It’s New Year’s Eve, 2016 – a crazy, awful year for celebrity deaths, political mayhem of unseen proportions, and a year that I found myself having a difficult time trying to say anything good about. My daily Facebook memories reminded me of other years where I had something really great and hopeful to say to everyone; thoughts on personal growth or times I was able to bless others. This year just felt, well, blah. I even told my niece that I had to really sit down and think about it, if I had anything positive to offer at all.
And that’s what I did. I sat down. In front of my vision board. With my Bible open. With my heart open. And I just talked to God. Out loud. And I started with my complaints, my unanswered prayers, my unfulfilled hopes, dreams, and plans. I prayed, if it be His will, that everything on that vision board come to pass in 2017. I told Him that I was sorry if I seemed ungrateful, because honestly, this year saw me blessed in many areas. As I sat and complained to Him, my thoughts turned to what I did have…first of all, my son, who – while we don’t always see eye to eye, is an amazing young man, smart, witty, kind, talented. I’m so thankful that God allowed me to have him even when I felt unprepared and not ready, even when I still feel like I failed as a parent. God allowed me to mother him and is still allowing growth and lessons through that very special bond. Secondly, my friends, who are truly like my family. I recalled how I met two of my closest female friends and how God allowed them to each be vulnerable with me, and I with them, so that a closeness more like family was ushered in. He allowed me to be there during divorces, and major life changing moments, where my loyalty and friendship was proven to them, and theirs to me, even if it just meant I helped shampoo carpets when one had to move out of her home due to the divorce. We’ve seen each other through blood, sweat, tears, and sometimes, even pee. LOL (That’s an inside joke.) God allowed us to meet, and they opened their hearts and allowed me in. That’s not always easy for people to do, and I’m grateful that they had the courage to be vulnerable and that they trusted me with their darkest secrets and their brightest joys and that we’ve been family for over 20 years.
Lastly, I thought about how He has kept me. 2016 saw some of my darkest moments personally, times where I completely felt like giving up and giving in, but in my prayer time, it was revealed to me how God truly is the giver and sustainer of life. I had always heard people say things like that, but it was like He came down, wrapped His arms around me, and had a gentle conversation with me: “Don’t you know I love you? Don’t you know that through every loss you’ve endured, pain that you thought would surely kill you, it was me holding you up? Don’t you know that I am here for you, uplifting you, and fighting for you when you just can’t fight any more? It’s me, Brandy! I’ve been here holding you up all along. I’m not going to let you fall now!”
I recently saw another Facebook post from a casual friend who lost her only parent last year and has been consumed with grief and navigating life without her beloved mother. She admitted that she attempted suicide this year, but thankfully, her attempt failed. She proclaimed that He is a keeper and I agree with her. No matter the fears, the doubts, the lack of strength to get up and keep trying, when I fell to my knees and cried “I can’t do this anymore!” it was He who held me until I could get up again. Only a loving, all powerful, merciful God can do that. That was my biggest spiritual breakthrough of 2016.
So what not much earth shattering or explosive happened to me for the positive in 2016…no new car, house, Louis bag, or other material gains, though my career is going great (another blessing, another blog). No, the love of my life didn’t show up and sweep me off my feet either, but what did happen was that I was kept, sustained, held, given a chance to see a new year that, who knows, may usher in some of those earth shattering, explosive blessings that I’ve been praying for. And that chance is enough. It’s all I need, and I am grateful. Plus, did I mention that I won the Powerball in 2016, but just the Powerball…won $6!! 2017 – I’m winnin’ it all! Happy New Year everybody! Praise God for keeping you all! Love y’all!
Addendum: The holidays typically do see an increase in suicides, and while I did NOT attempt to take my life, I know people who did. If you or a loved one have suicidal thoughts or tendencies, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For further information visit them on the web at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Your life is a beautiful thing. You are needed, loved, and valued.