2009 was a defining year – well SCRATCH THAT… 2009 did anything BUT define me… rather it was a year of adjustment and awakening. The beginning I can only describe as somewhat of a heavy, dark cloud that slowly cleared, making way for a sunrise. Eventually I got my grounding, but not before a painful season of transition.
My greatest fear in life has always been that of becoming a disappointment, and this unfortunately became a reality by mid 2009. To be honest, the wake of going through a divorce was incredibly, unspeakably painful…surreal to say the least. Simply put, when two (both that is) spouses do not generously and consistently nourish their commitment, just like a flower – over time – the petals will wilt and slowly begin to fall one. by. one. And if this persists, over time, the very life of the commitment fades and withers until love is replaced with disappointment and sacred is replaced with selfishness. The whole process of a divorce undoubtedly has rippling effects and the life adjustment can become so acutely painful to the point of numbing – except for the re-salting of wounds provided generously by that of humanity, onlookers, loved ones, and even mere speculating acquaintances that sometimes seem to care more for their own interests and ‘scoop’ than anything personal or God forbid helpful. Note to self: Gossip is mean. Don’t do it. Anytime you’re about to share information that is either not about you (i.e. isn’t your own) or information about something you personally did not experience, consider first that you might not know fully what you are talking about; and while you’re considering, consider shutting your mouth. While I learned a lot about myself this year, I also learned a lot about people. People, myself included (clearly), suck at loving others, unfortunately and sometimes especially even the ‘best of the best’ in the ‘Christian community’. I don’t say this to make shots. Hurting people hurt people – and then, frankly, others simply feed off of drama. But this was no drama, this for me was real life. However, to judge my own judges would be to perpetuate the failure in loving the way Christ intends. God willing, you have a lot of years left in your life, plenty of time to live a good life and plenty of time to make mistakes, and I pray when you do that you never find yourself treated the way I was or surrounded by those that care less for loving and more for adding insult to injury. It is a dark place to feel alone, but I suppose we all go there at some point. My genuine hope and prayer is that on your darkest of days may you find your way to Hope. That someone will say to you the most comforting words I’ve ever heard in my life: “I’m not going anywhere”.
For that ‘season’, I can only say I am the least of these. I made my own mistakes and for those I am truly sorry to those hurt by them. I eventually came to grips with myself, my God, and my future. At some point I must have begun to accept simple breathing over truly living… but at some other point I finally realized what this was doing not only to those around me, but more importantly to my daughter and to myself. Though the enemy would have loved for me to lie down in defeat and count this year as one big failure, to his dismay I did get out of bed, hard as it was some days. I resolved to make peace with the past and at the very least try to catch up with the journey of life passing me by. I (begrudgingly at first) accepted grace and mercy without pretending the very reason Christ came and all that He offers didn’t apply to me. It’s nothing less than a miracle that God has answered my prayers to protect my Jacey’s heart and mind through it all, as well as to guide her father and I to peacefully work together for her good in spite of our differences. She is happy. She is healthy. She has actually flourished this year. Her spirit and joy are contagious and she has discernment and wisdom beyond her years. But above all, she is loved. Just as with His work through my bout with cancer and the journey of her adoption, even through this season and process of adjustment, the provision, peace, and power in our lives can yet again only be described in two words: Only God.
This is because God is good.
Hear me on this. GOD. IS. GOOD. Not just when healing takes place. Not just when you score a job interview. Not just because we ace a test. Not just when we survive a car accident. Not only when our prayers are answered exactly the way we want. And not just when you’re happy and everything seems perfect in life. While we recognize His goodness more so in these times of joy, it is but a mere glimpse of His omnipotence. God is good allllllllll the time. Even when we’re sick, God is good. Even when we lose, God is good. Even in the death of a loved one, God is good. Even when WE sin, GOD is still good. And even when our prayers aren’t answered just the way we want, God is still good. And even through my worst nightmare come true, God was and is still good to me, working all things for good. Just because things around us change, even ourselves – He remains the same. What I once knew to be simply a cliché, became a revelation of a deeply enlightening promise to me this year. God is good. All the time. And all the time, God is good.
And He restores.
And restoration, or at least the beginning of it, I would have to say best describes the rest of 2009. Thank GOD for the gift of friends, a few without which I would certainly still be in bed with the covers pulled over my head! Thank GOD for Jacey, and the amazing life and spirit she oozes, without which I would have drowned in my own tears. And thank GOD for forgiveness and His unconditional love, without which I would rather not live at all.
Through it all, I can honestly say 2009 was truly amazing and FULL of blessings. I have many many unforgettable memories to take with me from this past year…
*****MEMORIES OF THE YEAR*****
(please don’t feel compelled to read this section – it’s merely for my own reminiscing 🙂 )
At the top of my fav memories are…
* kayaking in Beaver’s Bend * hiking @ Turner Falls w/ Jace * Plenty of unforgettable trips to Dallas spending special time with grandma and lots of playtime at Six Flags * Family celebrations and our goodbye dinner to mom and dad * Working with Leen and Amanda – and prayer – a season I will forever cherish * My first dinner party July 4th * LOTS of slumber parties- some w/ my girls, some w/ Jacey’s Fab4 * Seeing Jacey start 2nd grade w/ her new big girl haircut * Seeing her smile every morning of school – an answer to prayer * Powerful Saturday morning dance practices with the most amazing girls in the world topped off with yet another fantastic Dance Revolution weekend * Seeing Cole play a great season of football and cheering him on with my family * Great times sharing bdays of families and friends * Witnessing grown up Haylie get married * Reading my bible in bed with Jacey next to me reading hers * Finally a family reunion and a great night out w/ my beautiful cousins * An ‘enlightening’ Eskimo Joe’s trip and rooftop sharing w/ Kristi & Kristalyn * Laughing w/ Mandy and sharing some special moments @ Edna’s as well as a forever memorable one @ Cock o’ the Walk * The special night Stephie gave me a pedicure, and much more * Seeing my littlest sister graduate * Sharing new tats w/ Leen & Ashley * Moved into a new dwntwn apartment w/ an amazing wrap around view – thanks to the help of friends -a beautiful place I love to call home * Finally finding that mission-minded church I longed for so long * Experiencing a special Lord’s Supper w/ Jace * Self defense classes and scoring my kubaton * Thunder games * Roller skating * Ice skating * Lots of trips to Big Truck Tacos & Cuppies & Joe * Pinot w/ Michael * Thursday nights w/ Leen * FM Underground gigs as well as 9 other fantastic concerts * A side splitting tear jerker night with Dane Cook * Finally making an overdue trip to Chi-Town to see Sarah and all the sights * Sarah coming to OK and sharing karaoke as well as stapling her dollar up at Edna’s * State Fair fun with Jacey – also my favorite travel buddy to grandma’s * Titantastic fun * Pumpkin Patch *OKMOA * Seeing Bobby win at the NOVA awards * Gangster talk w/ Staci & Brian @ work *Fun Christmas parties * Great fun @ ‘Downtown in December’ * Driving through lighted bldgs on Broadway at night * My new wine board project; * Jacey skating around with her jetpack * My first big wreck, followed by scoring my new ride & thankfully keeping no payments * Omniplex *White Water Bay trips * Jacey’s wide eyes learning at Science camp *Bowling w/ friends *Movies w/ my scarf *SAW date w/ Shrek *Medieval Times w/ Grandma * Trick or Treating w/ my twin kitty * advent candle w/ Jace * My day w/ sweet Bryson * Jacey’s quotes * New dancing bedtime routine *My broken iphone * My new yummy iPhone * The 5k I forgot to prepare for but somehow accomplished * And of course reconnecting w/ special friends on fb and sharing great times of laughter and dialogue. **
*****BDAY OF THE YEAR*****
Of all these, probably the most memorable would be BDAY PALOOZA weekend which made the for one of the greatest HIGHs of my life and included everything I could ever want to do all in one bday – starting off with sharing cake w/ my family @ Stephies ❤ and then going to Dallas for a weekend of dancing, Pink thing and Titan fun @ Six Flags, enjoying yummmmy Pappadeaux grub, a stellar Matt Kearney concert @ House of Blues, a truly amazing 1st tailgating experience, finding DC duds in my fav VS loungewear @ the pro shop and seeing my Boys win a game @ Tx Stadium.
All shared with not one – but 4 amazing women I am honored and blessed to call best friends that have never left my side, loved me unconditionally, and been rocks for me this entire past year. Words cannot even describe the memories. Fun doesn’t even come close. Thank you guys for making that such a priceless and unforgettable experience that I will forever cherish 🙂
“Don’t stop make it pop, DJ turn the music up, tonight Ima fight till we see the sunlight..” 😉
*****CONCERTS OF THE YEAR*****
I could not dare talk about 2009 without some concert reminiscing – this was certainly a year of AMAZING CONCERTS – each one special in it’s own right…
First there were the FM Underground gigs with songs new to me that I easily fell in love with. These were mostly at hole in the wall joints so I’ll call the sum of them Concert #1. Lots of great times w/ work peeps!!
**Concert #2 – Ben Harper w/ Sarah @ the Vic – ahhhhh beautiful venue and precious time with my Sarah
**Concert #3 – Paramore & No Doubt @Superpages/Dallas w/ Steph & Kim, such a blast & definite highpoint of the year rocking out w/ my sisters
**Concert #4 – Bryan Adams @ RSC w/ Kristalyn, so honored to be her date and it was even better than we imagined!
**Concert #5 – Britt Nicole @ the ballpark w/ Jacey, Liv, Mandy, Haylie, Nate, & The rest of the Halls, summer night fun – loved hearing Britt belt out ‘Take my dreams, come and give them wings!”
**Concert #6 – Hillsong in Tulsa w/ Jacey – special road trip date, just the two of us 🙂 and a lot of worship 🙂
**Concert #7- Fireflight @State Fair w/ Jacey – The whole day was an amazing time with Jace, but the concert topped it off perfectly – hearing her belt out Unbreakable was awesome! AND we got to meet the band!
**Concert #8 – Kings of Leon @Ford Center w/ Kyle, great spots right up front – fantastic show, melted me all night with that voice!
**Concert #9 – Matt Kearny @House of Blues w/ Leen, Mandy, Kristi, & Kristalyn, pure brilliance! Another beautiful venue and the performance was simply outstanding. He sang all my favs and even came into the crowd 🙂
**Concert #10 – U2 & Black Eyed Peas @ OU stadium w/ Leen, Mandy, Bryan, & Josh – Outrageous. just WOW. Experience of a lifetime.
**And then there’s that memorable fantastical non-concert event–
Dane Cook – Isolated Incident – Tulsa w/ of course Leen & Mandy & sporting our Brain Ninja T’s –Amazing seats and we were cracking up all night long – even when we were crying! His humor was nowhere near lacking with the serious bits on his life coming out of the mire. Some of his stories actually shared aspects with a few of my own and by the end of the night I appreciated him all the more.
*****MUSIC OF THE YEAR*****
I’ll start with CDs of the year:
As far as *full length* CDs go, I couldn’t get enough of these 5 – each loaded with powerful lyrics that resonated within me throughout my ’09 journey.
Kelly Clarkson – All I Ever Wanted
Ne-Yo – Year of the Gentleman
Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
T.I. – Paper Trail
Of course, there’s many other songs I’ll never hear again without reminiscing about 2009 memories –
*SOME of these are:
Closer to Love, Nothing Left to Lose, Boom Boom Pow, Blame It, Liva Ya Life, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, Poker Face, I Feel Good, Let The Drummer Kick, Miss Independent, Move, Shooting Star, Let it Rock, Got Money, Gravity, 1901, One More Round, Came to the Rescue, Beggin, Get it Shawty, Chasing Pavements, Shawty Get Loose, You Hold Me Now, Obsessesed w/ Gucci, So Beautiful, and of course Tik Tok 🙂
*****LYRICS OF THE YEAR*****
For specific songs, THESE THREE will forever remain in my heart for carrying me through 2009
~ Everything by Lifehouse ~
“… and how can I stand here with you, and not be moved by you? Won’t you tell me how could it be… any better than this… because You’re all I want, You’re all I need, You’re everything… everything.”
~ Unbreakable by Fireflight ~
“God I want to dream again, take me where I’ve never been
I want to go there, this time I’m not scared
Now I am unbreakable, it’s unmistakable
Noone can touch me, nothing can stop me…”
~ How He Loves as sung by Crowder ~
“He is jealous for me…. Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory And I realize just how beautiful you are
And how great your affections are for me…
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinkin
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
… and I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
when I think about the way… He loves us…
*****RELATIONSHIPS OF THE YEAR*****
Family ~ This year was a doozy for us. With family, when things are bad, there’s nothing worse – and when things are good, there’s nothing better. This year we were tested, we learned, we grew, and we’re better now. We learned about yards this year, our own and that of others. We cried, we laughed, we loved, and ultimately we overcame. I love my family. More than life, I love each member of my family. I truly thank God for allowing me the blessing to be a part of such a motley crew ❤
Friends ~ I’ve said before that I have been blessed with more true blue best friends in life than any girl should ever be allowed. I don’t ever take this for granted. Friends, I am forever indebted to you for not only your unconditional love, encouraging words, forthright honesty -albeit unbridled and hard to hear at times, but mostly for going to battle for me in prayer time and time again. You have taught me the power of a listening ear and of hugs.
*Please see Whitman quote below ❤
*****SCRIPTURES OF THE YEAR*****
And now Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.
So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work.”
And we know that in all things God works together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose
Romans 8:28 / wrist tat 🙂
****QUOTES OF THE YEAR****
“I will not perpetuate the façade that the core of Christianity is being this perfect thing instead of desperately needing the Perfect One.”
In conversation w/ Sarah
“I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.”
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest of souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”
“There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes any of us to talk about the rest of us.”
a fb status I ‘liked’
I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends. Walt Whitman
“Be. you. Aspire to grow, to get better, to learn and make changes to become what your potential intends …but just be you. You were created uniquely with all your quirks and passions. There is something so freeing, so unbelievably liberating about just being who you are… but what’s better – and so refreshing – is to be blessed with family and friends that love you just the way (and even in spite of) who you are.”
“Love is uniquely powerful, undeniable when it is neither manipulated or simply endured but wholehearted & instinctive, when it rather springs generously from an uncontrived place within, flowing freely, abundantly, spontaneously and consistently, processed out of the heart in natural, authentic initiative. Fear of costs, loss, loneliness, or failure should never be the conductor. Perfect love drives out fear.”
“I’m not going anywhere”
(Thank you friend. for everything.)
****PROCESSING BLOG OF THE YEAR*****
if you ever have time for another too-long blog…
this was about ½ way through 2009 –
A few special moments I will keep to myself, those shared in confidence with others when God loved on me through amazing people and even somehow chose to use me to filter His love on others– in spite of me.
I can only speak of one sweet soul that I prayed with to receive Christ this year, but oh what a precious memory that is for me. From beginning to end, in 2009, I was blessed to be lifted up, carried, prayed for, and loved on by some very special people. I am so grateful and hope my efforts to do the same have been fruitful.
I no longer live a life dictated by fear of disappointing others. I know I have and will probably again, and maybe again. But when I fall down, I’ll get just get back up. If my momma has taught me anything in life, it’s to survive… to always get back up. Being a little weary, I do pray the knockdowns and curve balls to ease up and give me just a tad of a break in this new year, but it seems the very worst of seasons throughout my life God has ultimately followed up w/ some of the best – and in 2010, I just pray to be less disctracted by it all, and to use the time to productively grow in 3 main areas:
Wisdom, Loving God, and Loving others.
That greatest fear of disappointment I once clung to is long gone…
The weight of what Proverbs calls “fear of human opinion” has lightened and with that –
some beautiful space was created.
Yet, I never feel alone anymore.
I can’t even describe it.
As much as I love being surrounded with beautiful people, both friends and family,
the mystery of splendid solitude has become one of my greatest joys in life.
This new season is a beautiful place. I am more than content, comfortable in my own skin – feeling closely wrapped in His arms.
I’m at peace.
Ironically … it was this very peace -the kind Paul perfectly describes as that peace “which transcends all understanding” -that brought me to Him initially years ago and has yet again called me home.
Looking back on 2009, I’m grateful for this – I have come to know God in ways I have never experienced before. The relationship with the Lover of My Soul I once thought to be so full and satisfying was found to be merely a sliver compared to what I now realize – and yet I’m sure still pales in comparison to what shall be revealed.
Welllllll (*streeeetch & yawwwn!) that about sums it up. I imagine I’ll remember things and come back to edit this a couple of times, but other than that I will close the book on 2009 with precious memories, a smile, and a sense of peaceful closure, as well as anticipation for what lies ahead.
I’ll close with a similar reply to Sarah’s ’08 sum up blog:
We have, ONCE AGAIN
And LIVED MORE
in one year than some people do their WHOLE LIVES …
God is good. ALL the time 🙂