Cardinal and Phoenix

Finding Hope and Beauty in the Mess of Life

Since today is the first day of 2020, I thought I should do the obligatory year in review thing. So throughout most of today I have been thinking about this past year and what to say about it. An initial summary: Shitty. But if I left it at that then this post would be over… As I continued to think I listened to a podcast called The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. If you are not familiar you should check it out (I will post a link). She interviews different women in the Christian world and they just talk about real things. Today’s interview was with Beth Moore and honestly even though I have always liked her, I was apprehensive to listen. See, I have had a pretty bad taste in my mouth over the last several years of the church and christians in the “older” generation; so even though I liked her I was nervous to hear her speak. BUT she said something that made me decide what to write about in this post. She said that the hard things we go through are not (were not) necessarily “worth it”. That it is ok to not feel like they were and to even wish we could change it. Something doesn’t have to be worth it for God to make it matter. I am not a huge crier, but if I was I would have cried as I was listening! This is one of the issues I have had over the past several years. I don’t want to say I’m ok with things that have happened to be or to those around me because it is the “Christian” thing to say. God does work all things together for good, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be grateful for what happened to us. We can wish that something never happened at the same time as we have the faith that God will do something with it. God can make it matter without us having to be good with it happening in the first place. It isn’t a lack of faith or a slap in the face of Jesus if we question why something happened and refuse to say it was worth it because God has a plan for it. Screw that! Feeling unloved and unwanted, being abused, losing loved ones, illness etc is never worth it.

With that being said; my year in review is that I am glad 2019 is over! I would have said a couple of years ago that things can’t get any harder than they were right then. 2017 was rough. I stopped drinking and started trying to heal more. Healing is hell and healing without drinking to numb is even worse than hell, if that’s possible. Can’t get harder than that. Wrong. Most of 2018 was equally as hard as 2017 and trying to stay sober was a daunting task. One that I wanted to give up on often, but I got through to my 1 year anniversary. Then, in November I spent 6 of the hardest days in Seattle with 14 other women (all strangers at the beginning) with an organization called The Allender Center. The point of the time is to work through your stories of childhood harm. 6 days face to face with things you don’t want to look at. It was awful and I came home and spent the next several months spinning. I made some pretty destructive choices (none having to do with alcohol) and spent a lot of time in a deep dark hole. I was undone in every way and I didn’t see any going back. So the start of 2019 was crazy and dark. Good news is that I started to emerge from the cave I hid in all those months, but would quickly retreat back. Actually, part of why I started this blog is to continue to come out of hiding. I didn’t find myself in 2019. Some days I wondered if maybe I lost myself a little more. I didn’t get many questions answered. I ended up with a hell of a lot more questions. I didn’t thrive in relationships or my giftings. Did I change? Yes. Did I learn? Yes. Would I ever want to repeat any part of the year? NOPE. After listening to the podcast today I feel the freedom to say that I am not thankful for 2019. The hard wasn’t worth it.

I am though, grateful that God wants to make any of it matter. That He knows, sees and loves me and that He was never scrambling to try and figure out what to do with me and all my crazy. I am thankful for a God that has never stopped pursuing me. In all my questions and curses toward Him, He has never left me. I am thankful for the people I know that see me and love me anyway. I am thankful for the amazing women I met during the week of intense pain. So, while I’m not glad for the pain and hard of the year, I do see the good things too. I don’t know what 2020 will hold and I am not going to say it can’t be harder than 2019 because historically that bites me in the ass every time, but I will say I am glad for a fresh start.

To end it seems fitting to share a benediction from Nadia Bolz-Weber that I love:

Blessed are the agnostics. Blessed are they who doubt. Those who aren’t sure, who can still be surprised.
Blessed are they who are spiritually impoverished and therefore not so certain about everything that they no longer take in new information.
Blessed are those who have nothing to offer. Blessed are they for whom nothing seems to be working.
Blessed are the pre-schoolers who cut in line at communion.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are they for whom death is not an abstraction. |Blessed are they who have buried their loved ones, for whom tears are as real as an ocean.
Blessed are they who have loved enough to know what loss feels like.
Blessed are the mothers of the miscarried.
Blessed are they who don’t have the luxury of taking things for granted any more.
Blessed are they who can’t fall apart because they have to keep it together for everyone else.
Blessed are the motherless, the alone, the ones from whom so much has been taken.
Blessed are those who “still aren’t over it yet.”
Blessed are they who laughed again when for so long they thought they never would.  Blessed are those who mourn.
You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

Podcast: https://jamieivey.com/278-beth-moore

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