This has been a long year for me. I’ve been witness to so many accomplishments and a few firsts for my family. A couple things blindsided me and caused me to shift in ways I did not think I would have to. A few things went wrong and some things did not change as I had hoped this time last year. Through it all I am still grateful. I learned a lot this year. I learned about people, relationships, family, and most important myself. I would like to share the top 5 things I’ve learned in #2016 in no particular order:
1. I learned that God gave us a guide to life and relationships by the seasons he created. Spring a time for new things to be revealed. Lots of rain in preparation for plenty of sunshine. A time to find appreciation for all of the seasons. Summer a time of sun, fun, passion and enjoying life. Fall a time for things to turn and prepare to fall off, gentle night breezes, unpredictable climate changes. Winter a time for thinking, reflection and spending time with those who matter most. I learned that all relationships develop by seasons. Friendships also. Some seasons may last longer than others. A friendship may be in Summer for several years and all of a sudden Fall comes unexpectedly and by Winter they are just someone that you used to be friends with. Most of the time this won’t be because they have done anything terrible to you and you dislike the person, the season has just changed. I don’t even believe we have control over the seasons. It’s like God places them in our lives and when their purpose is complete the season changes. In some cases a friend of many years can turn into a stranger because your paths in life no longer share similar roads and this year I learned that it is okay. Fighting the inevitable will never work. I think this can be applied to any relationship in our lives. I now know that when I meet people I need to enjoy Summer because I never know when the season will change.
2. I learned that grief has no deadline. I always knew that but I actually lived it this year. This year may have been one of the most difficult years emotionally for me since my son died in 2004. Although, 2004 literally seems like a lifetime ago in my heart it will always be yesterday. I always think of Jarez. There has not been a day that has went by in 12 years that I have not thought about him. 12 years is a long time to think of someone everyday with no chance of hearing their voice or touching their face ever again. My baby boy turned two this year and he is the same age Jarez was when he died. Two and a half to be exact. On my baby’s birthday I could not pull it together. I cried half the day just thinking about Jarez and how his little life was shortened. Eventually, God allowed me to enjoy my baby’s birthday but it took some prayer. It was that day that I realized that I should not be ashamed of my emotions, ashamed of my grief, it has no deadline.
3. I learned that life is moving fast with no brakes! I turned 34 years old this year. All I can think about is how next year I will be 35 and wow where did the time go? I know for many years depression and fear has kept me in a bubble. I did not realize time is passing by. My #Troops are growing up on me. My oldest boy is 19 years old now! Wow. I remember when I was pregnant at 14 years old these are the times I daydreamed about. I could have never imagined this. I learned that 14 turned into 24 real quick and 20 anything turns into 30 something very fast! No wonder God doesn’t operate in time as we do. For him its all a blink of an eye and I think the older we get we develop that same sensory about life.
4. I learned that it’s not always everyone else. Its me! I still have healing to do and it affects my interactions with others. I was able to do a lot of self reflection this year and looked at myself from outside myself if that makes sense. Not to beat myself up by any means but as a way of making myself better for the next half of my life. I looked at my childhood and some of the things that I lived through that at the time appeared normal and was no big deal. It was there that I stopped and realized that the father I adore so much God rest his soul was an addict. I looked at my mom’s role as a woman, mother and a wife and I empathized with her for having to choose her marriage to an addict or her children. She chose us! Even though I was very close with my dad I could not help but look at how our relationship and my expectations of him shaped the relationships I have had with men in my past. I learned that I have allowed people to treat me with far less respect than I deserved for so long that my heart gradually has built a wall around itself and it is going to take some work to restore what is behind the barrier. So many experiences I attracted to myself that were hard lessons I had to learn. This year I felt satisfied with what my 34 years have taught me and now I can take the time to heal. I can forgive those who hurt me and most importantly forgive myself.
5. I learned that I still need God! Not that I ever thought I wouldn’t need him but this year I really see that there is not one thing in my life that I will be able to do without him. Not one. Not wake up, not walk to my car, not get to work, not make dinner, not go to sleep. Everything I do in my life will always require his blessing and the moment I don’t receive his blessing on something I need to stop and have a talk with God. God blessed me so much this year. I had the courage to publish my blog and share my ideas with the world. I was able to see my oldest son get two diplomas this year. A high school diploma and an Associates degree. I was able to get my first job as a Licensed Social Worker and prove to myself something that God already knew. I learned that God believes in me more that I believe in myself. I learned that I need him now more than ever as I juggle being a full time Social Worker, Mother, and Woman of God. I look forward to see what blessing are waiting for me in #2017!
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who abides in me while I abide in him produces much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.