Happy New Year Everyone! So far 2018 has been very busy for us with a getting back to real life after the holiday week of Christmas and hockey, then my sister’s wedding, and sadly my parents house fire. We always knew this past weekend would be our true new year feel: goal planning, calendars, workout plans. But with all the events of the last few weeks it was busier than even expected. Throughout all this activity though I have spent a lot of time thinking about this post and what to say about 2017.
This year took me on an incredible journey that led to experiences I never expected to have…. ever. As a lover of self help books, passion for learning, and an interest in challenging the norm to get the most out of life, a year of personal growth would normally be welcomed. But this wasn’t the kind you want. In 2017 core identities of mine were rocked: wife, friend, sister, daughter. Buoys that keep me afloat were no longer stable like my confidence or my career, even my dreams. It was the sort of thing that hours spent in prayer were not just for your intention – but to actually pray to feel hope that everything will be ok. As a mover and shaker who trusts in taking action, doing, or planning for stability and comfort- I found myself often frozen in place and at a loss for what to do. These things couldn’t be fixed – I had one choice: fall into the arms of God and just hang on. And you know what – I didn’t just survive, I thrived.
In 2017 I witnessed the power of God by letting go of myself. Conviction is part of the fabric of my being…. when I committed to something, when I believed something there was no changing it, there was no going back. Certain aspects of my world that were decided upon were committed for life – period. Anything that threatened that existence did not belong in my world and I would promptly remove it. This year I had to let go of it all, so I would actually let God in…. and to let go meant to be reduced to what felt like a little lump of clay (luckily to be molded later). This was not who I was – I did not give-up…..I did not give in…. I would just keep pushing towards what was right. Yet for the first time ever it was actually easy to give up and let go because there was no other choice. I wish I could say I understood and I chose to let God in….. but the reality was how lost and in pain I was in, giving up was my last hope. So I made a plea to God: I will give up and just give it all to you to solve – besides, how could it get any worse anyway.
Well God took that offer and changed my life. He healed my marriage, he healed my heart, he healed relationships, and he began to reveal the incredible plans he has for my life. There really is no way to describe it. Every aspect of my world – every dark little corner of my life was touched and transformed. There was healing, there was forgiving, there was rebuilding, and at the root of it all was the most intense joy and peace. How… really how could the same ingredients of my life that had been literally breaking me – be the same stuff God used to bring me true happiness. The things He called to my heart to do, that made no sense to me, worked (and let me tell you, he dropped the instructions directly in my lap – there was no confusion). The prayers I prayed were answered and with solutions that weren’t even conceivable – but oh so very perfect. My heart and soul were made whole – and yet the make up of my world isn’t that drastically different, but how I view them and live my life are….. and just like that I wondered if this is the power of God, why wouldn’t I come to him first for everything?
God transformed my whole world and I am constantly seeking for ways to share the details of this story as a source of healing and help to others. But in the mean time there are three strong truths that I wanted to share here from 2017 that I will be taking into 2018:
Prayer is so so powerful. This year I learned the power of prayer: if you ask God to reveal himself He will and it is indescribable. And keep in mind prayer with quiet time or adoration is vital. It is the difference between having a connection and true unity, but I also learned that prayer is a relationship with God and you can do it all day long. I love my time in mass and some of my traditional tools – saints cards, prayer journal, the Sacraments – but it is also just about talking to Him. Talking while at work or driving the car…. talking when your happy and grateful for the day…. talking when your a little lost or down…. and talking when your mad. God wants a true relationship with his people, and heck – he created us – so go ahead he can take it – SAY IT ALL. Be honest… be raw….. be real…. I sat in the adoration chapel this year fuming with God about where I found myself in this life….. I was mad, but still I came to Him. Prayer can and will change everything and I will never take it for granted again.
Doubt….fear…resistance…. these are things that I lived with as part of those convictions. THIS was the type of person I am and my life is going to be like THIS – was how I lived. I thought that stemmed from being a strong and grounded person who knew what I wanted and would not settle for less. That is a lie….. those things that ruled my life were because I was too afraid if I did let go of whatI thought life should look like everything would be ruined. Fear ruled, especially this year, until I gave everything to God and he required that I go down paths that were not of my choosing, not what I saw for my life, yet those are the very things that changed everything. I was a afraid of things being messy, because I was afraid to not have what I thought was best. Things were messy this year and now they are better than I could have ever imagined before – on a good day. So guess what? I am not so afraid of the messes anymore – in fact it makes a beautiful story. And knowing things worked out, even when going against everything I thought was right….. I am in wonder over the power of possibility (looking at you 2018).
Finally I have come to realize the amount of pain humans can with stand and still be walking around upright is huge. There were days I desperately needed to be still while hiding away but I couldn’t because I had to show up for the parts of my life that were necessary. It probably ended up being a good thing: getting up, getting ready, and putting on a smile is important to survival, but I also know the scary loop of things that were constantly stalking my brain as I tried to be “normal”. It has me constantly wondering what people could be walking around feeling: scared, lost, despairing – yet life demands they hide it away. Being kinder to everyone, cutting folks a break, giving the benefit of the doubt – you could be making a huge impact without knowing it. We are all human and we are all fragile at sometime, I will be keeping that in my mind a little extra this year. Give grace – its the most powerful gift and it is free.
2017 was scary, sad, overwhelming, and it was also beautiful, exciting, motivating…. and in all my 32 years I have never felt so hopeful about what life could bring. Or even a little crazier, the beauty that is just waiting to be discovered behind the messy parts. Of course I will still have goals, make plans, and chase after what I am hopeful in my life – but I will also remember when things don’t go the way I thought, its actually an opportunity to see God work directly in my life and maybe not everything falling apart, but falling into place.
Wishing you all a happy and blessed New Year!
2 thoughts on “2017”
Wow Jackie- 2018 will certainly be a great year with the foundation of rock you have started to build. Remember that God has plans and your mission is to seek those plans. As always, your Dad will be right along side of you- rooting you on. Gonna be a great year. 2018 has already stated with a wonderful family celebration! Friends helped us celebrate a marriage and helped us realize how important family and friends really are in God’s plans and our world.
And this is where I got my silver lining seeking ways…. thank you Dad- you are exactly right!!! Excited to see how it plays out!! ❤️