Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: An Open Letter

Dear 2013,

Here we are counting down the last few hours until you will say your goodbyes. I'm not going to lie, I can not wait to see you leave. I have every intention of cheering you out the door while I turn and welcome 2014 with open arms. I know it seems harsh and unfair, but let's face it: you haven't been that good to me.

During the last 365 days, I have seen my heart broken not once...but twice. I stood by helplessly while all my big plans changed. I got a divorce. I suffered through my turn on the merry-go-round of gossip. I struggled through my first full-time semester of school in 4 years. Yes, the last 365 days have needless to say been pretty rough on this girl. There were LOTS of tears, sleepless nights, and moments when the heartache felt as if it would never cease. When I think back on my last New Year's Eve, I remember smiling at all the promise I thought you held. I have since learned that you, 2013, were not about hope and promises. You were meant to teach me lessons-hard lessons. Lessons that I won't soon forget. As the saying goes, "There are years that ask questions, and years that answer." You definitely answered. Loudly and clearly. I didn't miss a single word you said or a single moment you meant to etch on my heart. And I see now more than ever that you were my turning point-the end of a brillant, yet painfully hard chapter. And as excited as I am to see you go, I know that I owe you so much gratitude.

So thank you, 2013.

Thank you not only for the lessons learned, but for all of the moments-good and bad-that have lead me to where I am today. Thank you for the goodbyes I will never forget, but that needed to be said. Thank you for the late nights that were full of laughter and freedom that I had never experienced until this summer. Thank you for growing my relationship with my best friend-my champion. I don't know what I would do without her. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a better mother. Thank you for an amazing big girl job that I didn't even know was out there. Thank you for those moments with my sisters that were made of pure strength, love, and a bond that no amount of hardship can tear apart. Thank you for those days that make me strive every day to be the woman my beautiful daughter thinks I am. Thank you for wine nights and allowing me to find my inner voice so I could start writing again. Thank you for songs that have helped me define the woman I am and the woman I am becoming. Thank you for sleepovers with silly kiddos, park dates, and nights that were finally spent at home instead of at a bar. Thank you for a new found independence from my cell phone. Thank you for allowing me to find my way back to the faith I thought I had lost. Thank you for all of these moments and more. Thank you for allowing me to truly find myself this year. I actually kind of like the girl in the mirror again, and I'm excited to see where she's going.

Don't worry, 2013, I know that 2014 isn't going to be perfect. I'm sure there will be curve balls and more lessons to be learned as I navigate the waters of single motherhood, dating, and finishing school. But, for the first time in a long time, I'm not scared of what the future holds, because you have given me the opportunity to rebuild my life from rock bottom. I am stronger than I have ever been because of you.

Yes, you were filled with some of the hardest days I have ever known, but without those days I wouldn't have the joy and hope I have for the future. God truly used you to teach me, refine me, and bring me back to Him. And if I have learned anything at all from you, it's that God truly does work ALL things together for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.

You know what?! He isn't done with me, 2013. Not even close. And I truly cannot wait to see what He has planned for me in the coming year.

So, this is goodbye, 2013. It's been real. While I'm sure I won't miss you at all, I know I wouldn't be the girl I am today without you and that is something I will never forget.

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