids. It is such a gift that you are all able to do all of the things you do. And when you get a chance to sit and snuggle on the couch, do that too.

14. It's okay to laugh.

I added number 14 because anyone who knows me knows that laughter is my coping mechanism. And sweet tea. Unfortunately I've depended a lot more on the sweet tea this year. :)  December is always a hard month for me. In addition to the normal craziness and busy schedule that comes with the holidays, grief seems to always sneak in when I least expect it. It was worse this year. This Christmas Day was five years since I lost my Daddy. This last year was the kind of year when I found myself really needing him. I had to face the fact recently that I have lost my joy. I've had lots of happy, fun moments this last year. I really have. But I realized that what has been even worse this last year has not been all of the crazy things that have happened. It's that somewhere along the way I decided to give in. To let the dark days hide the light. To hide from the world when things got hairy. To question if it is ok to be happy and to laugh when there is so much pain and heartache in the world. 

The other day Josh prayed with me and he prayed that my joy would be restored. And that is my desire for 2015.  I have 430 resolutions I need to make. For real. I need to get my life, y'all. But first, I want my joy restored. That joy that comes from His Spirit, not the aligning of the stars in heaven or everything going right. I think I'm on my way. I think that kind of joy grows in dark places, on hard days. When we let it. When we let challenges make us better instead of bitter. That's what I'm working on. I've been counting down the days until this year ends, but I know that a new day on the calendar will not guarantee brighter days or trouble free times. I can't control the circumstances 2015 will hold, but I can control how I receive what comes my way. Josh made this sign for me for Christmas. It is from the book of Proverbs talking about the Proverbs 31 woman. The verses before this one say, "She will be clothed with strength and dignity." These verses remind me that it is okay to laugh, but it doesn't always come easy. It requires strength. This tells me that the Proverbs 31 woman was the real deal. She didn't live in a cushy, bubble world protected from darkness. I'm pretty sure she was all up in it. But, her strength allowed her to face those things head on and laugh at the days to come. I plan to laugh at the days to come. (Proverbs 31:25) I pray you will, too!

1 comment:

Melody said...

Love you my friend! Love your laughter and your sweet spirit. Happy New Year to you and your precious family!