New year, same old me. No resolutions. No goals. I’m even struggling with my word of the year, because I’m just feeling SO stagnant.
2018 was hard.
2019 was a welcome thing if nothing more than to just force some sort of new electricity into my environment.
Everything around me is changing, moving, growing and here I sit-same answer to all the same questions... nothing new to report.
In so many ways, it seems frustrating, but you can find good or bad in situation and I suppose that’s another thing about me that is tirelessly unchanging- I chose to try and shine no matter the circumstances.
Perhaps, stagnant is a less than accurate to describe my state of sorts, because very little about me is the same as it was 12 months ago. Consistent might be more apt. I know if you took a 10,000 foot view or maybe did a little cyberstalking, my Google maps picture is the same gray double-wide with the same red pick up truck parked out front on the same dirt drive of this little life we have worked so hard to carve out in spite of sickness and trials. My Facebook shows I’m still married to a superhero and I’m still an uber-proud-Southern mama. If you sit by me at church when I’m healthy enough to go, you know I still probably sing too loud and if you sit by me in the gym or bleachers of any of my kids sporting events, you’ll know I’m the same, old, cheers-too-much Jen.
I suppose if you look at just the surface, many people can go through a year without much visible change. Much like geographical features of a landform or landscape, you can drive past something every day for years and years and not see the entire evolution of the microsystem happen or the erosion done by 365 days of Oklahoma weather. While that space may look the same from afar, the very make up of it could be changed irreversibly. (*Sidebar—anyone who knows me, is probably laughing at my using geography for ANY reference, because it is my absolute worst subject; stick with me though friends... I have Google!).
That is what the 365 days of 2018 did to me, to my unchanged-Google-maps picture, and my static-social-media presence.
I learned to be more transparent with my pain; physical, mental, and spiritual. But still, I know if you were not looking closely, they could easily be missed.
I learned to be more honest about how things impacted me- from the hurt caused by having to be more of a spectator than a participant in my life, to the joy involved and conquering activities or events that were important to my tribe and I.
I (re)learned that even if this world can make us feel unloveable or unworthy, the love of God is constant, relentless even.
2018 was for lessons, most in the form of painful, internal growth. I did not find a cure for my maladies. I spent lonely days and nights. I cried many tears, but more so I laughed many laughs. I smiled many smiles. My heart swelled with love so deep it caused a catch in my throat when I tried to breathe. I found me recognizing that I am never alone, no matter what the enemy does to try and convince me of that. I am relentlessly chased by the God of the hills and valleys. Did you hear that friends?... RELENTLESSLY.
I am loved deeply and completely, including the places that I lack or the places that are ugly, by my God and by my tribe and no amount of pain can erase that truth.
So are you, shiny soul.
Facing 2019 fortified with those truths has me changed indeed, even if it is only recognized by those looking closely for someone broken like them.
1 Kings 20:28 ESV— And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’”
Hi. I’m Jen-
a small town, Oklahoma girl married to a superhero. Together, we are raising a family on second chances, shiplap, and a shoestring.
I am a firm believer in grace, organization, and efficiency. I find great satisfaction in taking broken items and giving them new life, likely because that is exactly what God did for me.
I over use the word shine, exclamation points, and emojis. I cheer too loud in the stands of my kids’ activities and hug more than is socially acceptable. A natural born encourager and armchair warrior, I am learning to redefine my mission field and make the most of each day I am given.
I am chronically ill and chronically positive- not necessarily in that order. I am learning to practice perseverance over perfection and long for the day I get to see my grandparents and Jesus’ face.
Until then, I am just looking for Grace in the Grind.