I told Dan the other day, “2017 was a rough year for me.”
And I meant it. Right away in January 2017 I spent the first month of our marriage holed up in my office writing a book in 30 days. It was hard, tiring work because of the stress of getting out the words, the rawness of sharing vulnerably, and the exhaustion because I was also working full time.
The last day of the month, the day I finished the book, we found out we were expecting a baby. The next few weeks I didn’t feel well, lots of cramping and exhaustion. In the first week of March I left my job at Life Teen and the next day found out we were miscarrying. It was also the start of Lent. It took my body all of Lent to complete the miscarriage. A passion and suffering all my own.
The middle of the year was filled with me juggling grief, and the transition and pressure of working for yourself from home. My days were filled with bursts of activity until about 3pm, when I would find a spot on the couch and wait for Dan to come home a couple hours later. I would be excited to see him but also emotional, so we would fight sometimes. There were lots of highs and lows. Also lots of therapy. Lots of self-care.
Late Summer we started discerning a move to California. Many stressful weeks later, we made the final decision and started the sad process of packing up and saying goodbyes. And now the last two months I’ve again been dealing with change, wrestling with the loneliness of not having all my friends of the last 6 years. Adjusting to a new city. Finding a grocery store, a post office, a coffee shop where I feel a little less of a stranger every time I go.
It was a rough year for me. Here we are at Christmas time, here we are about to turn the page to 2018. And I can’t help but look back at this last year and also think, “man, what a great year.”
You see, there are two sides to every coin and I really believe that right alongside of suffering and stress we can also see glory and growth and some of the best times. The good shines even brighter in the midst of the muck. There is a deep joy separate from the feeling (or lack thereof) of happiness.
2017 was the year we weren’t planning a wedding anymore! We could just enjoy being married! Living together! Cooking dinner and watching too much TV and making to-do lists and dreaming of the future. We went to lots of happy hours, sipping cocktails and picking at appetizers…. we rode bikes and walked around the mall and laughed. We laughed a lot.
The healing part of grief is called “re-organization” and it’s the part where you want to up-end your life and do something new. So I dyed my hair blonde, got a new tattoo, and joined OptaVia and lost 40 pounds. And Dan lost 40 pounds. And every morning we woke up exploding with energy. The long hot days of the desert summer were perfect for lying in the pool with my sister.
Living in the same apartment complex as your best friends and family members was a luxury and a gift that was not lost on me. We had random dinner parties and went camping, and played cards and exchanged baked goods on the weekends.
Dan and I had the best first year of marriage. All our skills of communication and problem solving were put to the test. Our pride and selfishness is slowly, slowly, beginning to rub away the more our wills stubbornly grate up against each other. We can read each other’s thoughts and anticipate the other’s needs. I discovered that in the worst of fights when all I want to do is stomp out of the house, I simply need to hold his hand. The touch melts me and my cold heart softens to him again.
Moving to a new city where we only have each other has been a bonding experience for us. We can’t wait to see each other at the end of each day. I tell him what new things I did. He tells me everything about work. On the weekends we revel in the ability to rest with little to do. We still watch too much TV. We still laugh a lot.
I’ve started a health coaching business that’s all my own and I absolutely love it. It brings me to life to walk one on one with my clients and to be there to celebrate their victories and commiserate over their defeats. I know it has helped me to learn new skills and grow in my patience, persistence, and having a tough skin.
I can’t wait for 2018 because every year things just get better!! As I face more challenges, I grow. As I struggle, I am more aware of the pockets of light. All is such a gift, every part of it. Everything is grace. I wouldn’t have had this year any other way. It was the best worst year of my life, I loved it.
You Are Enough
Don’t ever forget that okay? You are beautiful and precious and deserve good things — and I can’t tell you that enough! Look I even dedicated a side-bar-box-thing to it. God has a plan and a purpose for your life and He died and rose again because He wants to spend forever with you! Okay, read on. Important reminder over.
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“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:14
Don’t be fooled about my productivity though. When I say my “most pressing things” I’m talking about nesting. Which is a very. real. thing.
I’m very grateful… I tell myself as lunch burns it’s way back up my esophagus and I pop another Tums. Hoping the daily limit on those is more of a gentle suggestion than a rule.
Since the place holds so much magic for us, I knew I wanted to take pregnancy announcement photos at Disneyland