Pop the champagne-- 2017 is on the way out!!!
Most of you know that I had my hardest year to date in 2017. Don't get me wrong, I made wonderful memories, but also experienced some big-time lows. My anxiety reached a whole new level. I felt worthless and stupid. I blamed God. I struggled with waves of emotion. I forgot where my worth came from. I lost sight of who I was and what I was doing. I let the opinions of others and the thoughtlessness define me. Looking back, I now know that in this disappointing time, I had a decision to make...I could spiral or I could rise. Sadly, for a brief time, I unknowingly chose to spiral.
During this time, I reached out to someone who I cared about and who I know at some point cared deeply for me. Sadly, they didn't respond. I waited, but the help I was hoping for never came. I didn't think much about it at the time. Of course, I was hurt, but I didn't learn until months later that this was a defining moment for me. Understand, it made me feel weak just to reach out. There were nights where I didn't know how much more I could take before I let such darkness and negativity overcome me. I am not going to lie, it absolutely would have if it weren't for a few saving graces.
1. Christ has always been my rock. No matter what adversity came my way, I always stood up tall and proud because I have tremendous faith in God. This year I did not have that faith for a majority of the year. No worries, I got it back recently! But negativity piled on negativity forced me into this box and I could not see my way out for a while. I know God has a definite plan though, and I also know that his divine intervention saved me in the nick of time.
2. My family never fails to remind me how loved I am. They show their love in multiple ways, but at the end of the day, love was one thing I really needed. They have been wonderful encouragers, and I know I did not make it easy on them at times. They know I love them just as much! Whether it was a simple text or a surprise visit...family always reminds you that you are not alone!
3. My friends. Sol, Sam, Patrick, Chris, and Justin to name a few. They chose to walk with me during this time, even when it got hard. Whenever I needed support, these guys showed up big time. Thank you for forming #teamcade!
The world is cruel and people can be, too. Surround yourself with God and build your faith by getting in the word. Satan wants nothing more than to make you feel isolated and alone. Case in point, we are in an age where technology is controlling us more and more every day. We don't like what we see in the mirror and we constantly strive to keep up this image online for our followers to see. We don't feel good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, popular enough, or strong enough. But, I've learned that perfection leads to isolation. I've also learned that we don't love or listen to our parents enough. We let the number of views our stories get determine our mood for the day. We forget to say thank you and we judge the common stranger. We also might drink too much on occasion and make stupid decisions. We gossip and spread rumors. We rely too much on others and become victimized by our friend's actions. We are flawed, but with all these flaws and self-doubt, we are fearfully and wonderfully made for a reason. We have the option to spiral or rise- both uniquely different routes, but both filled with tremendous lessons on life.
This year I spiraled and hated almost every minute of it. Now that the year is coming to a close I see what God was trying to teach me: you were born to rise but in order to rise you have to start at the bottom. I reached the bottom, believe me, and in this coming year...I will choose to rise! And, I have to know that if all the good in my life were to be taken away, God is still good. I cannot rely on people, even the ones who love me most, for my happiness. And I sure can't rely on the ones who don't. I must rely solely on HIM!
I don't think all my struggles will go away at the stroke of midnight. However, I do know that with the start of a new year comes the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. I don't have many expectations for this coming year, which may I add is a big year with added responsibilities and changes that come with graduation in May. I look forward to the excitement coming my way. The unknown, the new relationships, the lost relationships, and whatever else God has in store for me. Together with God... I will rise!
So, 2018...let's do this. I'll be bringing my new found faith in Christ, my wonderful relationships with friends and family, the life lessons I've learned and Taylor Swift's new album with me, but the rest of 2017...I'll be leaving you in the past!!
Happy New Year to each of you. May 2018 be a year on the rise!
--by grace through faith--
Southern and Thankful
I have always loved this time of year. From the holiday parties to the presents to the delicious food to the traditions, like the Christmas Eve service...It is such a wonderful time. Lots of love and laughter to go around for all, yet this year it has been different for me. I have still loved all the excitement and celebrations, but for me, this year, Christmas has been different.
Just when I thought I understood the depths of gratitude, 2017 came along and showed me up. In the coming week, I intend to recap the year, but I didn't realize how grateful this year has made me until the holiday season came around. When my Mom was begging me for a Christmas list I honestly had such a hard time coming up with much. I am not just saying that to sound humble, promise. I truly know that I have everything I could ever want in life. There is very little, if any at all, that I need. I did came up with a list of wants and popular items that are probably on everyone's list but in all honesty... I could go this whole Christmas without opening one gift. Not only do I have everything I need, but this year has shown me that some of the biggest blessings are not material possessions. I will be opening gifts, I am sure, but the point is I came to this realization that Christmas is so much more than the fun parties, the extravagant gifts, and the delicious food... Christmas is something more.
All the decorations, the mistletoe, the snow, the carols- if none of that was here, would you still celebrate Christmas... you know, for its true meaning? This is something I have asked myself over and over again. It's a hard question really, but I have decided that I definitely WOULD celebrate Christmas without all of these things. For the first time I not only understand how truly special and holy the birth of Jesus is, but I also understand how truly special the people and things already in my life are. I think understanding the importance of Jesus' birth and knowing how blessed I am has given me the best outlook I have ever had. For me, this Christmas will be one unlike any other.
Happiness does not come in a cardboard box. It is wonderful and beautiful to sit by your fire and gaze at all the Christmas decorations, as I am doing now, but if all of it went away, would you still celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ? Ask yourself that this year! Spend time with your loved ones, and if you can't be with friends or family, text or call them and show them love. We should do that every day, but especially on a day like Christmas. I know my friends and family mean more to me than they ever have in the past. We get so caught up in all of it that we often forget the reason for the season. We forget that on this day many years ago, in the stable where Mary gave birth to Jesus, that they had none of this. Be grateful for everything and everyone that makes this season bright, but don't forget to be thankful for the brightest of them all. You know, the birthday boy who saved our lives. I, this Christmas more than ever, know without a doubt that he saved my life. That is something I will celebrate and consider my BEST gift this Christmas.
Lots of love to you and yours. Christmas is something more...that is what I am thankful for.
May your day be joyful and bright... Merry Christmas to all!
Southern and Thankful
Blessed is an understatement when it comes to my life. Each and every day I am amazed by God's steadfast love. In return, I have claimed this space to show my thanks and whatever else comes along the way. A recent graduate from Texas Christian University who loves any creative insta post, all donuts, and dress pants that make you do a double take. I pray God has a grand purpose for me and I plan to get there with a little Southern and a lot of Thanks! Join me!