Welcome to 2019, friends! Can you believe how quickly 2018 came to a close? I certainly can’t. There were so many things on my list to work on, finish up or create. Let me just be upfront and tell you… I didn’t get through half of them. And not for lack of trying, but for some reason 2018 was just a drudgy year.

Before we jump into that though, I want to share my “word for 2019” with you. Transparency. I want to bare parts of my heart, even when it is painful. Even when it’s confusing and most importantly when it is scaring me. The entire year of 2018 I battled with myself to “get it together” and be great. Worst idea ever. I needed help and I had no idea who to talk to or how to get from under myself. I found it hard to do absolutely anything but I smiled anyway. I’m not sure that was helpful. I needed to call my girls and ask for them to drop it all and come sit with me on the floor in the living room and just listen to me pour it out and sift through it. Together. If I learned nothing else in 2018, it’s that I can’t adequately help others if I’m untouchable. It’s time to celebrate the fact that your true friends will not only celebrate your harvest, they will help you PLANT it.

So in honor of my goal to be more transparent, let me share some of my 2018 battles.

  • January: Bone infection and major surgery that left me incapacitated for 3 months. If you know me, then you know that I abhor feeling weak and not being able to do for myself. Not only was I unable to even move by myself but I essentially had a catheter that went into my heart for daily injections of meds. If you bumped me the right way, that could have been it for me. Not to mention that my doctor is concerned that if I continue to have problems, the best route will be amputation. No thanks.
  • February: I announced that I would be writing a book to be released in 2019. Up to that point, I had completed a portion of my outline and had started on the first few chapters. I was constantly adding ideas and snippets to my draft. After the announcement? Nothing. Nada. Zip. I would open my computer and stare at the screen. I have always enjoyed writing and typically can pull something out with no issue. Not anymore. I have had writer’s block like you wouldn’t believe! I have slowly been crafting the new direction of the book but that has taken more time than I’d care to share. This has been one of the most humbling experiences because I feel like a failure.
  • March: I launched the podcast, fell right back into my crazy schedule, realized I’d gained a ton of weight (read that as I was HUGE) and was forced to re-evaluate some friendships. There is nothing harder or more painful than feeling like you are trying to balance life and someone is constantly poking you in the shoulder. Like their main goal is to see you come up short. In the end, I walked away from friendships that I had hoped would last forever but looking back I realize that the friendships had grown stale long before and we were all holding on for memories sake. Sometimes it’s best to care for someone enough to not call back and find out why they don’t want to be your friend. Clearly there is already enough on their plate. Give them the grace to focus on their preferred meal. It’s not personal. It’s growth.
  • April: Hit a rut mentally at my job and I haven’t gotten out of it yet. I love my job but I need something else. Been there before? I’m sure that you have. In honor of full disclosure, I struggled to find a job after Rob and I got married. It was the most draining and frustrating process I have ever endured. Being told over and over that you’re just not enough, you begin to believe the lie. Thankfully, I am reminded that God has provided above and beyond. With or without a paycheck. I’m good. Doesn’t mean that I’m not still looking for ways to change my employment trajectory though. So, if you’re hiring…hit your girl up! Lol
  • May-July: Began the groundwork for a huge project for AFGT and I figured that we were on the uptick and that I had gotten back into my groove. No such luck. I think that I became overwhelmed by how MUCH my vision involves. I’m a big picture person. I know how it is supposed to end but the steps to get it there bores me. I can’t lie. It does. Once I’ve made a decision that I want something done and I want to do it a certain way, that’s it. Miss me with the logistics. My team had to bring me back down to earth. That project is STILL waiting to be released and it frustrates me to no end that it’s not where it needs to be because I know what a blessing it would be to all of YOU. Silver lining? I was able to host my first dinner party for Rob’s birthday and it was a huge success! I had some ministry fails but quite a few marriage wins. I’ll take it.
  • August: Work was crazy. Let’s just leave it at that.
  • September: my favorite month. My anniversary month. I needed a break SO badly. But I actually did more that month than I typically allow. I reconnected with an old friend. Had professional pictures done. Had a few team meetings. Traveled for work. Stayed late at work. Took a tour of my dream house. Spent money on repairs. And to boot, I was in one of my best friend’s weddings on my anniversary! Not exactly a slow month.
  • October: I had what I thought was a pregnancy scare. Which was really just me being stressed out and throwing off my cycle. That was enough to get me to calm down though because there shall be NO more babies coming from this body! Lol
  • November: Family and Jack’s birthday were my main focus. I’ll also admit that I fell off my workout regimen. So I didn’t do as much on my to-do list as I had hoped but this month was actually one of the best months. Go figure!
  • December: I did quite a bit of traveling, tried to stay above water at work , half decorated my house (the tree was fab though!) failed at my Christmas Eve fete and took peeks at a gutted bathroom that I’m trying to get done by February 1st. Oh! I changed my eating habits too which has been life changing!

It’s a lot. Just looking at it makes me cringe. But can I share something with you? This is NOTHING compared to the constant feeling of heaviness, confusion and pain that I felt almost daily. And I could not shake it. Until in December my hubby and I made a huge decision (which I’ll share with you another day!) and I realized that I have to be intentional about getting back to me and focusing on what I know that God has called me to. It’s not easy but it is worthwhile. I deserve joy. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have to pursue it because I DO. I absolutely do.

Because I don’t believe in sitting in the mud, let me share my victories:

  • I learned that I’m here for a reason and the enemy will try every tactic to take me out. That gives me confidence in knowing that I have a GREAT purpose or he wouldn’t care about little old me. The AFGT team and I had an ah-mazing first annual brunch during the season when I was at my lowest. I realized that’s why the enemy tried to take me out. To keep me from bring God glory. He tried it.
  • I’m not defined by my failures. My personal expectations, guilt or desire to please others should never take precedence over my healing, evolution or needs. I have learned that I still have an opportunity to get up and try again.
  • Every friendship is not for forever but the ones that are, are meant to be cherished. Don’t get upset with people that move on. Don’t be hurt by people that will believe a false narrative about you. Don’t get caught up worrying why you weren’t invited. Move forward. Be who you are and partner with those who accept you for who you are. Begin to shift your focus from the superficial to the longlasting. Invest yourself into your quality friendships and watch how the weight lifts from your shoulders. A good friend builds with you and a poor friend is like a weight around your neck.
  • Be thankful in ALL seasons. It’s okay if you are bored or don’t feel like you are valued. Look for something else when God gives you peace to do so. But until He does, begin to find joy where you are. There is a reason that He has you there. Don’t run just because it’s grown a bit stale. Begin to rework your field and see if a new bud doesn’t appear.
  • Don’t be a “Joseph”. Just because God gives you a vision that doesn’t mean He told you to immediately tell others, work on it full speed ahead or assume that it will come to fruition tomorrow. Consider that God is sharing something with you to remind you who it is all for…HIM. He knows that there are seasons of discouragement but He will send soft glimpses of what He has in store. Don’t jump the gun. Go at his pace and things will begin to fall in place. We can miss our blessing by bypassing His roll-out plan.
  • Be intentional about self-care. It’s okay to walk away from your desk or your to-do list, for a bit. It’s okay to say “not today” or just plain old “no”. Get to a place where you prioritize YOU. You’re worth it. You won’t be any good to anybody if you’re too exhausted to function. The more stressed you are the less impactful you are, btw.
  • Sometimes slow isn’t possible but having small wins is ideal! Every moment that is spent in happiness, celebrate it. Even if it means cuddling at midnight because the day slipped away from you.
  • If you don’t get a handle on yourself, your body will. Don’t get so caught up in what has to be done. Get caught up in what can be done.
  • It won’t always be perfect but it can sure nuff be GOOD. Rest in that.
  • Set goals, revise your goals, take time on your goals and meet your goals. You’re equipped to do it. You just have to make sure that your goals match up with His plan.

I am so thankful and excited about 2019!! I already feel tons better than I did when 2018 began and I am taking active steps to maintain that feeling. Starting with a planner, a Bible and a cup of coffee. Let’s conquer the year, loves. We have so much to do and be thankful for!