For the first time in over a month, I have felt compelled to click on this ever familiar “Add New Post” button.  I think it’s the longest I’ve been away from here, and I’ve been distant for a while before that too.

I never feel the need to explain or apologize any time away from social media or the internet world, I think that is pretty self explanatory to anyone.  Everyone needs time away sometimes.

I do, however, feel the need to explain myself a bit coming back.

This year has been weird.  Seriously, and also terribly, weird.

My sister passed away this year, out of the clear blue, and that started a landslide in my life.

I had so many plans and ambitions and dreams and goals for this year.  Having my sister die was so not part of that plan.

After the funeral, I was in bed for weeks.  I’ve dealt with a slew of medical issues like stomach ulcers, insomnia, panic attacks, severe depression, loss of appetite, weight, hair.  Medicine for some symptoms amplified others.. It was months of in and out of doctors offices and back to bed, while praying I could still have the energy each day to mother my children.  I went from being in the best shape of my life – I was actually on an easy 3 mile stroll when I got the call about my sister – to barely being able to roll out of bed without feeling utterly exhausted and ready to climb back in.  It’s been a dark few months, to say the least.  The worst of which I’m just now realizing I’ve started to be able to put behind me.  (So glad my poor stomach is on the mend!)

After months of walking through debilitating grief, relentless depression, and raging anxiety, it was easy to feel like I was being crushed from the inside out.  It was the first time in my adult life that I fell so completely short of the task at hand, cleaning up the mess of what has been left of the hole my sister has left behind.  No time more than this year have I had to lean on God more than ever and throw my hands in the air and say “I literally cannot fix this, God.  You’re going to have to, and I am going to have to lay here — literally lay here in bed, because that’s all I can do right now, and let you.”  Go figure, that’s the hardest thing I’ve EVER had to grasp… to actually let go.

Along with all of that huge basket of issues, dealing with trauma from my past that the trauma from my present has brought up, the business life I have had to let go (what 1500 emails????), adjusting to a totally new life and neighborhood and school setup, and circling the corner to my 30th in a couple of months.  It has felt exactly like TOO MUCH, absolutely too much.  And I have had a hard time reconciling my current life with the one of my past, when I seemed to have a dream and direction and vision.

Like I said, landslide.  And I have had nothing really to say about it.  No one wants to hear about that kind of stuff.  Everyone deals with the terrible hands life sometimes throws – so what on earth makes my story so special?  Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Except for this morning, after months of quiet acceptance that maybe my story here was over, I had a thought: Maybe it’s that my story isn’t special at all.

So many kids come from broken homes, make the best of it, hustle to make money and keep bills paid, turn their lives to the Lord and finds peace in that path through life’s struggles.. it’s not a unique story… it’s essentially every christian’s story. Brokenness to wholeness, right?

But maybe my story is so un-unique, that it’s so un-special, that you have likely dealt with at least one or two of the very same hard things I have.  And at least one or two of the wonderful things I have.  And you realize that I am not special, but I am human, just like you.  And our jobs were never to be in competition with each other, but for Heaven’s sake, to connect and love one another and learn from one another.

And so I’m going to start opening up about this awful, human-y stuff, and how I’ve dealt with it (physically laying in bed for sometimes weeks is a spoiler alert).  I have not handled my life in any sort of triumphant way, but only the best way I could at the time.  Sometimes fists swinging (lots of times, I’m a spitfire).. and sometimes sobbing in bed and trying to let my own husband in to that super vulnerable space.  Sometimes having only God to open up my heart to.

It has felt cowardice at times, but it has been my best.  This year has knocked me down physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  But I’m sitting here now through the hopefully worst 8 months of it, and I’m looking forward to a brighter future.  Something I can’t say I could do even a few weeks ago.

The sun is shining today in my heart, but that isn’t always the case.  I’ve dealt with a lot of dark things in my life, and they sometimes cloud up my present perspective.  I’ve had a lot of rejection, a lot of chaotic relationships.  I’ve had to overcome a lot of ideas I’ve had about myself, about love, and more so my worthiness to receive love.  I’ve had a lifetime of feeling like I was never enough, and instead started believing the idea I so want to believe, that I AM ENOUGH.  That I can get through this awful year, that I will feel myself again, God willing.  That this chapter of my life will mold me into a more whole and loving human, that my heart will bleed love for anyone else who is struggling.  That I can be a vessel of God’s love through my very own brokenness.

I met my husband and God in the same year, after what had been the darkest and most trying of my life.  A year that I nearly didn’t make it through.  They began to love me it seemed at the same time, and at the very time I needed it most.  I needed it to survive.  And this year, of all the years, I learned what it means to have a foundation of God and marriage to lean on through the most humbling of hours in life.  I am grateful for that foundation in my life, and that I’ve worked diligently on those things over this past decade.

So…. yeah, that’s the heart of it.  Maybe now you can see why life in a fishbowl hasn’t been something I could do this season.  Chatting about beauty and style and all the happy details of life – that I do so love and hoooope I’ll be back to seeing soon – hasn’t been a possibility for me right now.  But on the chance that you too are a complicated, mistake-making, deep-feeling human… I am going to start showing up again for you.  And for me.  Because I too am a complicated, mistake-making, deep-feeling human.

There’s a lot of hard experience that creates a good soul.  I hope my experiences are shaping me for good, too.