on getting another tattoo…

I have NEVER been someone to get a spur of the moment tattoo. I got my first tattoo seven years ago and haven’t been inked since. There were times I considered getting another tat, but never felt right about it in the end.

Then I went to Nepal. While hiking through the Himalayas I thought, “This is what life is about. I need to remember this.” As we trekked uphill I spent my time focusing on my breath and each step I took. It was all so simple. On top of that, the mountains were relentless in reminding me how small I truly am (and consequently how big God is.)

Sometimes (…a lot of times) I forget.

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Last year was one of the hardest years of my life; I was stretched in ways that left me beat up and sore all over. I lost perspective. Things have improved since then, though this year has brought its fair share of challenges as well.

Like many people, I can get stuck in my head.

All that washed away on the mountain. I felt myself changing the higher we climbed. Some people get baptized in water as a symbol of new life; for me, in this season, I climbed a mountain.

And so, when my trekking buddy Drea and I threw around the idea of getting a tattoo of the Annapurna mountain range, my spirit didn’t brush it off. This surprised me and I took note.

Four days later I found myself in a tattoo parlor in Kathmandu, going back and forth with an artist about my potential tattoo. I was nervous because this was so out of the ordinary for me (getting a tattoo so quickly and in another country), but I was also aware of the settledness in my spirit underneath all my nerves.

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In Deuteronomy, God tells his people some really good stuff  (“love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,” etc etc) and then he tells them to “fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” as a reminder.

This is why I get tattoos; to mark myself with the truth I need to remember.

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do i want it here??

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or here??

Finally it came to a point in the tattoo parlor where I had to decide if I was actually going to do this or not. I could walk away and leave it as a nice idea… or I could risk. I felt similar to the way I felt before bungee jumping. I needed to dig deep beneath my fears to that place in my spirit that said go and trust the end result would be worth it.

And so I did.

My thoughts were something like this: Am I really doing this? Yes I’m doing this. Oh my gosh I can’t believe I’m doing this!!

Even though I liked the placement on the outside of my arm better than the inside, I got the tattoo on the inside because I could see it better. That was the main point of me getting this tattoo – so I could see it and remember.

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Yup… that happened.

I will have it on my wedding day and when I have babies and when I’m old and gray. As the ups and downs of life continue it will serve me as a reminder of what really matters in life and how to get by…

Just breathe and take the next step.

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no social media… what’s that like?

I’m not on Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Pinterest. Or any other popular social media platform.

With the exception of Facebook, I’ve never even had an account with those listed. It’s not that I’m against social media. It’s that I know myself and my weaknesses.

I love people. I love pictures. I love parties. I love being in the know.

I know I would love Instagram. Which is exactly why I’m not on it.

Like many Americans, I usually feel like I don’t have enough time. Between working a full-time job, working out 3-5 times a week, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, (etc.), nurturing my hobbies, practicing spiritual disciplines, seeking out volunteer opportunities, and spending time with people I love, it seems there just aren’t enough hours in a week. And I don’t even have a kids!

I also know how easy it is to waste time.

I know how easy it is to scroll through Facebook in the morning, in line at the grocery store, at red lights, during work, and before bed. I know what it’s like to complain I don’t read enough – but in reality I am reading a lot! I’m just reading Facebook statuses instead of books.

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Over the years I’ve done my fair share of Googling the effects of social media. Two common themes I’ve found are as follows:

  1. It creates a distorted reality, which can result in comparison / insecurity / isolation.
  2. It distracts and disrupts our creativity / productivity.

People are often in denial about the effects anything has on them (advertising, movies, music, etc.) I will confess at times I believe I am above it all. But I’m not.

Every year I deactivate my Facebook account on January 1 for three months. I do this for a couple of reasons. First, as a reset button to make sure I am in control of Facebook and Facebook isn’t in control of me. I detox any bad habits I may have picked up. Second, to take myself off the grid as I start the new year; to have less things vying for my attention so I can focus on what I want to get out of the year.

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It’s interesting what happens when you aren’t on any kind of social media.

I am usually the last one to find out about things. People getting engaged, people moving, people getting in car crashes, etc etc etc. This much I can say: good ole word-of-mouth still gets the job done. (It’s just not as timely.)

I’m invited to fewer parties.

It’s ironic; not being on Facebook (slash any social media) shows you who your friends really are. The ones who are thinking of you enough to make a little more effort, they remember you even when you’re off the grid. I don’t say this in a negative sense. It’s just the truth! People don’t notice I’m not on Facebook. The world spins madly on.

I plan to reactivate my Facebook account April 1. While there are many advantages to being off the grid, there are also advantages to being on it. For me, best case scenario is to be on one social media platform and to keep my boundaries in check. If I’m complaining I don’t have enough time, yet find myself aimlessly scrolling through Facebook… I have a problem. Time to reset those boundaries!

I think it’s important for everyone to be deeply honest with themselves about the power social media can have (or currently has) over his or her life if healthy boundaries aren’t being practiced. Moderation is key. For some people, that means not checking social media in the morning or at night. For others, it might mean not checking it all weekend. If you don’t already know what works for you, I encourage you to find out and do it!

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on friendships come and gone.

Friendships, I’ve learned, are not forever.

My realization came slowly, after years and seasons and friends faded away. Friends I lived with, traveled with, shared birthdays and New Years and secrets with, are nothing more than memories of what once was.

I was a senior in high school when my acting teacher told us our friendships wouldn’t last. I remember thinking, “But she doesn’t know my friends! We are different! She is wrong!”

She was right.

Some of them lasted longer than others. When I came home during college breaks I would aways catch up with them. We would laugh and reminisce and take pictures and plan on doing it again the next time.

As the years went on the reunions became fewer and far between.

One particular friendship lasted nearly 9 years after high school. At that point you would think it’s the real deal. But I came home for Christmas one year and realized we valued each other differently. I made time for her while she made time for other people.

I was crushed.

Looking back, I noticed the pattern and how I should have seen it coming.

My acting teacher may have been right, but she was also wrong…

Out of all my high school friends, I have two that stuck despite time and distance and everything in between. (One of them went to the same college as me, so that definitely helped.) It’s the kind of friendship where we don’t stay in touch, but we make effort to see each other when we can, aka whenever I come back to Ohio. The three of us got together over dinner this past Christmas and talked for hours.

After high school there was college, where I made a whole new set of BFFFFFs. The first friend I made was Grace. Hope and Grace… it was too good to be true. We were both hyper with brown hair – people got us mixed up all the time and I loved it. At the beginning of our friendship people thought we had been friends for years when in reality it had been just a few weeks.

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Those weeks turned into years, and when we were 21 I stood next to her as she married the man of her dreams.

She was my first friend to get married.

I remember driving home after her wedding in my bridesmaid’s dress and bursting into tears because I knew our friendship would never be the same.

She moved to Wisconsin with her husband and started a family. I traveled the world and ended up in Georgia, still single. Our seasons changed, our friendship faded.

We haven’t seen each other in more than 5 years and we rarely, if ever, talk or text. But we still hold high regard for each other. We still refer to each other as “best.” (Our nickname for each other. Clever, I know.)

With this particular friendship, we were actually on the same page with the distance that came between us – neither of us were hanging on more than the other. We accepted where life was taking us and let each other go.

We’ve never verbalized this with each other, so after I typed up this blog I texted her to ask if it was okay to post publicly. Her response?

“Of course I’m good with it! I cherish your friendship and you will always hold a special place in my heart as being my best in college. I do agree too [about our friendship fading.] Unfortunately that happens with friendships. Love you always!”

Not all of my friendships have ended as seamlessly.

Like high school, most of my friendships from college faded as the years went on and life took us in different directions. A couple of them have lasted. We still make effort to see each other when we can, which is usually once a year, twice at best. There usually isn’t much talking in between.

And thus continues the pattern of my friendships.

I used to fall hard and fast into friendship and be certain THIS WAS IT. Best friends for life.

When the for life part didn’t happen I often found myself feeling shocked and betrayed, as if said friend broke up with me and didn’t even tell me. Did our matching bracelets mean nothing??

That’s the thing about friendships – there’s nothing that really defines the relationship. With family, you have blood. With marriage, you have covenant. With dating, you talk about whether or not you’re on the same page and if you’re not, you break up. Both parties understand what just happened.

With friendship, it either lasts or it doesn’t and you don’t really know which one it’s going to be until it happens. The lack of clarity can be confusing, frustrating, and hurtful at times (especially when you realize you were the one hanging on.)

In the past when a friendship ended, I usually took it to mean our relationship had never been real. If it couldn’t stand the test of time or distance, clearly it had been a fraud.

I also used to think it was the other person’s fault when our friendship ended. They got married. They moved away. They had kids. They stopped calling or emailing or texting.

But then I realized often times it was just as much my fault. had a career. traveled. had other friends. stopped calling or emailing or texting.

Beyond that, I realized it’s not as much anyone’s fault as it is LIFE HAPPENS. People travel, people move. People get married and have babies. People’s interests change.

I know some people still have really close friend groups from high school and/or college (or other seasons of life), and that’s awesome. My story is just a little different.

Over the years, there are two truths I have learned about friendships:

  1. Most of them are for only a season.
  2. They are still genuine even if they’re only for a season.

As Jonathan Safran Foer once wrote, “So many people enter and leave your life! Hundreds of thousands of people! You have to keep the door open so they can come in, but it also means you have to let them go.”

I’ve learned to not be the person who is left hanging on and then crushed when it’s over; I’ve learned to let people go. It’s still hard. It still hurts. But I feel less like a victim and more like someone who understands and celebrates the seasons of life. I am grateful for the time I had.

Friendship is a mystery – you don’t know which ones will make it through the changing seasons.

I’m often surprised by the ones that stick.

Right now I have a handful of friendships that are in transition because of life circumstances. They may last, they may not. I will grieve if they end, but I will understand.

I also have a few new friendships that are blossoming.

And thus continues the pattern of my friendships.

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a follow-up to “on being 29 and single.”

When a Christian single person mentions their desire to get married, it is not uncommon for him or her to be met with a concerned look and a slight rebuke. Something along the lines of: “Perhaps instead you should to work on being content with where God has you.”

(Am I right, or am I right?)

In other words, it is only when a single person completely eradicates their desire for marriage that God will offer it to them. Until then, wanting to get married is clearly an idol in their life.

I’d like to unpackage this idea, because I don’t think it’s true.

Let’s start by seeing what the Bible has to say.

When God creates everything in Genesis 1 we are told “God saw that it was good” three times.

In the next chapter, God sees something that is NOT good.

Adam, alone.

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone…”

Interesting.

So there’s Adam, chillin’ in the garden with all his furry friends, in pure unity with God, and God is the one who isn’t content with this.

Adam has everything! Yet it isn’t enough.

God doesn’t sit down with Adam, look him in the eye, and tell him to be more content.

Instead he creates a woman.

Wo-man.

Not another bro.

Isn’t that interesting? God could have created another man. They could have tromped around the garden, chasing bears and riding bulls and beating their chests.

But God didn’t do that.

God created woman. God created romance. God created marriage.

God did. Hollywood didn’t.

So when people have the desire to get married, they are craving something God created. It’s not wrong; it’s not a sin. It’s holy.

What if the next time you hear someone say they want to get married, you respond with, “REALLY? You want to experience this beautiful thing God created? That’s amazing!

Or maybe, “You want to submit and sacrifice and serve another person every day for the rest of your life? In order to represent the mystery of Christ? You want to forsake your independence for covenant? YOU GO GLEN COCO!”

I get that not everyone wants to get married for the right reasons. I understand that sometimes people are searching for love/intimacy/affirmation when the only true way to receive that is through our Heavenly Father. And yes, I understand that sometimes people romanticize marriage – thinking it’s rainbows and butterflies over plunging the toilet and working through conflict.

Even so, I think people could use a little less correction and a little more encouragement in this area. After all, who are we to judge?

Again, wanting to get married isn’t a bad thing. IT’S A GOOD THING. It’s aligning with God’s desire. It was his desire for man to not be alone. It’s his desire for people to get married, have sex and make babies. We need to remember that. We need to celebrate it, not condemn it.

A couple of years ago I really wrestled with the desire I had for marriage. I didn’t like it (the desire.) It felt like a burden, a weight I didn’t want to carry. I couldn’t control it or wish it away. It made me feel crazy. I cried to my counselor about it one day. She looked at me kindly and told me it was a natural thing, that biologically I was designed to desire husband/kids/nesting, especially during the stage of life I was in.

That has always stuck with me. The way she said it was so matter-of-fact, as if she was talking about my body’s desire for food and water. It’s natural. It’s normal.

I am grateful for my life; I am content with it. I also have a natural and spiritual desire for marriage.

Isn’t that awesome???:)

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on being 29 and single…

The other day I caught up with an old friend, Allie, over the phone. We met in college and I was in her wedding a few years ago.

We chatted for a while about our different jobs and what it takes to be a go-getter in the workplace (especially as a woman), and then she asked me how it was being 29 and single. “Are you stressed, frustrated, pissed, content?”

I laughed.

“I want to be married and I’m not,” I told her. “But I still have hope. Possibly more than ever.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately. Every January I write a blog on what it’s like to be whatever age I am and single. 26 and single, 27 and single, 28 and single… and now, 29 and single.

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I have many thoughts.

Firstly, no one will ever know what it’s like to be 29 and single unless they too have been 29 and single. I think it’s easy for people to believe if they have EVER been single they understand.

I politely disagree.

Similar to marriage, singleness takes on different shapes and forms the longer you are in it. There are new discoveries along the way.

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One discovery has been in my relationship with God.

My family lives in Ohio and my community in Georgia is flux; people come, people go. There’s always another “save the date” or baby being born. My job is often evolving and a few months ago I moved from one house to another. The world around me is spinning. God is my only constant.

Married people have each other to fall asleep next to; I have God. This morning I woke up, rolled over, and asked him how he was. (He was saddened over some things happening in the world, but also hopeful, in case you were wondering.)

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When I was talking to my friend Allie, I briefly hesitated when it came to sharing this idea. “I don’t want this to come off the wrong way,” I said. “But because I don’t have a husband, I have greater dependency on God, and therefore greater intimacy with Him. Like, I get what Paul means when he says a single person is devoted to the Lord in body and spirit, but a married person’s devotion is divided.”

I wasn’t sure how Allie was going to respond. I don’t typically share this with married people because I don’t want them to get offended.

“Hope,” she said. “You’re totally right.”

We went on to talk about the pros and cons of marriage and singleness.

Con: I had one of the hardest years of my life last year, and I faced it alone.
Pro: I am closer to God than ever before, because no one else was there to save me.

I don’t take this for granted. I am grateful for it.

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Another discovery I’ve made is I trust God more than ever when it comes to marriage.

You would think the opposite to be true, especially since I have been utterly convinced I would get married every year since 2013 (and I’m still going strong! 2016 is going to be IT!)

Despite all my disappointments, I don’t doubt I will get married, and I believe I will know in my spirit when God brings us together.

Do I believe in soulmates?

Yes.

And no.

I simultaneously believe in soulmates and the idea there is more than one person for me. I am okay with contradictions.

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I don’t believe in soulmates because of fairy tales, I believe in them because of reality.

I was in a wedding less than two months ago – the bride and groom met in line at the airport after their flight was canceled. I was there when two of my coworkers saw each other for the first time – she couldn’t stop staring, he couldn’t stop sweating. Last fall I stayed with a couple in Texas – they met when he accidentally called the wrong number and she picked up (back in the day before cell phones.) I have friends who were in the same kindergarten class in Florida, didn’t see each other for 20+ years, traveled the world separately, and both ended up in Gainesville, Georgia. They are now married.

This is real life. And I know it can happen for me too.

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There is risk in waiting. There is heartache. There is confusion and feeling crazy. But at the end of each day, I know that if God cares enough about the stupid things I pray about (and he does) then he cares about this serious thing I long for. He won’t leave me in the dark or out to dry. I know I am empowered to make my own decisions, but I also know God honors sacrifice. And I have made some sacrifices.

I rambled about these things and more to my friend Allie. When our conversation ended and I hung up the phone, the lady on the treadmill next to me looked at me and said, “I wasn’t eavesdropping.”

We both laughed, because clearly she had overheard my conversation.

“I got married 3 days before my 30th birthday,” she told me. “And what you say is right:  you will know.

She affirmed my idea that as a single person I have fewer distractions between me and God, and she went on to applaud pretty much everything else I said. He will come. The wait is worth it. You can’t mess it up. You will know. 

I’m convinced she was an angel.

(But really.)

We chatted for a few minutes, and when I left the gym I had an extra spring in my step.

Lately I’ve been telling people I would love to get married when I’m 30. I like the idea of starting a new decade with a hubby by my side. My 20s were for single adventures, my 30s are for married ones…

Until then (or whatever age I may be when I get married), I will continue to adventure with me, myself, and God.  I will not let my singleness define me, just as I won’t let my marriage define me.

I am so much more than that.

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2016 and feeling fine.

We are two and a half weeks into 2016 and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m being more intentional with my life, more proactive about my values. Last year I felt mostly reactive to everything around me – work, relationships, etcetera. This year is different.

I finally finished that book I started a few months ago – All the Light We Cannot See. SO GOOD. So so good. Everyone should read it.

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I also started listening to audiobooks when I workout (hello, Audible!) So far this year I’ve finished Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Bareilles and I’m nearly halfway through On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. I like audiobooks when the author reads his or her own work. It feels more real, more intimate, between us.

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I’ve started doing 12 pushups in a row (instead of my meager 10 or 11.) My goal is 20 consecutive pushups and 3 consecutive pull-ups. I’ve never done a pull-up in my life, so we’ll see. (I got a team together for the Savage Race, so I have some inspiration.)

I’ve been cooking more. As a bachelorette, my go-to is eggs or yogurt for breakfast, salads or turkey sandwiches for lunch, and veggie burgers, chicken, or fish for dinner. It gets old.

So far this year I’ve cooked a mushroom & artichoke heart quiche, baked banana bread oatmeal, sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, and quinoa and cauliflower chowder. Not to brag or anything. (But maybe a little.)

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noms

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I dyed my hair purple on January 1. The most commonly asked questions when you dye your hair purple are “do you like it?” and “why did you do it?” The answers are simply yes and why not?

But really, it actually took 3 tries to get my hair the color I wanted (I paid a hair stylist to do it) and the reason is because my inner rockstar was clawing her way out. I had to release her. Also, I just like dying my hair to represent change. It’s a new year.

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3rd times a charm…

In general, I’ve been creating more space for myself. Going from 5 roommates and a baby to 2 roommates and no baby does that to you. I woke up yesterday (Saturday) to an empty house and thought, “now what?” I cleaned, wrote, and read. There even may have  been a nap in there. It felt scandalous.

I leave for Malaysia a week from tomorrow. It will be my 4th time. I’ve already started a pile in my room – things to bring out to the participants, but more importantly, snacks. So far I have baked kale chips, Boom Chicka Pop popcorn, and Annie’s Organic cheddar bunnies. Yeah, I go big.

When I come back it will be February, my least favorite month of the year. At least it’s the shortest month. Except it’s Leap Year, so there’s an extra day womp womp. (They already have Valentine’s Day candy out, in case you are wondering.)

Thankfully, new episodes of Jane the Virgin will be airing then. So I think I’ll make it through.

All in all, 2016 is cruising by and I don’t have much to complain about. Hollaaa!

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A breakup letter…

Dear 2015,

I’ll be honest, I’m not going to miss you. You turned out to be one of the hardest years of my life. You were ruthless, pushing me past my limits and making me cry more than I’d like to admit.

We first met in the driveway of some guy’s house in Costa Rica. I was standing around with my best friend, a handful of strangers, and a bottle of tequila when you approached us. I knew we were destined to meet, but this was unexpected and anticlimactic. I was supposed to be dancing!

The rest of our meet cute didn’t go as planned, so I should have known then we weren’t off to a good start.

Only you and God know everything we’ve been through. Other people have seen glimpses, or have heard about our complicated relationship in part, but no one will ever know the full picture.

The first 8 months of our relationship can be described in this text message I sent to my mentor in the spring:

Betsy… I’m dying. This job is drowning me (this job and the fact I’m working as a Squad Mentor at the same time.) I don’t know that I’ve gotten to this point in my life before, but I really just want to give up and stop caring, because no matter how hard I try I still feel like I’m drowning, dying, shriveling up, want to cry all the time. I seriously am at the end of myself. I keep trying to go to Jesus, but he’s not managing the Passport budget for me. I’m failing at so many things, so why keep trying? Why not just embrace the failure all together? This is my thought process these days and that scares me. I’m not a quitter. But *not* quitting feels like it’s going to kill me…

I didn’t quit. And I didn’t die, though at times I felt like death. If there’s one thing you taught me about myself, 2015, it’s that I’m both weaker and stronger than I thought.

When I look back on our relationship, I remember the tears. You treated me like a sponge you enjoyed wringing out, using force and circumstance to squeeze all my insides out. You couldn’t get enough of that salty water. You didn’t care about my pride or dignity, you clasped and twisted and squeezed no matter the time or day or place. 

I remember the first time I walked out of the office and into the woods to cry. It was in late January, after a meeting, and I tried to go outside without anyone seeing me. My tears were about to burst. Patrick saw me and all I could do was look at him and shake my head as if to say, “don’t even talk to me right now because the dam is about to break.” I walked past another person and choked “not now” as the tears began to fall. When I made it to the woods (finally) I cried and walked and wrestled with God. WHY was this happening?

That wasn’t the only tearful walk I had with God in those woods.

In February there was the plane ride from Bangkok to Dubai. All the lights were off and I used my headlamp to write in my diary. Tears fell from my face and soaked the pages. My heart was broken. Not over a boy, but over where God had me in life. I was grateful the person next to me was sleeping.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time I sobbed to Betsy over the phone in the Target parking lot. It was the last Friday in March. This time it wasn’t about work; it was about relationships. I told her I felt like I was in the movie Mean Girls — and the joke was on me. Out of all the times I cried / sobbed / bawled this year, recalling this particular memory is the most painful one of all.

Summer was a blur – I didn’t have time to cry. That is, until everything caught up with me in July and I pretty much cried for two days nonstop. The pain of the previous 10 months had been triggered and came tumbling out relentlessly. I became aware of the depth and weight of pain I had been carrying.

It shocked me.

I knew God was performing triage on my heart. It was as if out of nowhere he dramatically pushed everyone and everything out of the way and said loudly, firmly: SHE HAS HAD ENOUGH. ENOUGH.

God saved me, and by the end of August I was crying tears of relief.

But you didn’t stop there, 2015.

Fall swirled in with all its vibrant colors and falling leaves, and I moved out of The House with the Yellow Door.

This move introduced a whole new era of pain.

I’ve been told our fears are never actually as bad as we think they will be. I politely disagree. Sometimes they are just as bad. Sometimes they are worse.

By moving out I faced my fear of being alone in this world. I tore down the veil of relational comfort and safety and security, and I stared rejection in the eye.

It stabbed me like a knife.

I ditched my diary and instead created a document on my computer called Pain (Slash Real Life) so my fingers could keep up with everything I needed to process.

“Everything inside me hurts, aches, longs. I feel so left out. My biggest fear come true,” I wrote in the opening paragraph.

There’s a kind of loneliness you feel in a crowded room, and there’s the kind of loneliness you feel in a crowded room of people you have history with.

I wrestled with God. I wept. I told him if I had known it would be this hard I wouldn’t have done it.

On December 5 I wrote, “I HATE this season of life. I want it to be OVER. Death is painful. Excruciating.” 

And then I gave up.

I stopped wrestling. I stopped whining. I let death win. I dove into the arms of my Best Friend instead.

2015, you know how the rest of the story goes. I found a settledness and a tranquility in my spirit. I let fear and worry wash away, I let hope and inspiration fill my soul.

So, 2015, you didn’t crush me in the end. Instead you taught me some hard lessons about priorities, boundaries, relationships, perseverance, leadership, and life – and for that I am grateful.

You revealed to me layers of pride, performance, control, and fear that coated my insides. You gave me opportunity to release these traits, and I did. (Though I’m sure there are more layers to be found…)

2015, I’m not going to miss you. But I do want to thank you. You broke my heart and my spirit, but you gave me so many treasurers along the way. I will take these nuggets of gold with me into 2016 and carry them closely, like a mother holding her baby against her chest.

I won’t forget what we’ve been through. I won’t forget all the hard times I mentioned above, and I won’t forget the good times either. When you whisked me away to Paris or when we saw those two wild lions in South Africa. When I flew a plane in Colorado and repelled down a waterfall in Ecuador. When I ate beignets in Louisiana and stood as a bridesmaid next to Tiffany, who I met through you. As much as you drove me crazy, 2015, you were also good to me.

But it’s over between us. You had your way with me and now I’m leaving you for another year.

Sure, 2016 might seem like a rebound. And yeah, I’ll admit, 2016 is bright and new and sexy. I was wearing a black dress when we met, and 2016 took my hand and danced with me. Unlike you.

But I want you to know I am committed to 2016. I know it won’t always be easy, I know more tears will be shed and my heart is bound to be broken again.

I also know 2016 is brimming with promise. I haven’t felt this inspired in a long time. I’m reading more, writing more (if you couldn’t already tell), dreaming more. I have a sense 2016 wants to bring out my best. I can tell we are going to share more laughter than tears.

Goodbye, 2015.

Love,
Hope.

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