2009 was an interesting year for me, things happened that I really wasn’t prepared for…but then again is anyone really ever prepared for anything? I used to be a planner type of person, but not after last year. I think i was really thrust out of every comfort.
I have so many wonderful memories from ’09, memories that make me smile and laugh when i think back, i’ll always hold them in my heart. I think i smiled and giggled so much last year that i was pretty sure my face was going to fall off, oh how i love times like that! My ’09 was beautiful, filled with friends and loved ones, sunshine and music, long wonderful conversations that make you think, and also make you laugh your head off. I am so very thankful for those moments. The sea breeze, the songs, the way the sky looked on those days and nights…those images will stay with me because they make me happy.
I’m going to take a moment to say that i wouldn’t have gotten through 2009 without my wonderful friends and family. Seriously, they were my support through everything. You know who you are, and i want to say thank you…thank you for supporting me, thank you for listening to me rant, and cry, and yell, and laugh ,and giggle, and for joining right in and doing it with me. Thank you for your unconditional and non judgmental love, thank you for your honesty and grace. I love each of you so very much. You all are my heart, and i just want to reach out and hug each of you.
I grew up this year. In many ways,as cheesy as it may sound, i really feel like i became a true woman this year. I’m not the same girl i was last January, i’m not even the same girl i was in July…heck, i think i did my most growing in the past four months. I really feel i know myself, i know who i am as a woman and i’m confident with it. I’m so much stronger and self assured. I feel it in my bones. I walk taller now. 2009 was the year i found my natural born sassy attitude that i had lost many years ago due to shyness, but got back last summer. I love being sassy haha.
Thinking back to the beginning of last year makes me laugh, oh how clueless i was to what was going to happen that year! So funny! The only “calm” months for me were January and February…and even then i was going through some things. March is really when my world went weird, i didn’t expect what happened. And my year continued to be completely unexpected the whole way through. I learned to never underestimate God, he will work in the most bizarre, hilarious, random, and sometimes very painful ways, but in the end it’s always for your own good.
Lessons I learned in 2009 –
1. I learned that Awkwardness only exists if we let it. And i’m not going to let it anymore, I’m done with awkward. Screw awkward, i say! When we fear the “awkward” conversations and moments we then become secretive and closed off. And that’s not healthy for anyone. Yes, sometimes certain conversations are hard to have, they are uncomfortable and scary, but they bring great freedom. 2009 was the year of the awkward conversations for me, and there was one in particular that i was terrified to have. Seriously, i didn’t know how i would be able to get the words out, and it never seemed to be the right moment, but a friend once told me that sometimes you have to just make the moment…so i did, and i was better for it. I was met with grace and love, and forgiveness. So i made the vow that 2010 will be the year that i leave the word “awkward” behind, and replace it with the words “Comfortable” and “Honest”.
2. Trust. Oh trust, such a interesting word, eh? In 2009 i learned the only thing to do in life is trust. I learned that i must trust in God, and learned to trust myself. There is not one person who is good at trusting, we’ve all been hurt, betrayed,and stabbed in the back by people we once trusted. But that doesn’t give us the excuse to stop trusting. And it doesn’t give us the excuse to hurt other people. I want to trust, i will always keep my heart open and let people in, because it’s the only way to truly live and love.
3. Be honest with others, and be honest with yourself. This will spare you and others around you a lot of pain and confusion.
4. Don’t be ashamed of your pain. This is something that was very hard for me, i was always hiding from others because i was afraid that they would find me out, they would know what i struggle with and they would judge me, and then they would leave. This, for the most part, is simply not true. I had the privilege of being embraced by some amazing people, people who did not stereotype me and look at me differently, they instead loved me.
5. We need people. This is so important, you need others in your life. We are not meant to live our lives alone. Reach out, it is okay to ask for help, it is okay to need to lean on someone. We need friends. We need people to build us up. Appreciate every single good person that is in your life, because they are a blessing from God. Don’t push them away, and don’t put up walls. But instead, give yourself to them and let them know how much you appreciate them, be there for them like they are there for you. This is something you will never regret.
2009 was very hard, it was brutal in fact. It felt like a never ending storm, one thing right after another with no time in between to rest. I think i cried so much last year i’m surprised i have any tears left. My year was a roller coaster of really high highs, and really really low lows. But through all that pain God was there, and he taught me so many important things that i would never have learned if had not gone through the things i did.
There was one song that seemed to follow me all throughout 2009, it was “Never Let Go” by Matt Redman. The first time i heard the song in ’09 was at The Rock and Worship Road Show on April 3rd, when Jeremy Camp sang a cover of it during his set. And i kept hearing it over and over from that moment on…i heard it in May, i sang it through tears in July, i sang it with joy at my churches state youth service in August…and it followed me through September and October, and again the other night…. it always seemed to come at the exact right moment, when i was stressed or confused and needed a little reassuring that God was never going to let go of me…through every high and every low, he’s never going to let go.
I’m still here in 2010 and i’m still living, and i’m still loving my God through it all because he never left me through it all. Oh no, 2009, you did not impress me with your storms and furry. No devil, you did not take my hope away, you did not leave me broken. Is that all you got? I am not impressed. Bring it on. With my God right beside me, i can take anything you can dish out. I am strong because my God is strong, and He is my strength forever and ever.
You are God’s, and He is yours. That right there is all that matters. Your relationship with Him must be priority, it must trump all else…it must be more important than your wants and comfort.
I am now more free, and yet still held down. I am lighter and still carrying some extra baggage. 2009 left me wiser in both good and bad ways. I think when you gain wisdom you also get a bit jaded in the process, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can take the jadedness and put it in a positive light. You survived, and you are stronger now.
In 2010 all i really want is to serve – to serve my God and to serve the people around me. I just want to dive in and really embrace all God has for me, i want to learn about Him and spend time in His presence. I want to love other people and put them first, i want to lose myself serving and giving, and pouring out God’s love. My heart feels so ready to love, to reach out, to lift up. I want to live my year with an open heart, ready for anything God brings my way. I don’t want to miss any of the things he wants to do in my life or bless me with, and in order to do that i must keep opening my heart to people, i must push down all the walls that i put up and let others in.
So friends, my 2010 challenge to you is to really ask yourself what God wants for you, not what you want, but what God wants to do through you this year. And i challenge you to love, to reach out pass the awkwardness and fear, past the hurt and regrets, past yourself, and really find what it means to love with all your heart and soul. Never say never. God is intentionally random. He is very unexpected and will work whenever and wherever He pleases, so be ready!
Here’s to love and honesty my dears, may your year be so very blessed, filled with grace and peace. Cheers!
“Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me” – You Never Let Go by Matt Redman