2017. I feel like I barely survived it. There’s a reason why my blog stayed quiet for over a year, and it’s not because I was too busy with four kids, work, and school. Sure. Those things were a lot, and definitely would have slowed my postings during a normal year….but the real reason for my silence was struggle.
I struggled immensely last year. I think I’ve mentioned here before that I don’t like talking publicly (blogs, social media, etc.) about hard seasons while I’m walking through them. I generally prefer to wait until I’m on the other side of a mountain before I talk openly about the climb. I tell my nearest and dearest relationships, but other than that, I keep my lips zipped. With that being the case, I never felt like I could write here and be authentic last year, so I just stayed silent.
My thyroid surgery started it all. 11/22/2016. I’ll remember that date forever. I don’t know if it messed with my hormones or what, but the months following my surgery were worse than any postpartum depression or anxiety I’d ever experienced. It was absolutely unbearable, to the point that I thought…my God, I cannot live the rest of my life like this. Waking up and being stuck in my mind felt like a torture chamber. I couldn’t enjoy my children, my husband, or my life. That was very distressing for me, because I’ve always been able to “mind over matter” everything. I could no longer do that after my surgery. I was stuck in hell. I would never harm myself or anything like that, but last year, I truly did not want to live anymore. The line “Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder!” from Hamilton says it best. Living was HARD. And for the majority of 2017, that was my theme.
I never truly questioned God’s existence until last year. He’s been an ever present stronghold in my life. I could always feel him, and I KNEW he was real, just like I knew I was real. But then my surgery happened, and for whatever reason…none of that was true anymore. I couldn’t feel him, no matter how hard I tried or how much I prayed. I felt abandoned and alone in the hardest season of my life. Where had he gone? Had he ever truly been there in the first place? If he was real, why was he allowing me to remain in a storm without the comfort of his presence? What if I serve a cruel God who enjoys suffering?
And so on and so forth. Being in my mind during those months really was torture. Those thoughts were unceasing.
It was hard. Definitely some of the darkest days of my life. I had moments of wondering if we are all just on top of a ball that’s spinning aimlessly in the sky with no purpose. Those were the worst. I honestly don’t know how people live life without believing. And I don’t mean offense by that statement. This season just caused me to marvel over the way atheists and agnostics think and function.
Anyways. In my darkest unbelieving moments, do you know what I did? I came back here and read stories of God’s hand all throughout my life. Let’s just say, I’ve kept a good record :)️ I have so many experiences in this blog that are supernatural, and cannot be explained apart from God. Those stories helped me to hang on to him. It felt as if I was hanging on to the hem of his garment in a hurricane, but dammit…I hung on!
I finally started to emerge from the storm sometime during the summer. I started to feel God’s presence again. I started to truly believe that he was my friend, and not just some overbearing rule enforcer. I started being able to combat my many, many intrusive thoughts with truths, instead of feelings.
Yes…I felt alone sometimes, but that did not mean I was actually alone. I realized this after telling Benji, through tears, that I felt alone one evening. He came close and adamantly told me that I wasn’t. I believed him. I knew he was right. I was not alone. The proof was standing in front of me. Fact didn’t change my feelings though. I still felt very alone, even with him holding my hand, looking me in the eye, and reassuring me that I wasn’t. That was a “light bulb” moment for me.
If I could still feel alone with my husband, who is physically present and literally holding me, then I was definitely capable of feeling alone with God, who is unseen. My feelings aren’t always reality. I was not alone. I was not abandoned. Not by Benji and not by God. Depression was just robbing me of relationship and I was believing in lies.
So that was 2017 for me. I spent the first half of it in darkness, and the other half emerging from said darkness, by learning to combat lies with truth. What a learning experience it was for me! It was hard, but somehow, I think it may go down as one of my favorite years because of how much I grew.
In closing, I’m sharing some of our favorite memories from our 2017 memory jar. And yes…this is a complete change of topic, but I feel the two kind of tie together so, whatever. Here goes nothing:
We have six jars now! I can hardly believe it!
And here are just a few of our favorites. I’m not going to retype them, so if you want to read them, you’ll have to zoom in! LOL #lazy