I'm just going to say it. Mostly, because I think a lot of us either want to or already have.
2019 was hard. Like, really hard.
There were blessings, vacations and great Instagram pictures. Like, really great Instagram pictures.
I got a new job. I moved to a city I really love...one with professional sports teams and an international airport (those of you in the first few years of a news career will understand the significance). I went to Italy and ate my weight in handmade pasta. I successfully hosted a Friendsgiving. I learned to really love kale, y'all. There was a lot of good in this year. A lot.
But, man, there was a lot of tough. There were a lot of fetal-postured crying fights and runny nose phone calls to my mom. There were a lot of stomach drops, swift intakes of breath to brace for the next moment and heart sinks. In 2019, there were lots of things I realized weren't as I'd hoped they'd be. There were people who weren't who I thought they were.
I fell short of who I know I can be.
I felt lost. I felt disappointed. I felt alone. I felt like screaming. I did scream. A lot. At myself. At other people.
I took some really hard looks in the mirror in 2019. I saw some stuff that wasn't cute.
I spent a lot of time wishing I was cuter and then getting really mad at myself for not thinking I'm cute.
I got mad. I got sad. I felt insecure.
It's normal to go through valleys, but I think the valleys were a bit more dense and treacherous for me in 2019 than in recent years.
But on the third day of 2020, with a deep breath and a moment to figure out exactly how I feel about all that- all I can say is..."Okay."
All of that is okay. I survived, and now I'd like to spend 2020 finding the diamond that was created by all that rough. I've got some bruises, there are things that make me cry when I sit with them for too long and there are certain notifications I see on social media that make my heart drop.
I had to acknowledge within myself that posting quotes and Tweets about being over something and really doing the hard work of forgiving, healing and actually moving on are not the same. I had to acknowledge within myself that people don't always mean what they say and that they're not always reliable.
I was convicted, in a major way, about how ridiculously important it is to learn to be someone who is reliable on all fronts.
So, ya, 2019 was super hard.
However, I know my God is super mighty. You see, I think He knew 2019 was going to be tough, so I think He placed me in a city I really love, in a cute apartment with access to an International airport so I could get home when I really needed to. I think He knew my heart would need days in New Orleans with my best friends and weeks in Italy with my mom. He whispered it to me, actually. It's another post for another day and another topic, but I will tell you, God spoke to me clearly earlier this year and told me 2019 would not be a cake walk. And you know what? He stayed by my side the entire time. He never let me go.
When I ugly cried, when I wasn't sure, when my heart shook and when I felt alone...He held me by my hand, and He never let go.
So, what now?
I've got a new planner for 2020. I've already written my goals, reading list and important birthdays for the year. I'm armed with stickers and hopes and faith, and I'm ready.
2019 made me stronger. It taught me to endure. It taught me to take a deep breath and talk it out. It taught me to apologize. It forced me to own my human messiness and to validate it, learn from it...grow it, even. Grow it to something beautiful.
So, 2020 will be about channeling all of that...glowing in it. So, I'm going to start with the source.
January, for me, will be about setting the pattern and routine of truly digging in and going after God. His Word says that when we seek Him, like really seek Him, He will always show up. I believe and know that to be true.
I've done 21 Days of Prayer with Church of the Highlands for years. Even though I'm not in Alabama anymore, I plan to be huddled up with my Bible in my living room at 6 AM for three weeks...pouring in and praying with everything I have. (Please send me your requests).
I'm going to do a round of Whole30 because I think a break from wine and emotion-fueled gelato eating will be good for me.
I'm going to get quiet, read more books, write more words and try to infuse kale in more dishes.
I think it's really easy to get lost, y'all. I really do. I think it's really easy to deprive your spirit without noticing. So many things in this life get loud when they're suffering. Babies, an empty stomach, your pet, etc. But your spirit, when you don't take care of it, gets quiet. It won't fight for your attention. It won't beg you to love it better, but I promise you will feel it when you don't. You will absolutely feel it when you don't.
So, I'm going to tell you what my momma told me before I got on a plane back to St. Louis after Christmas. Take care of yourself, okay? Take really good care of yourself.
Spend time in the places that make you feel whole. Fuel your body well. Treat it with respect. Drink water. Read books. Write letters to people you care about. If you think you deserve better, you most likely do. Stop apologizing for not being okay with being mistreated. Start apologizing when you're wrong. Don't let fear have a say in your story. Don't stay because leaving looks intimidating. Forgive, and then do the hard work that it takes to actually move on. You will be okay.
Don't forget to get quiet sometimes and ask God to show up. He will. He will always show up.
Whatever 2019 looked like...however it broke you or built you, you're here. Every inch of you made it through, and you're another chapter richer.
So, keep going. Lift your chin, and keep going.
With Love & Extra Glitter,