faith · reconnecting with God · Uncategorized

#ItsBeenAYear – A Really, Really, Rough Year. #TrustingHimToMakeBeautyFromAshes #Goodbye2019

It’s taken me several days to post this, but after sharing it with Tom and asking him if I should, he encouraged me to. My desire would be to be authentic (with whoever takes the time to read this post) about where I am and hopefully where I’m headed…as well as to encourage anyone else that’s been struggling.

As 2020 rolls in, I’m counting on the truth of “His mercies are new every morning year”.


It’s December 27th and I’m wishing, with everything in me, that I was writing about how happy the holidays were…how much I enjoyed the memories from this year and long to reflect on them…or how picture-perfect Christmas Day was around here (I’m actually not even sure if I took a single photo on Christmas Day).  The truth is, as I (literally) crawled in to bed on December 25th, my husband sweetly said, “We will NEVER have another year {Christmas Day} like this again…I promise.”

Actually, it wasn’t just “Christmas” that was lacking in joy for me…it was my heart for a good part of this year. Depression has a way of masking itself as “just a bad day” or “sadness” over an event or season.  A few weeks ago, as I sat crying with Tom on our couch, I finally said, “I think I need some help- I think I’m depressed.”

This realization came from me personally identifying with EVERY facebook post or discussion that spoke of: sadness around the holidays…or offering grace to those that you have no idea what they are going through or carrying around with them…or checking on friends that “seem fine” but are not…as well as some random article entitled “Warning Signs of Depression to Watch Out For” (that I mentally put a “check” next to almost every sign mentioned). Add to that my lack of enthusiasm or desire to be with people or look forward to things that typically cause delight, and I knew I was in trouble.

I’ve needed some help (counseling and/or medication) a few times over the course of my life…after a miscarriage and hard start to our first few years of marriage…the year Brittney left for college and my mother-in-law was dying of cancer…and a year when  Tom and I were far from feeling connected and I flat-lined in regards to putting any effort into our relationship.  I’m a FIRM believer that EVERYone and ANYone can benefit from therapy/counseling and I’ve never been embarrassed or afraid to wave the white flag to say, “I need help”. My issue is putting myself back on my priority list and making it happen…which, quite honestly, might be part of the reason for this post being shared.  #accountability

Yesterday, over lunch, Brittney and I talked about this year known as “2019” and how ready we both are to move on from it. We named the hardships and attempted to come up with some “wins”/positives. The ONE thing that we originally had on the “yahoo” list was “Landry {#grandgirl} being born”…and later DIED LAUGHING as we realized that she actually arrived in 2018!

After taking some time to pour out the “crap” that we felt this year, rest assured that we both got to the place of acknowledging that THROUGH IT ALL, God made Himself known and we DO believe He was fully present.

He was there during job stress and change for Tom and me.

He was there when we left our home and moved to a house (in a different city).

He was there and saw my hurt and sadness over the loss of relationships that I don’t  have the emotional energy to try to heal/work on right now.

He was there as my concern over my mom’s health and comfort increased.

He was there through the death of my dear friend, Sheri.

He was there as I grieved with many friends dealing with REALLY hard things and as I attempted to minister to women God brought my way who needed my support and love.

He was there as I felt the weight of speaking truth in love – that sometimes weighed on my heart for days, weeks or months.

He was there as I continued to battle daily chronic pain and struggled with self-worth due to wanting to do things that my body no longer allows.

He was there as we watched our daughter’s marriage coming to an end.

He was there as our daughter and grandson (and dog) moved into our home.

He was there as Tom and I prayed over our overwhelming concern for our precious grandson – learning how to live without his mommy and daddy together.

He was there as we wept over the change in our relationship with our son (in-law) and wondered, “Does he miss us/being a part of our family…like we are missing him?” and “How can we love him well during all this change?”.

And…He was there every time I sat on the couch and cried (and argued) cause I doubted His plan, His ways, and even His deep, deep love for me and my family.

He was there in 2019…and will be in 2020. I’m trusting Him to take the ashes of 2019 and turn them into something beautiful in 2020 and beyond.  I’m thankful that He is completely “OK” with my tears, my doubts, my fears, and my “unbelief”…actually, He welcomes them. He’s also completely “OK” with me reaching out to a professional for some help and guidance (and possibly some needed meds).  While HE is the author of ALL peace, comfort, healing and grace – I love that He gives counselors, pastors, friends and family wisdom to share and offer.

To be clear – there were, DEFINITELY, great things that happened this year. It’s just that when you feel a weight of sadness the minute you open your eyes in the morning, you have to work REALLY hard to see them. It’s a choice – and one that I didn’t always make or focus on.

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me for “a word” that had meaning or that I planned to focus on.  I didn’t text back right away because, honestly, I had nothing…my mind was completely blank. But, just to check it off my list (and not be rude by not responding), I sent back, “A word: JOY”.

The next week I received this gift in the mail from her.

joy 2

So – I’m thinking God wants me to focus on JOY this year.  Not “happiness”…but JOY. JOY that only comes from being truly connected to Him. When that happens, I know it will spill over in all areas of my life.  For those that have felt my “lack of” this year – I’m truly sorry and hope you will forgive me and offer some needed grace. I hope this coming year I will be a better representative of Jesus and how He loves people.

I can’t wait to see the beauty 2020 will be…not because everything will go “great” or every situation will be “better”, but because I’m going to work on me and trust God to make something beautiful with the ashes I currently feel.

#seeYa2019

#bringIt2020

#ThankYouGodForBeingThereForBoth

7 thoughts on “#ItsBeenAYear – A Really, Really, Rough Year. #TrustingHimToMakeBeautyFromAshes #Goodbye2019

  1. Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability. You are such a treasure to those around you (me included) and to God. I will pray for your healing and your search for joy.
    I’ve had an extremely painful/hard/stupid/ugly/challenging year as well and “Joy” was one of the words I chose a few months ago. I need joy, I want joy and I’m seeking (with the help of 2 counselors) to find joy. My other word would be “peace”. I so desire peace in my soul. (And in my circumstances if I might be honest.)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing where you are…praying for peace and joy for both of us. Proud of you for meeting with counselors and I love knowing that your heart knows the TRUTH-that Jesus is with you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lori,

    Your heart shows through every word you write and you are loved beyond measure. Our walk in life tests us in many ways and we are truly Blessed as we draw nearer to God. My journey has not always been rosy, but my faith has brought me through each trial as a better woman than ever. Bless you dear friend as we grow older and wiser with Purpose! Thank you for being you and sharing your precious family with me all these years! Happy 2020! May it be Joyful!

    Love and warm hugs,
    Nancy

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    1. Nancy-I have prayed often for you and Dave this year. What a wild ride you have had. Your faith has been an example to me…as well as your devotion to your husband. Proud of you! Happy 2020!

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  3. Lori, first of all, I love you, sweet sister in Christ. And wow, can I relate! Rich’s 1999 was his horrible year. Mine was 2008. And 2012. And the only way our marriage survived and we survived is that I had no choice but to give it all to God. Those times where we couldn’t stand to be in the same room with each other, or even the same house. Those times when the burdens of this life crushed us to the point of not being able to get out of bed. Those times when the pain of loss or fear made our hearts feel like they were being ripped from our bodies. God is faithful and he carried us in His arms through those infernos. What we learned from our trials? SO much. It IS a refining fire, and He uses every bit of our pain and hurt to glorify Him if we are humble and let Him do His work. It is not easy, but it is so much better than hardening our hearts and shutting others out. I am so proud of you for sharing your struggle with all of us. Someone today is reading this who needs to have the assurance that they aren’t the only ones. Far from it. Life on this earth is not easy, but it is always with purpose. God is using you, even in your pain. Big hugs and love to you and your precious family. Let’s not wait another 15 years (?) before we get together again.

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  4. Lori, I too have struggled with depression this year. My husband left me and my son in Nov 2019. But to be honest, he really just left me. He could no longer deal with my depression and negativity and my lack of dealing with either. He needed a break and it was my worst nightmare. God never left me not one single time. He drew me to Him and I did some deep soul searching and healing that was well over due. God is bringing us back together, but the road will be long and painful. Please pray for me as I will for you. Thank you for being open and honest. God is so good!

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    1. Friend – I’m so sorry. I had no idea. Thank you for sharing…I will certainly pray as God brings you to mind and am stopping to pray RIGHT NOW! Proud of you for working hard on your relationship…with God and with your husband/family.

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