What I Learned Through The Fall

My life fell apart last year. (You probably already know this.)

Everything I thought I was building, working toward, establishing, was suddenly gone. My marriage was crumbling as soon as it began, or if we’re honest, in the on-off years leading up to it, and no matter how hard I tried, I was alone. I was exhausted daily. I could barely focus at work. My friendships and family were neglected. I wasn’t taking care of myself by exercising and eating well. I drank too much wine. I rarely spent time on the hobbies and projects I wanted to. All of my time and energy was endlessly poured into my marriage, and I was equally generous and resentful with the attention I was giving toward it. I exerted everything to try to make it work, to prove my value to someone that refused to see my worth.

When life was falling apart, I was angry, bitter, resentful. Defeated. Neglected. Abandoned. Unloved. I lost 25 lbs in five weeks. I looked sick, and I felt sicker.

It didn’t happen instantly, there wasn’t a defining moment when it turned. It was gradual over time, the way leaves change color in the fall. The tree is blazing with radiant oranges, reds, and yellows, leaves that changed over time, becoming the most beautiful version of themselves. Slowly, then all at once. The fall is unexpectedly beautiful.

There’s so much good that can come from the bad.
There’s a plan at work, even though you can’t see in front of you right now.

Be easy on yourself.
Forgive your shortcomings.
Be proud of your progress.
Practice gratitude.
Laugh about something.

I’m so thankful for the past year. It is a year I’ll remember with such joy and thankfulness. A year of courage, immense growth, redefining, and becoming. Of fiery resiliency, rooted determination, and gratitude that bloomed in every area of my life.

It’s been the best year of my life.

Without this year:

I wouldn’t have started my blog.
I wouldn’t have had the time and energy to run 15 miles every week.
I wouldn’t have started cooking more, letting negative feedback and rejection overpower.
I wouldn’t be as strong in my faith as I am today.
I wouldn’t have bought a house.
I wouldn’t have become closer with every one of my family members.
I wouldn’t have the level of transparency and authenticity in my friendships I do today.
I wouldn’t have made such amazing connections and been able to talk openly and honestly with other’s reading my blog who are experiencing the same hurts, troubles, and disappointments in life.
I wouldn’t have traveled spontaneously to visit my sisters.
I wouldn’t have said yes to a trip with a friend to South Dakota.
I wouldn’t have established my sense of self worth.
I wouldn’t be damn proud of the woman I am today.

I wouldn’t have fallen in love.
First with myself.
Then with my life.
Then with Cody.

This is it. This is what I want you to know, because I’m living its truth right now, a truth I never really believed until I started experiencing it myself.

Things get better. So much better than you can imagine right now.

It might not be in the way you’d plan for yourself, or in the ways you’re praying for at this very moment, but it’s happening, a little bit each day, even on the most desolate days you’re sure you’ve lost it all. Things are changing, and there is a future you cannot even imagine right now.

The plot lines of your life are being connected and intertwined by each moment, each experience, and every day, including (and maybe especially)  the bad.  Every time you’re hurt, every time something breaks and life falls apart. There is remarkable beauty emerging from tragedy, and one day you’ll be able to look back and know that the paradise waiting for you was worth any hell life could put you through. It still might not make sense, but we’re not always meant to understand. You can still appreciate, love, and grow.

Things will be lost, abandoned, and stolen from you: relationships, money, health, status. But I promise you there is a plan at work that you cannot see, one that will start to unfold in small joys, little steps, opened doors, and new faces.

My life fell together this year. And this is the story I want you to know.

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