SEE YAAA 2017!
2017. What a year. And how the heck are we already at December 31st!?
I was scrolling through this years photos the past several days reflecting what this year has brought, and taken away. Let's be real, it's been a challenging year, a refining year, and a growing year. A year of loss and heartbreak and a year of pushing past my comfort zones. A year of learning that stability and contentment cannot be found in people, jobs, cities, or travel. A year of learning the reality that in all beauty there is also brokenness, so in all brokenness you can find beauty. A year of learning what it looks like for community to show up, over and over, with a note, a donut, a hug, a listening ear, or all four. A year of learning that Chicago won't aways be easy, won't always be a fun adventure to drive back to from Ohio.
This year God opened my eyes up to see the world in a different light. A world in which, when pain happens, it keeps on turning and if you take the time to look, you'll find redemption and beauty in the pain. A world in which if you let people in to the real, vulnerable side of who you are, they might just let you into the real, vulnerable side of who they are. A world in which we were all created with gifts, but we are also all on a journey to realizing how to use them.
I waltzed right into 2017 giddy and excited to see what the year would bring, imagining bliss and adventure and sweet community. It started with the people I love, with running, with brunch, with cookies and champagne. There were goals of marathon PR's, higher paychecks, travel to new countries, more time in the Word.
While I was dreaming of my perfect 2017, life happened. I lost family members, said goodbye to dear friends, came short of running goals, had an abrupt and challenging career change, and saw some of the most challenging sides of myself surface amongst a tired heart. While my brain still feels full, and my heart still feels tired, I daily feel amazed at the joy this year brought to me. I gained friends who understand, hear, and show up. I watched my Gospel Community family change entirely, and grow closer weekly. I traveled to Iceland, experiencing parts of the world I had never dreamed I would see. I treated myself to coffee shop days, journaling mornings, and sweatpants afternoons, realizing that alone time is far more important to me than I ever knew. I witnessed marriages and new babies. I watched my nieces each grow a little taller and a whole lot smarter, with conversations filled with I love you Aunt Devin, I miss you, and when are you coming back from Chicago? I ate donuts and ran races, and took a couple steps in the direction of learning what balance looks like with health, pushing out consuming thoughts about imperfections. I learned that while I experienced challenging road blocks in a career I love, that new career journeys can begin to heal my beliefs about what I am capable and worthy of. I experienced selfless love side by side with my Dad during the Chicago Marathon as I slowly watched my goals slip out of my hands. I felt over and over the deep love and care from my mom on phone calls that were hours long. I watched sunrises and sunsets, I confirmed the belief that biking is the best way to get from point A to point B. I listened to and shared stories, learning that our lives are an ever changing journey that fits together like a puzzle when we look back and reflect. Most importantly, I have learned that the Lord is so very present. He knows our hearts, our dreams, our gifts, our paths. He feels our heartbreak, he sees our tears, he knows our anger. He is our unfailing provider, who can be trusted. With every challenging step this year, God was there saying "I got you. I'm here." if I opened my eyes to it.
So. There's my babble about 2017. Refining. Beauty in the pain. Joy in the mundane.
I'll be honest and say I'm pretty thrilled to say "SEE YAAAA 2017!!" but I am doing that knowing that no year is perfect. There will always be beauty, but some years you have to squint to see it.
Bring it on, 2018.