It is easy to forget who I am, that I am not a victim.
I am free. I am loved. I am not forgotten. I have been given the gift of grace and freedom. I am no longer chained to the whims of others. I have joy.
And yet I forget. In 2017, I forgot. I saw the waves, my circumstances, the problems in our world and forgot. Thankfully, God had not forgotten me.
My prayer of 2018 was for God to speak to me anyway and everywhere even when I didn’t have the words to speak to Him. Even when I was struggling and doubting, I asked God to speak.
And he did through song, written words, speeches, podcasts, people, experiences, the Bible (his actual Word) God spoke. I didn’t expect Him to because for a while now, I have had more questions than faith, more doubts than trust or bravery or compassion. Even still, God has loved me and met me where I am.
I have been blessed. What does that even mean, blessed? Usually, I associate bless with a Southern greeting, a polite saying after someone sneezes, a church response similar to… “I’m good,” or “I’m doing well.” However, I decided to do a little Google search on it. I came up with words like favored, privileged, good fortune, holy, content, and lucky.
Blessed. God’s favor, mercy, love despite everything. How did he bless me in 2018?
He provided me opportunities and confidence. Usually, I am afraid to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to personal growth. I’m afraid of failure and the negative opinions of others. I am afraid of the “You’re not good enough,” “That’s nice, but you? Are you sure?”
“You don’t have it in you. There are those who are better than you.”
“Your personality is… insert negative comment here.”
Usually, I am the one heralding the negative comments, and my journey forward ends before it begins. However, this year, I was blessed with the ability to take baby steps.
Further Education: After several years of thinking about a potential masters, I decided to apply to the Texas Women’s University Library Science Program early 2018 and was accepted in the summer. I took my first classes this fall and loved them (for the most part). I’ve learned to research better than I use too!
Writing: I began writing again in 2017. I’ve finished my second manuscript, this summer and I had the opportunity of attending not one, but two writing conferences this year. Plus, I participated in a workshop and a retreat. During each of these amazing experiences I was able to connect with some amazing writers, swap stories and strategies and learn more about how to be a better writer. I actually pitched my story to a few agents, authors, and editors! Eventually, my goal is to share my stories through publication. It might not be next year, but in the next ten years …maybe?
Traveling: I love exploring and traveling, so this wasn’t exactly a challenge for me. I couldn’t afford to leave the country, but I scheduled and saved up for mini-excursions. I was able to visit Utah (the Young Essentials Farm was not only picturesque, but smelled great!); Santa Fe, New Mexico; Austin, Texas; and explored some neat little towns in Colorado. I summited my first 14er, Mt. Bierstadt, and explored other mountains trails not only in Colorado, but in New Mexico and Utah. I haven’t had time to train for long distance races, so going on these hikes have been a great alternative. I’m already looking forward to more hikes once the snow melts.
Other wonderful things have happened this year. Can we talk about the Black Panther movie? 😊Or my students and the elementary-middle school running club?
Is it easy for me to get distracted by the negative. Honestly, I think I will always struggle with my self-worth and anxiety. Yet, the fact that God will be always be there gives me hope. I am never alone (cliché, but true nevertheless).
I have no idea what awaits me in 2019. I want to continue to do the things I have been doing in 2018: write, teach, hike, build relationships, be brave, worry less. I need and want to build my relationship with God. Thankfully, I have previous years and 2018 to remember that I am blessed. I need to remember.
P.S. – Speaking of blessing, here’s one of the songs that motivated me this year. It’s on my top 10 Spotify listens because I had it on repeat in the fall. In the near future (during this break), I hope to come out with a list of songs, movies, etc, that inspired me 2018.