I’m happy this year is finally over.

 

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It is that time of year when nearly everyone looks at their life no matter your race, religion, or nationality. I am no different. This last week of the year often leads me to a time of reflection and a time to set goals.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time you’ll know that 2014 was a rough year for my family. We had lots of change, necessary change, but it has led to a lot of stress and personal hardships.

I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m ready to be done with this.

I picked one word in January that I would focus on my entire year. Naively I chose “Whatever.”

It took me on a journey I could never have fathomed. A journey that grew my faith, and left me with no idea what was going on. A place where I couldn’t plan because there was no way to tell the future. A time where I had to rely on my faith in God, because without that faith I would have lost all hope and direction.

And through saying Whatever I saw things happen that would have never come otherwise. God answered prayer in a very real way for my family. Things happened in a timeline that has no logical explanation.

Because of that faith, my husband ended up in a job he never imagined. Not his dream job, but a job that will hopefully lead us to a better future.

A job that has left us underemployed for the time.

Being underemployed has been a very humbling experience.

I’ve witnessed how hard it is to get assistance and been denied many times over when all I wanted was to go to the grocery store without stress. Those rules are there to prevent others from abusing the system. But it feels like so many families are being punished for the wrongs of a few.

I’ve learned how to swallow my pride and accept gifts of others. I’ve always been the giver, or at least been able to give something back. This year I’ve been a taker. That has been hard.

I’ve watched our savings account slowly dwindle, down to nothing. Leaving us without a penny extra. I’ve always been good at budgeting, setting aside a little money each month for annual expenses. This month I had to clear those items in the budget too. All line items now read 0.

We are beginning January with little reserve. We have enough to get us through January, and probably February. If nothing changes before then, March is going to be interesting.

My current plan is to file taxes early and pray for a large return to supplement us through another year.

A pretty sad plan, but it is something.

Some may see this as an example of failure. Some may wonder how my faith continues. I said Whatever to God and it has lead me down a road of sadness and pain.

But I have learned so much.

My compassion for others has increased and grown. There is so much rich history in the stories of other people. I can learn and glean from their experiences, they give me faith and hope.

I have always been content and thankful for things that are around me, but I took many simple basics for granted. Having to strip our budget down to necessities only has made me question everything we have. Is it a true need to thrive and function in my day or is it something that I can live without? Is there a workaround? Can I use something we already have instead of buying the ‘right’ item?

I have learned that I don’t need nearly as much as I thought I did.

My husband and I have been married for over 12 years. We have never walked through something as difficult as this together. We’ve had to support each other when all feels lost. I’ve watched him lose hope and dreams, and been there to pick up the pieces. He has done the same for me.

Above all though, it has increased my faith. I have seen no solution to some of the situations we’ve been in. I have seen no way out. However, sometimes at the last moment, God has provided. Prayers have been answered, and the answers have been better than I could have ever imagined.

So this year has been one of sadness, one of pain, and one of growth.

It is a year I’m thankful to have walked through, because I am a different person than I was 12 months ago, but one I am also thankful to see leave.

I’m ready. Ready to move on. Ready to take where I’m at right now and grow it into something new, something better, something beautiful and glorious.

I’m ready to give God my 2015 and see what he turns it into.

It is time to Build.

~Crystal

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