As you have now come to a close, I think back to the months we spent together and the challenges that I faced along the way. You brought many things to me: joy, rejection, new chapters, and closing doors. 2015 marked the beginning of certain challenges. Constantly feeling inadequate and lonely. Constantly pitying myself and resenting the place I was in. 2015 began that lonely chapter that I am glad to say, you finally finished. You were the year that I learned from those challenges and faced my troubles head on. You were the year of conclusions and the year of reconciliation. Thank you for an amazing year of learning new things, experiencing more, and reaching new places in life.
You brought lots of travels. New York City post New Years began the year with strong memories of The Rockettes and Schmackary’s cookies. April took us to San Francisco and Pescadero where we explored the West Coast for the first time! May brought us from Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Rehobeth Beach, Deleware. Countless trips to Morgantown filled us with tons of sweet memories. Not to mention our quick trips to Pittsburgh that gave us a change of scenery. A Tennessee wedding in Rockwood was the perfect end to the summer. Come September, I took my Senior Trip to who-knows-where North Carolina. I will always remember these memories.
You brought me new friendships. You introduced me to a community of Christian girls that have become my closest friends. You provided me with two role models that I am blessed to call my small group leaders. You placed me into their care and engulfed me in their love. You inspired me to seek out new people, new places, and new possibilities. You reminded me that life with Him, while joyful and full of blessings, is no walk in the park. We all experience times of sorrow, times of darkness, and times of confusion. They have showed me how one can walk through these places with feet on the ground and eyes fixed on heaven. Thank you for these women.
However, you also brought tragedy. You brought the ending of a relationship and the loss of love. You brought my family into a dark chapter that felt hopeless and eternal. You brought long nights full of mourning, followed by days of confusion and resentment. You brought unworthy embarrassment followed by confusing explanations. You brought tear stained eyes and too many questions. You brought awkward conversations and unexplainable anger. You brought hatred.
Yet, soon enough, you brought healing and friendships that would rekindle the hope that had been lost. You brought us nearer to God and brought a new dependence on His grace. You brought us closer together and made us more grateful for what we still had. You brought endless prayers that provided some peace amidst the storm. You brought understanding, closure, and newness. And before we knew it, those troubling times became a distant memory. While still a real scar, it was now just part of the story. You witnessed a miracle. God took her broken pieces and breathed life back into them. She gained new confidence and a new intimacy with Christ. Along with it, you brought her new opportunities. New places, new people, and new adventures soon await her. Thank you.
You reminded me, often, that loneliness is a state of mind. Some of the toughest obstacles I faced this year were loneliness and rejection. Rejection from friendships and rejection from praise. You reminded me of the hypocrisy that appears gilded and sweet on the outside, but tastes bitter and rotten. You often tempted me with pride and recognition. While you continued to deny me these rotten glories, they soon taught me to take a closer look at the things that appear so pretty. You brought to light the parts of myself that I prefer to hide. From my need for approval to the pleasure of self pity, you exposed me to myself and, with God’s help, finally allowed peace and reconciliation. Thank you.
You brought me indescribable joy. You brought those legendary Thursday date nights with my favorite person. You brought me deeper conversation, richer memories, and a sweeter relationship. From mini golf to sunrises, breakfast dates to movie nights. From milkshakes, card games, and beach adventures immersed in endless laughter. You brought us closer. You saw my mom get a snapchat, which provides me with a smile each and every day. You watched my big sister graduate, which fills me with so much pride, love, and admiration. You saw me finally start my blog after years of being terrified by the thought of putting myself out there like that, for all to see. You watched me grow closer and closer to God, learning to trust Him with every morsel of my being. You watched me fail over and over, but, on a good day, you watched me pick myself back up to try again. Thank you for it all.
2016, you taught me many valuable lessons and brought me many new experiences. I learned that resenting the situation I am in will do nothing to create a better future. I learned that no one can make me feel “less than” without my consent. I learned that, while I may not see it right in front of me, there are endless possibilities for growth. I learned that I am truly loved by more people than I know and I learned that the places I am have a purpose in my journey. You brought me understanding. You brought me lessons. You brought me deeper.
Thank you for a great year.