The Year of Intentionally Brave
Reflecting on this past year and all that I’ve overcome. Today I celebrate the blessing of finding the beauty in my brokenness and becoming intentionally brave.
Today is December 31, 2017. As I sit down to reflect over the past year, it seems nearly impossible to put it into words. This year was filled with incredible opportunities, challenges and moments that caught me by surprise. Isn’t that the beauty of life though? We don’t know what lies ahead… and sometimes that is the scariest feeling in the world, until we begin to see our life become beautiful in the unweaving of what God has designed.
I began 2017 a year into my weight loss journey. A journey that I knew was going to take blood, sweat, tears and YEARS. When I committed to this healthy lifestyle in 2015, it was indefinitely. There was no finish line. No end date. This was it.
The last “day one”.
Every year instead of a list of resolutions I choose a word that I want to serve as a reminder for what I want in the upcoming 12 months. Last year, the word I chose was “intentional”… a very close second option was “brave”. Being intentional is something that takes a lot of effort on my part, and I felt like I actually lived bravely far more than intentionally… until someone commented on one of my Instagram posts that they thought I was intentionally brave in 2017. And that stopped me in my tracks. I did exactly that. I put myself out there for the world to see, exposed all my flaws and the secrets I’d kept hidden for so long.
Every time I shared my brokenness I was INTENTIONALLY BRAVE.
Every time I owned my struggle I was INTENTIONALLY BRAVE.
Every fear I exposed made me INTENTIONALLY BRAVE.
So, my “one” word for 2017 turned into two, intentional and brave. And really without realizing it, I encompassed both. What I learned this year, is that the people who love truly love and appreciate the person you are, love you more when you expose your truth. The people who don’t, tend to walk away… and I’ve learned it’s totally ok to let them do so.
Because, I am left with a tribe I never expected. A tribe of women who encourage, motivate and inspire the heck out of me. A tribe who truly knows me, knows my struggle and reminds me of my strength. How beautiful to blossom into myself by shedding perfection and owning my beautifully broken journey, and being left with people alongside me who “get me”.
I am so thankful. So incredibly thankful.
God does not promise us a life without hardships. He does promise us that when we face those hardships, that He will be there, if we allow Him in. That’s the difference this time. That’s why I know this time is different than all the other attempts at getting my health under control. God is in total control of this journey of mine. He can do far more than I could dream, and giving him the reigns has been freeing. And scary. And exciting.
I know that my God is an awesome God and that my journey serves a bigger purpose, far greater than I could ever imagine. Years ago, when I was lying on the bathroom floor at 258 pounds crying out for help, but unable to grasp the work that had to be done… He knew then that I would be here today. Thank God I didn’t know, because the journey He put me on has been such an unexpected surprise and one I am so incredibly grateful for today. It has taken YEARS to become grateful for the pain. Grateful for a husband who loves me through it all. Grateful for second chances and the ability to constantly change, grow and become whoever we want to be… knowing that I am allowing God to lead the way.
2017 was a year of explosive change and growth. I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned the last year and the experiences I’ve had. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have struggle. I did. But, after years of letting the darkness define me… I’m stepping into the light and celebrating all the GOOD that God did this year.
Here is my Top 10 List for 2017
- Starting my own blog. I attended a blog conference in May with Jennifer (I’m her Virtual Assistant for Slow Cooker Gourmet) and God planted a seed that weekend about sharing my own story on a blog instead of just Instagram. I’m so thankful for that weekend!
- I ran in my first 5k in years and ran/walked my first 10k!
- Joining the Bar Method community. It has changed my body from the inside out and helped me build core strength and feel so much stronger, allowing me to have significantly less back pain. Plus, the friendships I have made there have been wonderful and inspiring!
- Going on an adults only vacation to Mexico with some of our best friends. It was truly the best trip we’ve had since our honeymoon! Next stop.. Napa (someday!)
- Taking my family to Disneyworld and being able to fit comfortably in the airplane seat and ride EVERY ride I wanted to. Also, walking around in shorts for 5 days… I haven’t done that since I was a kid!
- Taking over the Weight Watchers Instagram page and becoming a Weight Watchers Ambassador. It is an honor to represent the amazing company that has helped me get my life back!
- Sharing my journey with body image with the Mom’s Group at my church. I was so nervous to speak in front of so many women about my struggles, but God proved to me that He was in control that day and I was just the messenger.
- Losing 100 pounds after almost 2 years on the Weight Watchers program. That day will forever be a TOP TEN in my life!
- Reaching goal at Weight Watchers. I started the first time in 4th grade and had never reached goal… so to do so at 35 years old was pretty special to me!
- The one I’m most proud of? Being their Mama. Learning from them each and every day and watching the boys that God gave my husband and I become amazing little people. Of all the things I am proud of… they are the first.
2017 was good to me. After several years of struggle I finally had a year that gave me hope. It gave me the courage to dream again. And dreaming is exactly what 2018 is going to be made of.
Thank you for being a part of my journey. Thank you for celebrating with me, encouraging me, supporting me and allowing me to be ME. Of all the things I am thankful for, it’s for the people who have watched me find myself and celebrated the person I’ve become.
I am wishing you all a new year full of blessings. I am wishing you a new year full of God’s grace and peace. Surrender your life to Him… and watch as He turns it into your own beautifully broken journey.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to leave you with something from the Book of Common Prayer, which is called “For Quiet Confidence”. This is what I find when I read your blog and your posts:
O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thank you, JP
Thank you for your recap of 2017. Makes me realize I, too, have so much to be thankful for this past year. Love the one word idea. I’m thinking of my one word for 2018!
Thank you, Carolyn! Wishing you an amazing 2018!
Amy I just listened to your journey that you gave to the mom’s group at your church. I just wanted to thank you for sharing. I really needed to hear this. Thank you. God bless you.
Thank you, Tammy. I am so glad it spoke to you.