In just a few short days 2017 will come to an end. It has been the hardest year of my life and I am ready to leave it behind. It's time to figure out how to begin a new chapter and get unstuck from the old one.
At the end of each year, I like to take time to reflect on memories made, struggles faced and lessons learned. At first glance, 2017 was a year that I might want to just forget all together. But upon closer inspection, I am reminded of some amazing growth for me and huge milestones for my kids.
Through the pain of betrayal I have grown stronger and learned that God's love wraps around us and carries us through the tough days. The days when we don't want to be strong and resilient anymore. The days when we just want them to see the pain they cause and to care enough to change. The days when the weight of hard decisions feels like it will crush us. God draws close and holds us tight.
Through financial abandonment, I have witnessed God's faithfulness to provide in so many ways. Some days it was a card in the mail, a gift left on my doorstep or a friend just stopping by. I have learned that hard work and trust in God go hand in hand. I can't just sit around waiting for God to take care of my needs. I also can't keep everything in and pretend that it's all OK. I have to work hard and take the opportunities that God gives me. I have to be honest when someone asks how things are going instead of just answering "I'm fine". I have to be willing to accept help from those who offer. God has used some amazing angels this year to bless me and show me that he has not left me to do this alone.
Through fun times I have learned that laughter really is great medicine and that my kids are growing into some amazing people. Through my struggles to be strong for them I have learned that they love me and they understand that I am human and make mistakes. They don't expect me to be perfect and to never have a meltdown when the stress piles up. They just need to see me keep getting back up and never giving up.
We have made some great memories this year. We welcomed a new furry friend into our family. An English bulldog named Jovi Lynn. She has been a handful but she also brings so much joy and love.
I was able to visit the beach twice this year. Once during Spring Break with Madison and then again in June with all four kids and lots of extended family.
Madison got her driver's license in July and a car from my Mom in August. Tyler started high school and played JV & Freshman football. During a summer youth camp he rededicated his life to Christ and was baptized. Noah completed his first year of college and earned an athletic scholarship towards his second. Christian and Nichole got married and have begun creating a life for themselves.
I will always see 2017 as a major turning point in my life. It was the year when all of the chains fell off and I gained strength, freedom and peace. I found my voice. I found me again. The me that I had forgotten even existed. Despite all of the hardship, I have become a better me. A me who knows that without God, I can do nothing. A me who refuses to settle for excuses. A me whose story is still being written by God.
2017 was a year of growth that would not have happened if my circumstances were different. I look forward to new adventures, new lessons and new growth in 2018.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.