If someone would have told me what this decade would look like before I entered it, I think I would have ran in the other direction. Not because of the several growing pains and adversities that were ahead of me, but because I couldn’t fathom someone living through such heartbreak and live to share the story.
And yet here I am – writing to YOU on the last day of the year and this decade. I’m not writing you this to share that I have somehow made it on the other side and discovered some sort of secret sauce on how I’ve managed life. But I will say it hasn’t been on my own.
It was the supernatural strength of God that got me here today.
Let’s look at the last 10 years at a glance:
- 2010: Engaged at 19, balancing full time work & being a student, entered my 20s!
- 2011: 21 & newly married, adjusting to military life, culture shock in a new state
- 2012: Deployment – long distance marriage for almost a year? Yup.
- 2013: Graduated College with a BA in Criminal Justice & Psychology – thought I wanted to be a criminal psychologist, I was way off on this one
- 2014: Career crisis (just like any twenty-something year old), exploring entrepreneurial endeavors such as make up artistry, MLM’s, etc. and ended up starting a beauty blog
- 2015: Moved back home to NJ for a fresh start & rebranded my blog into a lifestyle and beauty platform
- 2016: Felt like the worst year of my entire life. This year marked me and God met me in such special ways
- 2017: The year of loss, thrusted into widowhood, yet God was bringing my life into alignment
- 2018: Trusting God without borders – this meant that God was calling me deeper in ways that didn’t make sense to me
- 2019: Nothing was clear and yet looking back now, everything makes sense. Endured a whole lot of mindset and identity battles, yet God met me time and time again.
As I sit here with my fresh cup of cafe bustelo and almond milk creamer, reflecting on this decade, I have to say, God’s grace was all over my life.
Marriage taught me the beauty of how God chose to love me, as imperfect as I was. It was a reflection of how we ought to love and forgive the way Jesus loves and forgives us.
School taught me work ethic and the true power of caffeine (where are my coffee lovers?)! The education and degree I received was not in vein, but yet another orchestrated piece of how God kept me aligned to His will.
Entrepreneurship challenged me in ways that stretched my creativity and allowed me to discover methods to generate income and take ownership of my own financial freedom. I began to see how natural it was for me to create but I also was confronted with the cycle of poverty mentality that surrounded me. Defeating this poverty mindset was one of the driving forces that ignited my love and respect for entrepreneurship.
Love…… Oh love….. Love felt like the harshest yet most significant teacher of them all. Love taught me both the power of unity and the shattering reality of brokeness. In this decade, my family and I were faced with some of the most gut wrenching good byes, heartbreaking traumas and painful long nights that seemed to never end. In the midst of the darkness and tears, we realized that we were blessed to have each other. God loved on all of us, through the beating hearts of family, and friends that became family.
This decade I experienced the Father’s love in ways I will never be able to put into words. From the palpable presence of God that I contended and wept for within the four walls of my small room in Jersey, to the dreams I had at night that kept hope alive in my heart. All while receiving the daily gift of grace to take one more breath and trust that one day it wouldn’t hurt anymore; were all tangible glimpses of that love.
My heart in sharing this isn’t to say that I’ve somehow arrived to a place where I have figured it all out, it’s quite the opposite. Doing the work to dig deep in your soul exposes so much about the dirt and residue left behind by others and the habitual careless habits engraved in us. It’s evident that as we share in the suffering with Christ, He will also comfort us in ways that will breathe life back into us (2 Cor. 1:5). I have no clue what this new year and decade will present us with, but I am encouraged by the fact that it’s in the hands of a God that is so mindful of our hearts. I am confident that we will experience unspeakable joy on this side of Heaven.
May we FLOURISH, even in the hard spaces of life.
Ps – enjoy this time capsule of photos from the last 10 years.