Absolutely gorgeous fall day to celebrate the gift of life!
And oh I am today, as I turn 38 🙌🏻.
God gave me an amazing sunset last night—a perfect reflection (in more ways than one) moment to bask in beauty and soak up gratitude for His sweet love for me.
37 was a good year—newness in many ways. And I am prayerful about 38. The landscape looks vastly different from what I imagined 20 years ago, at that tender age of 18, when you’re about to leave home and venture in the world. Funny thing is, God brought me back home, to find myself, in finding Him.
At times through the trauma of the past decade, I didn’t want to go on. I am so thankful and glad God carried me (and through my family and friends. And dogs!!!) Even though life looks different than what that sweet 18 year old me imagined, there is so much goodness too.
Grief and anxiety are still with me every day—and I feel more alive to the beauty of this world too, and in the incredible paradox of post-traumatic growth—I am now more safe in myself, and in my identity in Christ, than I ever was before. (Thank you God!)
At 38, the grief over the absence of those roles of wife and mother that seem so primal as a woman, as a Christian, are not part of my life, yet the roles God has given me I treasure: daughter, sister, aunt, friend, writer, artist, ministry leader, volunteer, neighbor, and yes dog-mom too 💛.
At 38, the struggle with anxiety, depression, and PTSD is still a daily battle, yet I’m continually learning how to take care of myself. And of course, nature is a big part of that!
One of the worst parts of PTSD is the constant “worst-case scenario” thinking. It can be exhausting. It’s part of why I was deep in days when I never thought there would be goodness again, that the hard would change.
It’s been a long, hard journey. And while I still battle those effects, the depths of it are behind me now at 38, and I thank God! Even if my brain tries to convince me of disaster, my heart, reignited with God’s redeeming love, knows that He is working FOR my good. Oh there are still days that ARE hard and grief stings and I worry about the future pain of grief too…but I can see now how suffering has increased my trust. How God leading me through the wilderness has been a season of Him demonstrating His love for me. He has led me, and will keep leading me—and you, friend, too.
(Hey friend reading this – I recently had an article – “Learning to Live Love After Divorce” published in the wonderful The Way Back To Ourselves about story of finding God’s love. You can read it HERE!)
There is beauty—like unexpected wildflowers—in the wilderness. And as you learn to see them there, the beauty on the other side is even more poignant (it’s what I know will carry me through future hard times too). I pray that the seeds that have stuck to me on the journey, have me ready to keep sowing wildflower beauty all around, and not necessarily in what I do, but in who I am. We’re no longer in that original cultivated garden, but flowers grow in the wilderness too. (And oh we can’t even imagine what the NEW heavens and earth will be like, just that I want to be there!)
(You might also enjoy my recent poem about wildflowers called “Meadow Hope” in the ClayJar Review – and yes, stretching my writing wings has been part of the NEW of the last year, so hopefully this doesn’t seem too self-promotional!)
So today, I pray that my light, the simple wildflowers I’m sowing, can help others to keep going too. I know what it’s like when the darkness seems unending, when it feels like nothing new will grow (and still slip into those moments sometimes). But God is both a gentle Shepherd and Creator above all. He is in the work of healing – He has shown me goodness and beauty. Because that’s who HE is…and he paints the skies too.
I hope you see it too. We just have to keep faithful with our eyes open, even if we need that nudge from another to say, “look up.”
May you find beauty this weekend and feel the grace of God’s love 💛.