Church today was yet another wonderful service. Well, then again, they all are. Saying goodbye on Sunday to Pastor Kevin, I was gleaming with happiness, realizing how much I love walking into that space, love the presence I feel while there, the kindness and smiles from everyone I am surrounded by, and the warm & friendly good byes I get when I leave. This overwhelming joy brought me to a place of reflection. Looking back on the last year (well almost a year) since I started attending New Life, thinking about how much my life has evolved in such a short span of time, and how I couldn’t have imagined this past year without opening my heart to God. Reflecting on the people that have come into my life over the past year, leaves me feeling such gratitude. I definitely feel that God speaks to me through certain people he has brought into my life - call me crazy, but it’s true. I think of the steps I have taken in my own life over this year, the risks I was willing to take in 2012, and the opportunities that have arisen because of my willingness to take these steps forward. In addition, there has been some less then ideal situations I have gone through, but even they were much easier to handle with him by my side. I definitely feel blessed. IF someone would have asked me 15 months ago IF I ever thought I would be writing about something like this today, I would have thought them crazy - but when you open your heart and soul great things happen.
All in all 2012 really was an amazing year. I started the year with an injury which created a huge setback in my physical and professional goals. In all honestly, I am still fighting this battle, but along the way I have learned a tremendous amount about myself through this experience. In addition, it helped me shift my professional focus, realign my passions, and possess an entirely new outlook on fitness, and this I am happy about. In addition, while it ended up closing some doors, I realize now this was for the better, because it allowed other, better doors to open wider! I guess it helps me deepened my understanding that good does come from bad. It has been a long journey, and honestly, if I didn’t have prayer, and God to keep me at ease, I don’t know how I would be or where I would be emotionally with this experience.
I started dating someone in 2012, for the first time in over four years. I made a commitment to finally open my heart back up after being very closed off for way too long. And for the first time in my life I experienced what a truly amazing, beautiful, trusting, mutually respectful, passionate, inspiring, and encouraging relationship felt like. This relationship brought me another best friend. Someone who inspires me, encourages me, believes in me, and stands in my corner no matter what. I never knew that someone like that could exist until now, and honestly without God in my life, I don’t know that I would be able to see this existence, because I wouldn’t be able to trust it. While the romantic part of the relationship did come to an end, the experience, and the growth still remains. Through God, I was finally able to feel worthy of this type of love, this type of friend, and this type of relationship. Now for the first time in my life, I feel very clear on exactly what I want and need from a partner and a romantic relationship in my future, and I can walk into an opportunity with confidence and ease, knowing how I want to show up.
Speaking of opening my heart, as mentioned above, in 2012, I did experience the loss of an intimate relationship with someone I loved. For the first time in my life I knew that to love and loose was worth far more then never loving again, and completely worth keeping an open heart. What I realized most was that yes the actual romantic relationship did come to an end, and I did have a process of healing that I needed to experience, but set that aside, I never lost my friend (that part just got put on hold). Despite the pain my heart initially felt, this experience was such a positive one for me on so many levels. First and foremost, it taught me how to lean on God, and not only strengthened my relationship with him, but my trust in him. It taught me how to let him help me, and to trust that through him and with him I could overcome any obstacle and come back stronger. I feel that the healing process opened so many opportunities for me to grow both spiritually and personally. While, admittedly, I have moments I am embarrassed by the emotions that ran through my head, or words spoken, I recognize they were all part of this process and crucial for my growth. Experiencing these negative emotions, allowed them to surface, which opened the door for reflection in a time I was also in constant prayer. This really helped me come to some deeper understandings about myself. My reflection of my whole experience with this person strengthened my personal voice, and my desire to take another step forward professionally with confidence. In addition to strengthening my relationship with God, through this experience I also developed stronger relationships with some close friends and my father. It made me want to learn more, be more, and trust that I could do more all on my own.
In 2012 my brother and I, together, purchased our first home. Understand that I struggle often with making the small little day to day decisions and commitments, so to make a decision on such a large scale, and a commitment to this degree was a gigantic step for me. This I know for certain, that I couldn’t have done without prayer & God’s guidance. Along the way, I had moments of weakness, moments where I doubted our decision, moments where I thought I must be crazy to think we could make this work, and moments where I wanted to pull out or quit, but prayer always led me back into focus. The 60 days of escrow was a giant roller coaster ride of ups and downs, highs and lows, but every step of the way I just kept praying, asking for signs, and for direction from him, trusting the process, and trusting that if it was in his plan, it would become, and so it did. Of course I still don’t know the whole plan, we never will, and as the problems have already unfolded with the house, I imagine they are all a part of it, just another obstacle to overcome while maintaining my faith.
All in all what I have gotten most of the last year is the importance of keeping my focus on God, knowing that he will always be there to take care of me in the ways that truly matter. When I do this I don’t have a reason, no matter how big or small, to get super stressed out and obsessively worry, rather I pray. In addition, my ultimate goal and focus is to be as healthy as I can be, so that I can live the life HE planned for me, whatever that looks like. One thing is certain, my purpose is to serve him through serving others, and love him, by loving others as he would. I am so far from perfecting this, and I am so very flawed, and I will most likely be striving toward this every day for the rest of my life, but I am determined and committed to practicing it each and every day. A mentor once said, “IF you aren’t in a state of GROWTH, then you are in a state of DECAY, because there are only two directions. There is no such thing as STABLE”. I think the whole point of life is to be a little better today then you were yesterday, not only to yourself, but to everyone around you. Just my theory - I’m sticking to it.