It is crazy to me to think that tomorrow will be 2017. It seems the older I get, the more miraculous a new year seems. I've been blessed with the chance to see another year and to share another year with all of the amazing people in my life.
The common thing for this time is to set resolutions and often they are health related or something similar, but I am a fan of goals more than resolutions.
2016 had its downs and it definitely came with its many trials, but my family moved to Birmingham, I began to follow my passion of supporting sexual assault survivors, was blessed to visit Haiti, and so much more.
My goal for 2017 is to live. To really, truly live.
I don't want to just trudge through 2017...I want to embrace every moment of it.
I want to engage people around me and not just pass them by.
I want to be everything that God created me to be in 2017 as a Christ-follower, as a wife, as a mother, as an advocate, as a professional, as a student, as a person.
I want to believe in myself and others and to consistently choose to live in the belief of God's promises.
I want to grow daily and to strive daily to do better than the day before.
I want to do random acts of kindness every single day.
I want to let go of anything that holds me back or hinders me in any way.
I want to learn something new every single day and I want to continue to learn how to grow as a sexual assault advocate.
I want to live for Christ every single moment of every day with every breath that I take.
I want to give love and kindness abundantly.
I want to grow as a follower of Christ, as a wife, as a mother, as a friend, and as a person.
And I want to pursue the dream that God has placed in my heart with every ounce of my being. Much of my year will be placed on laying the foundation for Because One Ministries and seeking God's direction in supporting SA survivors through this avenue.
"I wish we had known. Things could have been different."
I heard these words recently and I have since thought about them a lot. They were in reference to the fact that I kept the fact that I was sexually assaulted in high school a secret. That secret turned into the raging storm of an eating disorder that plagued a huge part of my life.
And they were right...if I had told someone, things could have been different. Maybe I would have had the support I needed. Maybe I could have gone to counseling. Maybe the person would have been caught. Maybe I never would have started starving myself to cope.
But through my reflection on how things could have been different, God has shown me even more clearly the beauty of my journey.
Could it have been easier? It's possible.
But where I am now is worth every valley and mountain that has been along my path in life. The way my story played out has made me the mother I am, has made me the advocate that I am...the way my story played out is the root of my passion for sexual assault survivors, my motivation for open communication with my daughters...it is such a part of who I am.
I hate eating disorders and I hate everything that it took away from me...but I love the people that it brought into my life. I love the lessons that God taught me through it...about life, about myself, and about my place in this world. I HATE sexual assault and I hate everything that it took away from me, but I love the passion that God gave me through it and I love the people that God has brought into my life through it.
Things could have been different.
But if my road had been easier, I probably would not have Audrey. Maybe I would still be teaching elementary school instead of chasing my passion of working with sexual assault survivors. My love and passion for art might still be undiscovered. If I had not hit rock bottom with an eating disorder as a result, maybe I would still be back in that small town instead of living in this city that I love and traveling the world with a message of hope and love. If things had been different, there are some amazing people in my life that I never would have met.
It's easy to sit back and thank God for the good and easy times. But reflecting on these words has made me even more grateful for the hard times too. It's extremely difficult to see it at the time, but each one of them has made me who I am today and each one has played a part in bringing me to this exact moment.
Our journeys are riddled with road blocks, dead ends, and rough terrain. The important thing is that we don't let those obstacles stop us. We cross them and we turn them into dreams.