Lessons From the Dark

David and I are overwhelmed by everyone that has reached out to us after my last post. I would like to reiterate: we are doing okay now! People have asked how they can help. Honestly, we would just love some mail. A handwritten card brightens our day so much. We check the mail everyday, and usually it’s empty (unless it’s a bill, eww). So if you still are wanting to help us, spend 50 cents on a stamp, and write us a letter or draw us a picture ❤ Spread the sunshine.

I have learned so much about myself since we moved, and I wanted to share some of the lessons I have picked up in the past two months (henceforth known as “The Time”). If you are going through a dark time, this is for you. If you are going through a rough time, you can reach out to me as well—I will talk to you, I will pray for you. (I will not give you money, because we still have very little, but everything else, I can give.) Just know that you are not alone. Most people go through a time (or times) where they look for the next steps in life.

It’s okay to make mistakes. Sometimes we take the wrong path. It was well lit, marked with decently clear signs, and had happy, successful people waving you on. It was the right path for them. That doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Maybe “your” path is the one with hardly anyone. Maybe it’s a dark one. Maybe you are going to have to carve your own path through the brush. God’s got plans for all of us, and we don’t always know where we’re supposed to go. During The Time I prayed many prayers, meditated, and bargained with God. “Just give me a sign that this is right for me.”

Before I changed jobs, I made lists, I weighed options, and I thought that Aflac was the best choice I could make for myself and for my family. I was sure of it. But after a month, I realized that I had made a mistake. I should have stuck with the other job. What had seemed like the “safe” option, I had judged as boring. I thought I would get bored. You know what, I was right. Answering phones at Elavon would have been boring. But you know what? The opportunity to move up into a position that I actually love would have been worth it. I had lost sight of what was really important to me while chasing money. I made a mistake.

That’s okay though, because I took my experience, did some reflection, and learned about myself. Now I know more about me and where I can put myself career-wise to best use my strengths and passions (thanks, Ken Coleman). Now I know what I need to work on and what I need to do to get there.

Look forward to the future. So your current situation isn’t ideal—dwell on how great the future will be. We had no money, and we had to be very careful about using more gas than we needed to, about getting extra food, everything. It seemed like we couldn’t breathe. We kept our heads up by thinking and talking about how great it will be once we get on our feet. We have crazy rich dreams like buying more than one cereal at the grocery store. Maybe one day we could buy a dining room table and chairs! Maybe even a bookshelf to get all our books off of the floor. We tried to keep our heads positive by thinking about how great it will be as we keep going. As a plan-lover, I spent time planning what we will do with the money as we get it. What things we could get first—it kept me excited for what is to come.

…but also live in the now. While we looked forward to future happiness, we also tried to focus on the good things in the present. David liked to hit me with the “Tell me 3 good things that happened today.” I’d have to do it. Normally, once you start listing, you can just keep going. There were good things happening even in our darkest times. Sometimes it was as simple as “I went to this dentist office, and this lady named Nancy actually held a conversation with me” or even just “I saw some really cute doggies at the animal hospital.” Some days only one good thing stood out in my mind, but every single day, without fail, I could list at least ten good things. Most were small things, but all of them helped me be grateful for what I was going through and what I still had. I wasn’t making a paycheck, but I had a husband who loves me, a home, water to drink, [some] food to eat, and a bed to sleep in at night. We were okay, and I was very grateful for that.

Keep going. I thought of this a few times: what if I gave up? What would that look like? Would I quit my job and stop paying rent and utilities? Cancel everything and move back home? Give up on being an adult?

No.

You can’t just turn life off. You can maybe pause for day and rest, but come that next sunrise, life is going to keep going. Regardless of whether or not I wanted to, I was going to keep going. I could choose to keep going where I was or I could get a new job and keep going with that—I had to keep moving forward. I kept seeing my friends who live close to here (and who so graciously let us use their laundry machines for free). I kept going to church. Kept reading, kept trying to better myself as a person. You gotta keep going—maybe change directions, but keep moving forward.

Pray. My church had a ladies day this past Saturday, and author Abby Rosser spoke to us about waiting. In her case, she was waiting to adopt her son Ezra, but the focus in her lesson and in one of her books was her relationship with God during all of this waiting. Man, could I relate to everything she learned from her waiting.

I wasn’t waiting on a child, but I had done some of the same things during The Time. I prayed for guidance at least once a day. I prayed for strength, clarity, and some kind of sign whether this was right for me or not. I prayed for God to take my worries and anxieties and for Him to take care of us. I just wanted Him to show me the right path… and He did.

He kept things in my heart and mind that were important to me. He gave me friends who reached out with advice. He gave me resources to guide my passions, and he guided me to where I am now. He is amazing.

So if you are struggling, please reach out to others. We can help you. We have all gone through hard things in our lives. We may not have been through all of the same things, but someone has been through what you are dealing with and can help you. You just have to ask, believe, and keep going.

bp

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