When 2015 Ends

I'm going to be tempted to say // Good Riddance, 2015. Don't let the door hit you. Peace out. I'm done with you. Please don't ever come back.

Note some of my frequently used emojis. Storm clouds, tsunami waves, cover your eyes, thumbs down, tears, broken hearts, and poop interspersed with occasional heart eyes, smiles, and winks. That pretty much sums up 2015.

Dramatic? Maybe a little. But in my defense, this has been a hard year. Rehashing 2015 has not left me with the cheeriest thoughts. Looking back I almost wonder how I even made it all 365 days. There may have been a few meltdowns along the way, but no doubt there were also some exceptionally wonderful moments that got me through the not so good. I started out the year feeling eagerly hopeful for the year to come. I even wrote an entire blog post setting goals and sharing the word God had given me for the year // flourish.

An excerpt from my beginning of the year post:
"Just the word itself just brings to mind a bouquet of flower buds that look so delicate and small but overnight burst open into an array of colors with so much life and vibrancy. When I started to think about the upcoming 365 days, I want to experience growth in my relationship with God. The difference is that I don't want to just grow, I want to flourish."
What I didn't realize is that no flower has ever flourished without rain. I foolishly and immaturely imagined that flourishing would be an overnight process and that I would have the best year yet. That was all fairytale logic {wouldn't be the first time I've gotten caught up in that}. And boy did the rain come. Like I said, I'm not saying there weren't great times had this year, but overall, this year just brought more rain that I had ever imagined. So maybe flourishing looks a little different than I had originally thought.

Nonetheless, God is good. He is faithful even in the rain. I can now say at the end of 2015 that if rain is what is takes to flourish, Jesus, bring the rain. Skipping to the last two paragraphs is advised, but if you're bored, here's a little look into my rain and occasional rainbows:

January // Completed my 1st Half-Marathon. All the praise hands here. Two blog posts displaying not only my hope but also my fear for the upcoming year: Outplanning the Planner and Abide. Started the Beth Moore Bible Study, Children of the Day, as well as my first seminary class and signed up for free counseling at the seminary first chance I got(more on that at a later time).

February // Decided to step out on faith and commit to going on a trip to EA when I knew I didn't have the money. Followed God's leading to post We're In This Together and by the end of the month (actually more like by the end of that day), God had graciously and faithfully provided all the funds for me to go. And also celebrated my 1st Mardi Gras which was an absolute blast!

March // Met with some serious hardships surrounding but not attributed to my 26th birthday. Not to say they weren't hardships ongoing beforehand, but things really came to a head in March. I just couldn't hold the struggle in any longer. My finances and my heart were in complete disarray which was poured out into If My Heart Is Overwhelmed and When the Struggle Isn't Obvious.

April & May // Brought the most extreme ups and downs of the year. Spent Easter at home with my family, excitedly welcomed my childhood best friend's first child into this world, let go of some wallflower tendencies, went to a David Crowder concert, attended my 1st ever NBA Playoffs game between the Pelicans and the Warriors, participated in Secret Church, got to see my best friend for the first time in almost a year, attended my 2nd ever NBA Playoffs game between the Grizzlies and the Warriors, won an Instagram contest/giveaway, and completed my first year of working with Jefferson Parish Schools.

But I also experienced anxiety, stress, heartache, panic attacks, and fear. Hence the post Fear, Foothold, and Flood. On April 22, my mom called to tell me that she had gotten abnormal results back from her annual mammogram. In the aftermath of that news, I could only write these words in One Day. Longest month of my life walking that path with my family until on May 26 when we finally got the final test results clearing her of any cancer. Truly, I can only attribute that to a miracle of God. Praise the Lord. That same exact week, there was some unexpected drama in my life as well as the beginnings of what became an ongoing and chronic {ridiculous} sickness with unknown causes.

June // Started the journey at the very end of May into the beginning of June to my favorite place on earth. But despite being the place my heart holds so dearly, I have never been so sick in my entire life. Again it was only a miracle of God that I made it through the trip, because there are few things as miserable as being sick on an airplane or a foreign country. Aside from how sick I was, I still count that week as a highlight of my year being able to love on those students and share about my own personal story with God as well as His plan for them. There is honestly no greater joy.

July // Spent a week at Garaywa as the camp missionary which is still such a surreal experience to me considering it was a childhood dream of mine fulfilled for the 2nd time. Through the summer months, God put my relational skills to a test, and I failed miserably as noted in I Make Me Crazy. I also reflected on the year thus far in The Joy of The Lord is my Strength. At end of the month, my best friend in the world came to stay with me in NOLA. All of our adventures can be found under the Instagram hashtag #JandKtakeNOLA. I could not have asked for a better week spent with her sharing our love for EA at a church in Mississippi as well as with kids at FBNO's Vacation Bible School. My roomie and I went to Outcry 2015 as drenched rats, but despite that, it stands out as a highlight of my year. The following day I chopped off my cherished long hair as dramatically narrated in Let's Get Real // Hair Edition.

August // Dedicated the entire month to intentionally pray for how to handle a deeply personal and very important matter. Other than that, the month was mostly unremarkable. I started my 2nd year with Jefferson Parish Public Schools with a new SLP coworker whom I love {as I also had to say goodbye to my old SLP worker as she moved to Hawaii}. Went tubing with good friends.

September // Started with a bang (the good type of course) as I made the 2 hour trip north to spend the weekend with some relatively new but amazing friends and their family. As I have mentioned over and over, I am so thankful for families who take me in and make me feel so special and loved. After spending all of August praying, God gave me an answer to my prayers, so I went forward with hashing out some logistics and coming out with an unfavorable answer. I wish it had ended there, but it didn't. Halfway through the month after having to say goodbye to my best friend and send her back to EA without me, I had to sever all ties in another area of my life to protect my own heart. Which needless to say left me reeling and heartbroken as well as writing How to Help a Friend Who's Hurting.

October // Attempted round 2 of the Write 31 Days challenge held every October on Redeeming the Waiting Place. Camping with Level Ground youth, visiting family and friends, attending friends' wedding, and going to a Saints' game. Oh and completely my 2nd half marathon with good friends. Talk about a whirlwind of a month.

November // Entered the holiday season with high hopes for salvaging what was left of 2015 and even wrote the words Let the Past be the Past. Whether I did that or not is still questionable. The IMB's appointment service came to NOLA along with David Platt, whom God used to shape and form me as a young Christian when he came to preach at our church many years ago. Thanksgiving came before I knew it, and it left me feeling pretty sad and empty. Long story.

December // Determined to revive my meager holiday spirit after Thanksgiving which I wrote about in The Unfairness of it All, God gave me a serious heart check with What If Christmas Isn't About Us At All? I knew something had to give or my Christmas holidays would be a disaster in my heart. Finally. I felt some relief from the heaviness of the year. MET RYAN ANDERSON. Still swooning a little over here. Celebrated the true meaning of Christmas with the amazing friends the Lord has blessed me with in this season. Enjoyed my amazing family for such a sweet time at home. Left social media for the last two weeks of the year to protect my heart from the holiday comparison trap. Oh and bed bugs. But I'm not ready to talk about that yet. Another day.

And there you have it, the recap of my year that you never even asked for. For all the hardships, hurt, and pain of the year, I'm still here. I still believe. I still trust God. I still know He has a plan. I still know that He is faithful. He is still good. He is still with me. He is still fighting for me. He is still pursuing me (even if no man ever does). He loves me.

Just done with 2015. Done with the sickness. the allergies. the bed bugs. {insert my cringing, disgusted face}. the dramatics. Just 24 more hours, and I can officially put an end to this not so great year.