Thank you, 2020.

Does this year feel like it sucked the life out of you? No? Just me?

It’s been exhausting, in so many ways. This year has brought challenges and mental blocks I never really thought I would experience. I got thrown into vicious cycles of defeat, ruled by my idea’s that I should be better, and watched as my self-worth shrank. 

Then I got my wake up call. 

My best friends drove me to the ER on August 24th, after being extremely sick for two weeks, to find out that I had a bacterial infection, which caused Sepsis. It wasn’t COVID, or Mono, no, it was literally the last thing anyone really expected. ‘Twas terrifying to say the least, but the most incredible, eye-opening blessing I have had this year. Why you may ask? Ah yes, because I serve a God who never leaves me, and who provides in ways so unexplainable. The experience itself really made me pause and evaluate the world we live in today, and what we need the most in this time. 

Pray, pray, pray, pray. I don’t know if I could say it enough. Those days I spent completely alone in the hospital, staring at my ceiling, I was being challenged to find hope in the emptiness and pain. To find courage in the quiet, and notice the blessings in my life I was taking for granted. I was learning quite honestly how to take care of myself and my mental health. I realized that “self-love” is not always bath bombs, face masks, and chocolate (though I do love those things). Sometimes taking care of myself means looking my failures, disappointments, and faults right in the eyes and re-strategizing. It means not satiating my immediate desires, it means letting go and moving forward, it means truly feeling my emotions and finding ways to cope with them correctly, and maybe it’s disappointing some people, but practicing listening to what I need and being able to give myself some grace. 

And man, does our world need some grace and peace right now more than ever. From COVID-19, politics, racial injustices, and on top of that just dealing with life as an individual, life is strenuous right now. But God can work miracles in the middle of those painful places. This year has taught me that a kind word can be a cure in a world full of so much cruelty. Be the reason that someone feels welcomed, seen, loved, supported, and valued. 

I think everyone is tired right now, 2020 has been weary, but I just want people to feel proud of how they have been handling these past few months. The silent battles you fought, the tears you wiped, and moments of utter loss. Celebrate your strength. Celebrate God’s strength. These experiences are vital lessons, and what matters most is the willingness to grow from them. How beautiful it is to come alive in a place of uncertainty, although our world is full of stories of suffering, it’s also full of testaments of hope, miracles, and love. I am slowly becoming comfortable with my pain being a means of gain. Our hardships produce great success, and sometimes we have to take a couple of steps backward to take a big leap forward.