I Cried A Lot In 2017


I think I've started writing this post at least three different times, with a bunch of different titles. To the point that I may have been hitting my head against the keyboard in desperation - maybe. You'll never know. Finally I had to settle on the very honest, but not very eloquent title you had to click on to get here. Sorry bout that. 

But it's true. I've shed more happy tears than any other year. I've also had more really ugly, open mouth, "what-is-tears-and-what-is-drool" kind of cries this year than I ever thought I had in me.

 I've heard it said that 2017 was the best-worst year for a lot of people. I think that's a really great way to put it.

One of the cool things about being on this blog journey is that I get to look back (actually this is not always cool. Sometimes it's really embarrassing) and see what I've written in years past. This time last year I wrote the words; "There's no formula for God's grace. And there's no formula for loving broken people." I think in my smug little mind I wasn't thinking of myself and how those words would apply to me - now that I'm this close to surviving one of the most soul warping years of my life, I feel the words sending shivers through my heart and down to my toes.

Because it's true. You don't earn or deserve grace. Every time you come to the feet of the cross with your hands empty and your heart outstretched - there's no limit and there's no priority line and there's no secret formula. You just get it. That was really, really hard for me to learn. Every time I made a mistake that I thought, "There's no coming back from this one.", God showed me over and over again how my understanding of love was conditional - whereas His love is not. The quote; "Cling to God, and do the next good thing." has become my mantra this year.

I think I'll always look back on this year as the year I really became myself (at least until I hit rock bottom and am forced to grow again. That's often the way life works, in my case at least.) There's something about total desperation that makes you stop caring about looking and acting a certain way. I think I got really tired of being Ministry Student Blogger Cool Christian Girl. Now, to a lot of people, I'm just Girl Who Cries In Class and Wears Weird Clothes and Plays Weird Music in the Cafe. To other people I'm still Goofy Beth. Or Sad Beth. Or Wise Beth. To other people, I'm not really anybody. And all of those are okay. I think this year I finally stopped trying to manage (or mismanage) my personal image. It's okay to be more than one thing. It's okay to be certain things to certain people. And I don't have to be all things to all people - no matter how badly I want to be.

Being honest with yourself and to others about your broken bits and your worn out heart or your empty tiredness is not fun and pretty much always feels like it's counter-intuitive to trying to fix the problem. I would much rather just try harder than take a break and sit in reflection. 

Which brings me to another good lesson I learned this year - "Take a break. Or else." I'm trying to no longer feel guilty about taking a nap or saying no to an event or stopping in the middle of a paper because my brain is mush. Save yourself the mental breakdown. Make some tea and clean your room and sit in the sunshine. Rest is okay and putting things on hold are okay - you just have to make up the difference later. But you'll be amazed at the things you can do when your heart is full and your mind is present. If you find people that can pour into you and build you up when you're down and keep you balanced (in a healthy way), keep those people. They are very, very important. 

I met some really amazing, lovely people in 2017. I have new lifelong friends in 2017. Lies were replaced with truth in 2017. I grew in my faith and have become even closer to God in 2017. I cried a lot in 2017. I fell in love in 2017. I became better and healthier and more genuine in 2017. The future became brighter in 2017.

Thank you to everybody who was a part of my life this past year. Thank you to everybody who was a lesson. I have to give special thanks absolutely to my girl squad of Lord loving, beautiful ladies - you have become some of my biggest supports, and I feel blessed to know and love each of your fabulous hearts. To the people who still continue to read and support this blog - from Brazil to Australia - thank you, thank you, thank you. You have had a front row seat to my growing and my rambling and most days I have no idea why you're here. Thank you to my beloved family. I love and admire you, you make me think and you fill up my heart. 

If there's only one thing I can say to sum up this past year, is that I'm excited to move on to the next. Growing is painful but often the path is full of light once you start moving. Goodbye, 2017. In the end, you really were good to me. 

xoxo, Beth. 

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