This week I turned twenty-five (😅😳). I’ve had this blog for eight years now, and it feels like just yesterday I was writing from the perspective of a 17 year old girl trying to understand the world around her. I love that I get to write and process life here as I grow up and share it with all of you in hopes that it might encourage you. I truly hope it does. Feeling alone in your experience is THE worst, and a burden is lifted when you meet someone who can understand even a little bit what you have been through. You don’t feel as crazy or isolated anymore. There is such a grace and kindness in connecting with someone like that. (and thanks for reading, friend!)
If you’ve been here awhile, then you might remember the two posts I wrote last year around my birthday: Birthdays Make Me Sad followed by Time to Bloom. Looking back now, it is clear that I was depressed around that time–which makes sense in light of the many heavy things going on personally in my life, family, and the world. This year has felt very different. It has been filled with SO MUCH GOOD. God has been especially kind to me these past few weeks, as he’s brought to my mind the ways He has grown me this year. I wanted to take time to reflect on some of the top ones here, as a way to look back and be reminded of God’s faithfulness.
The biggest place I have seen growth is in my trust in God. A few months ago, my roommate and I unexpectedly were in a position where we had very little time to find a place to move to, when we thought we had at least another year where we were currently living. I was stressed out to the max, as we had been riding a current of anxiety, restlessness, and heaviness for several months at this point. I was so ready for peace, but every time I almost grasped it, it vanished into a mist. It was exhausting running after what felt so unattainable. A couple days into our apartment search, Cadence found out about this organization called Apartment Life. We took a quick glance at their website and felt more peace in those few seconds than we had in MONTHS. It fit right in with things we had already been praying about. So we applied to be an Apartment Life team, meaning we’d live onsite at a complex, throw events for residents, and help build community among neighbors. Usually the process takes 6+ months to get into, but we were accepted within two weeks, and moved into our placement within a month and a half. We felt so overwhelmed by how God took care of us, but I also felt regret that I didn’t trust God when I didn’t know how it would turn out.
Doesn’t God promise to provide for us and give us what we need? YES.
So flash forward to now, and we discovered that our Apartment complex is being sold. This could mean we are done here and they will place us somewhere else, or we are done with Apartment Life all together, or we might (hopefully!) get to stay. Regardless, there is a lot of uncertainty about what will happen, and we have only been here six months. Yet, my heart feels so steady. I trust that God will take care of us. I can honestly say that I have zero anxiety about what will happen. I do not know the future, but God does. So what I have is today and the people He has placed in my life to love well. So that is what I will do.
The second thing I continue to see growth in (though it’s always just as scary), is facing conflict. Growing up I was a pretty passive aggressive kid. Ya know that friend that would give you the silent treatment? Yup, that was me–sorry about that. I would be lying if I said it is not still a temptation to act that way sometimes, but it’s not my go to method like it used to be (and it is also pretty ineffective anyways so I should just trash it). Through college and the years after, I have had some wonderful and difficult friendships that have allowed me to see how expressing hurt in a clear and kind way actually helps mature your relationship with that person. It brings understanding, depth, and healing (hopefully!). Being gracefully honest with someone is really hard, but SO worth it. Even if they don’t hear your hurt, you did the right thing in giving them the opportunity to apologize, instead of holding it against them in your heart. Bitterness changes you, closing you off to people, stealing your ability to trust and see the good in people. Forgiveness sets you free. God always encourages me to approach people with hurt instead of hiding it away. Do I hate it? Yes. Am I glad I did it every time? Most definitely. It is the way God designed us to function in relationship with others.
The third thing I have grown in this year is that I see my value as a child of God and I have found my confidence again. After enduring years of an abusive relationship, my self esteem and ability to trust any decision I made and trust what people said was true about me was a pile of ashes in my war-torn hands. I felt like I had lost myself. I did not know who I was; every choice was laced with mountains of anxiety. I felt trapped by my own mind. There was a constant loop going through my brain trying to discern what was a lie or manipulation and what was true. I desperately wanted to follow truth and was so scared of being deceived again without knowing it. As my trust in God has grown, my trust has also grown in my decisions, knowing that the Holy Spirit is inside of me. My trust in people has been restored as I recognize that people actually love me, see me, and value me, and don’t desire to use me for their own gain.
There’s much more that I could reflect on, but those are the three things that are at the forefront of what God has walked me through this year.
More than anything else, this year on my birthday, sadness was the farthest thing from my heart. I felt SO much gratitude for the insane amount of awesome people I get to call friends and family. I have my biological family and then I am blessed with endless bonus family, with cute kids I get to love and play tag with (seriously one of my FAVORITE things). There’s no possible way that I could look at my life and say that I am not loved, cherished, seen, enjoyed, or valued. I am honored to be the recipient of so much love and kindness. I thank God for it every day.
I pray that in the low moments that I would be able to continue to keep my mind on all of the good things God has given me and the wonderful people He has placed around me to love, support, rebuke, and have fun with me!
GOD IS SO GOOD!