Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Year of Blessings in Disguise

I have found myself constantly thinking and in a state where I am unable to turn my mind off. I have had the time to sit down and look at the events that have taken place while I contemplate the reason behind all of it. The first event that set my year up on a bad note was the loss of my dad in December of 2010, just two days before Christmas. My 2011 would immediately be effected and a positive mindset was turned negative in a heartbeat. It was a year I had been looking forward to, but quickly my mindset would change and I felt more lost then ever. I had no clue how I would make it through the next year, let alone the rest of my life. Although I am still unsure how the rest of my life will be effected by the loss of my dad, I find myself having so much more hope then I once had. Luckily, I had a form of hope from the start. I wasn't angry at God for my loss, rather angry because I thought I could have done more to stop the loss from happening. I was angry at myself and angry that there was nothing I could do to make the situation better. Once again I was in a place where I felt helpless and all I wanted to do was make my family's lives a little easier.

The start of my year included trying to find ways of coping with the loss of my dad. Difficult steps, such as; going to counseling, forcing myself to write and read, spending lonely nights alone crying, and wondering how I would ever find the faith I needed to get through what I was going through. I was lost. I had no clue what was right or wrong and all I could do was question life, question my existent. I felt like if my dad wasn't here then I didn't want to be here. I believed in my heart that I could not find happiness without my dad here. I struggled for months trying to figure out ways to help myself and people around me also tried to do all they could. Unfortunately, nothing was good enough. Nothing was good enough because nothing could bring my dad back and there was nothing that could fill the hole in my heart. So, every night I would write down what I felt and this month will mark the year of when I began writing in a journal. A year later I have almost wrote my 365th entry, all ranging in length and detail. I made it a goal to never miss a day because I knew how important it was to express what I was feeling. My journal has allowed me to release emotions that I have been unable to show to others. A year ago, I had lost the hope to keep walking, so I wrote...but by the grace of God that hope would return.

Faith is a word that I have had the chance to really dig deep into and search for what it means in my own life. I believe that faith can have a lot of different meanings because it holds a special place in each of our lives no matter what trial we are dealing with. Last summer I truly believe that I am able to look back and notice the little things God was doing in my life to prepare me for the process of death. At the time I thought nothing of it, all I knew was I needed to trust that God had a plan for what I was going through. Months later I lost my 2 year old kitten to heart failure, which would end up being only a few months before losing my dad. I would be the one to find her and my heart hurt seeing her lay there. Although it was just an animal, I went through a form of grief and it was a little more difficult then I thought it would be. She held a special place in my heart and more importantly she held a special place in my dads heart. So once again, I would move forward trusting and believing that God had a better plan for her then being with us. In hindsight losing her taught me a lot about life and death. Life continued but life at my house was very different.

A few months later losing my dad would cause me to question the faith I had in a God that was supposed to love me more then anyone or anything. I sat there and wondered why him, how did the one person that meant so much to me and impacted my life in such a dramatic way get ripped away so quickly. I wanted to be able to say goodbye and wanted to know that he was okay. Quickly I remembered everything I had been taught in school and church. I remembered that no matter how ugly things looked that at some point God would bring some form of good from the situation I was stuck in the middle of. I will admit that in the beginning and even at times now, its difficult to believe that. Its difficult to believe that because we are human and we miss that human presence that our loved one provided. But faith allows us to believe that no matter how hard things get and no matter how dark it seems, God will bring me and every other person out of that place. We don't always immediately know why things happen. Sometimes we don't know for years down the road but I truly believe that there is at least ONE good thing that comes from every bad situation. You may call me crazy for believing that but I am able to look back and see the good that has happened in my life through every storm.

I am able to look at my past year and see where I started to where I am now. I can see the areas that I have grown and matured. Days aren't as difficult as they once were. I made huge steps from getting help and receiving counseling to doing something for myself by leaving for the holidays and taking a trip to Colorado. I have met a lot of different people who have also had to deal with the loss of a loved one and have learned different ways of dealing with the process of grief. I have studied the grief process in hopes of one day being able to help someone else in need. I have learned that we can't rely on one person as our support because at any point that person could be gone. I have learned that even on the days where it seems impossible to trust in a loving God, that in reality He is all I really have to believe in. When everything else is ripped away from me, God is the one constant, the one person who will always listen and answer prayers. I have also been taught that my prayers won't always be answered in the timely manner that I want them to be and if it's not Gods will then they may not be answered at all.

The important thing is no matter what I can pray any prayer I want and God will listen. Friends don't always act in the way we want them to or respond the way we want them to. More importantly friends don't always listen and there not always there. In the same way sometimes God doesn't respond the way we wish He would or answer exactly how we thought He would. Faith is believing in something that we may not completely understand and having hope in things we can't always see. Although we may not completely understand Gods plan for our lives, we must trust that in the end He wants to restore our lives and bring us happiness. We are asked to serve him and it may be painful at times but its with a purpose. The purpose may not be for our own life but a life that will be touched in the process, a life that will be changed because we never gave up that hope for a better day. God will restore each of us when the time is right and our lives on Earth won't be the end of our service. Even after our time we will continue to serve but we wont know what that service is until we return to our Savior.

I have faith in a better day. I believe that at some point happiness will return and I will renew the strength to keep moving forward. I have seen the changes in my life in just one short year and know that I will continue to make giant strides forward. Of course, therewill be days where hope is difficult to have and my faith may be shaken but the amazing thing on those days is the grace of God. Even those days when its hard to believe, God will still be there, waiting for me to run back to Him. He is always there, whether you choose to believe that or not. He is in control of every situation in our lives and all He wants is for us to do the best we can to trust in his plan for us. My prayer for all of you is that you also have the chance to see God work in your lives and that you can keep focused on any positive that you might be able to see. Take the time to look closely and you may realize that you have been missing out on something great.

I look forward to this next year. I am not saying that because it's the thing to say at the beginning of each year. I say that because I truly believe that my life will change in some way and whether it's good or bad at the time there will be good that comes from each and every trial I am put through. Trials build character and they force us to look deep inside and make changes in our lives. Make the changes necessary to help yourself grow this year. Attempt to make big strides in your life and the lives around you. Look next to you and pay attention to those people who may need your help. Keep your eyes open to the beauty that surrounds you and more importantly be thankful for each day you are given. Tell people how you feel and don't leave anything unsaid or misunderstood. Those you care about, let them know. If there is something you want to do, do it. Live with no regrets and believe that you are worth something special. Last but not least, live each day as if tomorrow may not happen because we never know when that statement will become reality.

I love you all and I pray that each and every one of you has a blessed year.

God Bless,

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