Whew! What a year!
2017 was not for the faint or the uncommitted, that’s for sure.
In fact, if I didn’t know better I would think it was one of the most pointless and wasted years of my life. If I didn’t believe in a higher plan, I’d probably just go ahead and call it a total wash.
Everything this year was a struggle. My blog. My writing. My creating. My dreaming. My parenting. My planning. Even my very breath was a struggle. And not just because I got pregnant halfway through. I had to do daily yoga exercises just to stay breathing for most of this year. My body went through things I did not understand, things I thought I had overcome and yet could not explain. Nothing major, but then again, nothing major seemed to happen this year.
Ok, so I just made another human in this blooper of a year, but still. I digress. Nothing major that I HAD PLANNED happened. None of my big dreams happened. None of my really deep desires were fulfilled. Nothing I had expected to happen this year actually HAPPENED and I am not at all where I saw myself a year ago.
Earlier this year I met with seven other women in my home and we started a course called Arkitekt, where we dove into the life-changing deep end of wholehearted living and authenticity and we each found a word that would help guide our individual soul work in this season.
My word was: UNCONDITIONAL.
Yeah. Kinda boring, I thought. But that’s the one that kept coming to me. Then I began to see it…everywhere. And it wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be. Of course, my first thought of this word had been unconditional ‘love.’
I thought that perhaps God was going to teach me unconditional love this year. Sounds safe enough, right?? Seems warm and fuzzy and beautiful enough.
While I think that unconditional love is absolutely life changing and amazing in itself, it turned out to be so much more than that for me. I had so much more to learn about this word…
In the beginning of the year it was unconditional “trust”. Trust in something bigger. God. A higher plan. A deeper calling. “Trust” that even though I had said “no” to a little girl’s dream, I had said “yes” to something bigger. Something better. Something that ultimately I could not possibly see or comprehend, I could only surrender to it.
And so I did. It was one of the most excruciating decisions I’ve ever made, and yet one of the most fulfilling.
Later, I began to work on my blog and learned what it means to persevere. I mean, I had worked on it before. I had redesigned and revamped it many times before and this time I even hired the best team of professionals to help me. We were going to re-brand and monetize this thing so that I could finally start making an income and maybe at the very least it could just start supporting itself. Seems like an easy enough thing for PROFESSIONALS, right??
I could never possibly tell you all the crap I have encountered in this process. I could never tell you all the times I opened up my screen and it conveniently began re-starting for 2,000 hours, or my password had been changed for the 900th time or I couldn’t remember it anymore, or my pictures were STILL too big and I had run out of space and we had to add more space, but first we had to update WordPress, but we couldn’t update because we had RUN OUT OF SPACE. Then there was the time I was locked out of my blog for 3 months. Yes. Ladies and gentlemen, I was LOCKED OUT of very own blog. This of course was the same 3 months that I was laid up in bed with all-day morning sickness, and then when the skies finally cleared and I was finally *able* to write again, I couldn’t even get INTO it, because our home network had somehow at that exact time decided it was a foreign URL and decided to block it.
All that to say, I learned to get reeally creative with my gifts during this time. I learned to fall in love with good old Word documents, and to back everything up as I go. I developed a love/hate relationship with the ‘undo’ button. But mostly, I learned to persevere and to give my gifts ‘unconditionally’ to the world, no matter how hard it was or who was listening or who had stopped ‘following’.
I learned to believe, unconditionally, in me and this blog and this gift that God had given me. I learned to keep on going, when I had no idea WHERE or HOW I was going to get there.
Somewhere around this time, I learned what it meant to unconditionally give and not expect something in return. This summer I poured in to my kids and my family in ways I hadn’t done before. I planned trips and fun days at the lake and said “no” to everything that was not absolutely beneficial and essential to ALL of us. My husband and I both poured into his business like we had never done. We grew, we hired, we expanded, all while having zero signs that any of it would pay off. We invested more time and energy into my health plan/education than we had in years, yet we often saw more setbacks than success and experienced more frustration than moving forward.
I did have two glorious weeks of radiant health and vibrant living while I was at Hippocrates Health Center in Florida earlier this summer and while I am super grateful for my time there, even that did not come easy, Even that came at a very high cost, not only in terms of the money we spent in getting me there but also in terms of the time and mental work I had put into it. 14 days of isolation and being away from my babies was a stretch for this Mama, to say the least, and definitely not easy.
But then again, NOTHING about this year was easy.
A few months later I got pregnant and horribly sick as I usually do and I learned all over again what it means to dig deep…past the physical pain and discomfort, into love, into faith, into hope. I learned to lean in and to unconditionally show up even when it hurts. Cuz life is worth it.
I learned that no matter what comes, I can always have hope. Hope that when life sucks and things look shitty, there are better days ahead and it won’t always be like this. It won’t always be this hard and I won’t always feel this way. I can have hope that life changes and with it comes beautiful new tomorrows.
Here’s to that. Here’s to diving into the deep end where you can’t breathe and you don’t have time to call for backup. You can only commit. You can only surrender and unconditionally commit yourself to the journey that God has you on. You can only trust, that deep unconditional trust that He has you and he holds you through all of it. You can only hope, that deep down knowing hope that no matter who or what or when or where, you will get there. You will get where you need to go.
If not in this year, you will get there in the next. If not in this life, it will be there for you in the life thereafter. This we know.
Some things are eternal and will always be, no matter what. Other things require our sacrifice, our determination and UNCONDITIONAL commitment to them.
2017 was one of those things.
My sweet friends, if this is you and you are coming out of a hard year like me where everything is a struggle, take hope my darlings. It won’t always be this way. It won’t always be this season or this weather or this day or this year. Everything can change. With each new breath, comes a new chance at life. It won’t always feel this stupid or this pointless or this hard.
Let’s keep showing up unconditionally…for the good, the hard, the mundane and the awful.
Let’s keep braving the new and the unknown wilderness and “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9
To new beginnings (and new babies!)
To hope and love and unconditional living
And whatever comes