Glancing back at 2015, looking ahead to 2016

2015 was hard. Like, much harder than I had expected. I remember thinking last year about this time that 2015 was going to be my year. My word for the year was “thrive“. Yet, as the year rolled by, it seemed like I was dying rather than thriving. Financial hardships struck us hard. Most of the time it felt like we we were barely getting by. God is faithful, though, and he got us through the year. Nothing ever got turned off on us so I know e are still fortunate and wee doing better than most of the world. Still, things just did not go as I expected. As Brandon and I experienced these hardships there were tensions in our marriage. I prayed often for God’s guidance on how to budget our money, but I took on a lot of guilt about our situation. We had agreed that I would stay home and take care of Autumn while Brandon worked and provided for us financially. I did the best I could with stretching our one income as far as I could, and Brandon would reassure me I was doing well, but I still felt awful. He would say, “You can’t squeeze blood from water and you can’t turn nothing into something”. In my head I knew this to be true, but my heart would not accept it I once again struggled to feel like I was doing “enough”.

Enough. It’s a word I have struggled with my entire (or at least most of) my life. Struggling to feel like I’m enough. It’s the biggest lie Satan wants me to believe and I constantly wrestle with feeling like I’m enough, even though God has promised me I am more than enough. It goes hand in hand with the promise of thrive though. He has promised me I won’t just get through the struggles of life, I will get through them victoriously, for I will thrive. That was my promise for 2015. And while I didn’t see it going through the year, the results are here and I see now that I did.

3 major events occured in my life this past year. February 20, 2015: I became a mother. One of the greatest moments of my life and a true dream come true. My precious daughter is 10 months old now and she continues to steal my heart with her joy and contagious smile. May 16, 2015: I graduated (on time) from Toccoa Falls College with my B.S. in Ministry Leadership. I had dreamed of that day for years as well. December 20, 2015: I got my first “real” job. My first full time without being a student job that is. Not an internship, not a minimum wage job, but a job I don’t even consider a job because  see it turning into a career “job”. This was something I had not planned on, but thankfully God knows best in any and every situation and HE provided this dream for me.

You see, after spending the summer at home with Autumn and going into the fall, I felt so out of place. A lot of my friends were either starting back to school, starting graduate  school, or starting their first jobs. I’ll admit I felt a little out of place, but I had my family to look after and I turned my attention to that. Time rolled by and our financial situation grew worse, and everything began to feel dark. I started neglecting household duties. This took a toll on our marriage as well. I realized I felt dead inside and I felt beaded by God. It seemed like His promises of different things would never come true,and I definitely was not thriving. I began to grow numb for a season until final I had a breakdown, well several actually. They began occurring during the summer and lasted until winter. I had achieved my ultimate dreams. I got my degree and was living life as a stay-at-home wife and mommy. This was all I had dreamed of throughout high school and college, but I felt so unfulfilled and besides that, it was HARD!!! A LOT harder than I ever imagined. Brandon and I started talking about my trying to find a job and began praying. We decided this was the best choice for our family. I began applying and finally I was hired with Veri zon, officially starting on December 20. Going through the hiring process, and even my first week of training with Verizon, it became more and more clear that this was where I belonged. God had perfectly designed this for me. I just knew it. Hearing the different stories from people who ae all very unique but similar at the same time, filled me with hope again and my sense of purpose was renewed. Looking around my training classroom I saw a room full of super diverse people from all types of backgrounds, yet I couldn’t have felt more at home. I knew and know that only MY GOD could have worked that out.

And so, in perfect irony, God made me full again and showed me that He can and does make me thrive, even in the winter when I never expected it. Winter is normally filled with the harshest of months and things tend to be harder, yet this winter I feel better than I have in a long time. I KNOW that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

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