2011 to 2012.

January 11, 2012

2011 was one of those years I would like to tuck away into a drawer in the back of my house, knowing it's there because it will always be there, but not having to really look at it or think about it too much until we move and clean out all of our junk and then maybe I'll throw it into the "garage sale" pile. Not that anyone else would want it or anything.

It was a tough, long year in about every category you can imagine.

The year was littered with one very expensive root canal followed by one very expensive crown

six rocky months of a new marriage we were still trying to figure out

job uncertainties tainted with bitterness

the beginnings of letting Chris' house go to the unruly market

revelations that required much forgiveness

a sick dog three times over

a tenant's unit that fell apart at every glance

having to actually let Chris' house (but the house we lived in together) go to the unruly market

months of searching for a place to rent

more job uncertainties and disappointments

back-to-back surgeries for my other half

financial hardships (due to all of the above)

a dire bout of depression (that I've only recently admitted to)

tears, tears and a whole lot of tears to the point where four times a week was a good week.

By September, I had all but given up. I tucked my head into my shell and told God I was done with 2011. Done, see ya, and I'll skip the next four months if that's okay with You. By October, I had reached the brink of panic about what was to come in the future regarding our marriage, finances, jobs, living situation, family and all of the above. I was done.

But by mid-October, out of nowhere it seemed, an overwhelming peace came over me. So much so that I knew, without a doubt, that 2012 was going to be a very good, very big, very rewarding year. I carried that peace with me over the last three months knowing that January of 2012 would be refreshing. And it has been filled with a renewed hope thus far.

As you might recall, my word of the year last year was grace. I had vowed to list 1,000 graces, but came short of 700. After typing that list out above, I can see how it was hard to find the grace in anything, much less the minute, routine, every day happenings. I was lacking the minute, routine, every day happenings. Nothing seemed routine anymore. My lack of listing out enough graces had been stewing inside me, this feeling of failure. I couldn't even come up with 1,000 great things? I couldn't even live up to the word I chose?

However, maybe that was the appropriate word after all.

Did I give grace? Hardly.

Did I seek out grace? Rarely.

Did I list my graces as promised? If I remembered.

But did I receive grace? Daily.

Did I learn to give myself grace? Hourly.

When I failed daily at my marriage and felt I deserved more than I was given and was wrongly accused and had to let the American dream slip out of my hand just for a bit and realized that money is fragile and that relationships are fragile, too, and that I am really nothing, nothing, without God... I was giving myself grace and finally accepting the grace He had given to me long, long ago. I let myself be real and okay and normal. I let myself feel hurt because I was hurt. I let myself cry because that's the relief I needed. I let myself be okay with the worldly problems around me because this world is temporary, anyway.

And that grace and peace carried me through 2011 into 2012. Finally.

This year? My word is hope.

What's yours?
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