Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 - You Have Made Me A Beautiful Fighter...

2013 has been one of those years. It hasn’t been bad, and it hasn’t been great. It’s been good though. Hard but good. Words that come to mind for this year are ‘beautiful fighter.’ I feel like that’s what I have learned to be, and that’s the kind of people I have met. I have met a lot of beautiful fighters.There's been the single mum who has battled crazy things - with the tough exterior but the heart of gold... There's been the girl who has walked through family trials and relationship struggles, and yet, kept reaching out to the people she needed for help. There's been the one who is still fighting for the wrong things, but has such a beautiful heart and will get there one day... There's been the one who battled cancer and won - and the journey isn't over but never have I known such a beautiful fighter as her.... And I could go on for days about the fighters in my life, but you get it... Everyone is fighting for something, or someone. Everyone is walking a journey we know little or nothing about - but we can be blessed by their journey if we choose to enter in.

I've learnt the beauty of community this year, and how truly, that is what church is ALL about. If we’re not living life with the people we’re in ‘church’ with, then there is really no point. Community is essential to our lives, so sometimes that means willingly walking into a room full of unknown people. I did that this year – and the reward is sweet – getting to know a whole bunch of people, and yet even without knowing them that well, being able to discuss the hard issues and hear their testimonies.

I've learnt the beauty, the strength, and the heartbreak of love this year. I have learned of unconditional, stubborn love that holds on beyond all reasoning, all understanding, all sense. I've learnt that even when it’s love; it doesn't mean it is always going to work. I learnt that sometimes what we think is love, actually is not, because we don’t destroy the people we love. I have learned that love truly is wanting the best for someone, even if that means walking away from them so they can have the best for them.

Moving on has been a theme of this year; realizing that I can’t hold onto broken pieces hoping they’ll somehow fix themselves. Sometimes it’s necessary to break our own hearts by walking away. I've learnt that telling ourselves to move on will never work, but continuously making the choice to lay down our desires for Jesus’ Truth will always help us to move forward. Sometimes moving on looks like taking tiny baby steps, just taking one step, and then another and then another. We’re not always going to know where we’re moving to, or even why we have to walk away from what we’re walking away from. But when it’s time to move, we’ll know, and our job is to be obedient to that call, and let Jesus carry us when we can’t take one more step.

For the first time in my life, I've been confident this year. I've been BRAVE. I've used 20 seconds of insane courage to take a deep breath, walk into a room, and ask him for coffee. I've mustered up every ounce of bravery in my bones to open my mouth and say the words that needed to be said. I've fought for myself, and I've loved myself more than any other time in my life. It’s been a red lipstick wearing, Beyoncé booty-shaking kinda year – and that’s been pretty fun.

But loving myself happened for a reason. I got sick this year. It’s been almost a year full of pain, illness, and tests, and I still don’t have the answers. I've been told the likelihood of me having endometriosis is pretty high, and that’s been a frustrating journey. I've had to learn not only to treat my body right, but to rely on Jesus to get me through the physical pain, and the emotional pain knowing that there might come a day when as much as I want to have a child – I may not be able to. I have more tests coming up in the beginning of January to figure out what else is going on in this body of mine, and I’m a little bit scared… The thing is, being sick has been good for me though. Because I have learned that God is Sovereign. I have learned that He is present. I have learned that when I am weak, He will always be strong. I have learned that though ‘my health may fail and my spirit may grow weak, God remains the strength of my heart, and He will be mine forever’ (psalms 73:26).

So that’s where this year ends. I've reached breaking point too many times to count, and yet I've found that breaking point has been building me into something far stronger than I ever dreamed. I've become a beautiful fighter… Not that I actually feel that beautiful or strong the majority of the time – but that’s the beauty of hindsight – I can see it now when I look back.

I am excited for 2014. I am nervous for what’s ahead. I feel like now, right now, I am on the brink of change. I feel like there is a season of flying ahead – and although that’s exciting, it’s also entirely scary… Because maybe nothing will change. Or maybe everything will change for the worse. I don’t actually know. But I know my God is enough. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know the God who holds it. And He is not safe or predictable, but He is good. He is Faithful. He’ll catch me when I fall. He’ll heal me when I break. And that’s what I need.

2013 was the year of pursuit, pursuit of Jesus, pursuit of the God rather than the good. I believe 2014 will be the year of new – new people, places, cultures and experiences. 2014 will also be the year of learning – learning new skills, learning of new authors/ books, music/ artists, & learning new cultural things such as languages, foods etc. And finally, I believe 2014 will be the year of responsibility – learning to be more responsible for myself financially, emotionally, and spiritually. And ultimately I believe both this year and next year have been/ will be the year of Love and Bravery. I pray those two lifestyles continue to be part of me forever.

My favorite quotes from this year are:

Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different? – C.S. Lewis

The strongest thing you might ever learn to do is write your own love letters and build your own dang house. – Hannah Brencher

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. – C.S. Lewis

My favorite Scriptures that I kept coming back to this year are:

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
He is mine forever”.– Psalm 73:26

“I begged the Lord three times to liberate me from its anguish; and finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me”. – 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

My highlights of this year are:

  • Going to Europe for almost 3 weeks at the beginning of 2013 with my family – hectic trip but so beautiful and so much fun!

  • Going Gluten- Free due to intolerance – it’s been hard work but I’ve learned to cook a lot more, and try foods I previously would have turned my nose up at. 

  • Writing my first book!!

  • Reaching the halfway mark of my uni degree (only 2 more years to go!).

  • Figuring out a couple more of my dream jobs (and actively taking steps toward them).

  • Building relationship with different members of my family :)

Friends, I pray that there is no sadness as you finish 2013, only joy looking back at what you have overcome, and excitement for the future. Whether you spend NYE with friends and family, or by yourself, I pray that there is peace in your soul, fire in your heart, and light in your eyes. I dont know what you're leaving behind, but I do know the best is yet to come. It may not look or feel the way you planned, but baby, there are good things in store for you. 

p.s. For every lonely one out there on NYE, I'm thinking of you, beloved. You're not forgotten, not now or ever. You're going to be okay, sweetheart. You. are. going. to. be. okay. Keep fighting for yourself. You are loved. 

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