It’s today. Gosh, I looked forward to this day for a full year now. I had this feeling in my gut that today would look totally different from where I was a year ago today. And it really really does! So without further ado, I’ll try to get through this without crying…
41) Go to a “midnight premiere”: I had to finally put this in quotation marks because I realized that there is no such thing as this any more. Nope, you can go a day early but at like 7 PM. Movie theaters don’t do the midnight thing any more. Oh well! I was the first one to watch Part 2 of the Mockingjay at this theater in this city in this state, so I’m going to count it. lol
42) Operation Christmas Child: This is one of the things on my bucket list to remind me to give back a little bit. I realize that this has been a very self-centered/self-expressive journey but this is also important. That, and I LOOOOOOVE Christmas time. It makes me sentimental.
43) Complete DivorceCare: I’m not going to lie, I didn’t finish this study with my original group. I quit going after Russ and I started seeing each other. The people in my group were seriously hurting and frazzled and the last thing I wanted to do was be like “Hey y’all, I won the reconciliation LOTTERY!!!!”. But seriously, this is an amazing amazing resource. I don’t care if you are still married, recently divorced, or went through it years ago- this is a great support group environment. http://www.divorcecare.org/findagroup I don’t care when it starts/started, you can go any time. It’s priceless.
44) Start a new job: Yeah, I’m going to count this because everything was so crazy and up in the air at this point and then I started my new job and had to start building a database and doing this much-more-intense work stuff and by golly it earned another spot in my 52 weeks. Yay for getting my act together at work!
45) Clean out my closet: This started out as a whole different idea when I wrote it down last February. But what it ended up being was getting rid of the old to make room for the new… literally. I made room for Russ to be in my closet. In fact, I made room for him to be in my house, in my life, in my heart. Throwing away 6 garbage bags of unflattering junk I’ll never wear again was just a byproduct. 😉 I will say, I didn’t take Russ seriously until he agreed to move in with me. It was a big shock. I have spent so much time trying not to need anything to make relationships as easy as possible that when I blurted out “I need you here all the time” I was expecting excuses or a brush-off but Russ really listened to me. He dropped everything to come rebuild something real. And that’s when I knew this was serious.
46) Read 12 books in 12 months: I love to read, but I don’t always take the time to read. But books inspire me, and for my birthday Kevin (yes, THAT Kevin) got me a Ravenclaw-edition set of the Harry Potter books (some of my faves) and I’m not even going to pretend that they didn’t eat up a big chunk of this goal. I also worked on the Game of Thrones series, several self-help novels, and an embarrassing number of trashy vampire romance novels. Moving on…
47) Purchase a power tool: Because seriously this needed to be on the list somewhere and it feels kinda awesome to use my new leaf blower. It feels akin to turning up the music in my car until I can’t hear myself sing along badly. It’s fun!
48) Find a church home: This was another thing I was HOPING would happen this year but it ultimately revealed itself in an unexpected and even better way. Russ is not big into church but when we started dating (this time) I told him church had become really important to me and I wanted to build on that foundation. That being said, I wanted to be somewhere where we could grow as a family. I took him to the church I grew up in, just because I love it there and it feels like home and the people are nice. I also took him to the church I went to DivorceCare at which is a bit more flashy and anonymous. He actually chose my home church. And we met with the pastor, and we found a Sunday school class, and we joined. Like official, and everything. I’m still a little in awe of this one. Totally a God thing.
49) 12 Fine Arts Events in 12 Months: This one was really fun, and also important to me when I started this journey. Music and fine arts has always been a part of my life and I’ve missed it. So I made it a point last summer to buy tickets to a bunch of Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performances. Some I went alone, some I had a date, one I even had like 15 tickets to and we all had a blast! I had to count the Living Christmas Tree at church and my son’s Christmas pageant to get all 12 in, but I did it!
50) Take my vitamins every day for a whole year: Yes, I actually did this. It was part of my commitment to make it a point to take care of myself, in any small fashion I could manage every day. Every. Single. Day.
51) Read Scripture every day for a whole year: I won’t lie to you (especially after making it all the way down here…) but I changed this from “read my Bible” to just “read Scripture” because I made it a point to post Bible verses in my house on the walls and some days all I could manage was to stop and read Jeremiah 29:11 on my way in or out of my house. But every single day I was at the very least reminded of a promise of God, and some days that one promise was what I had to cling to.
52) Talk to God every day for a whole year: Oh man, I’d like to tell you that I got good at prayer. Like, “War Room” level praying with a room and a journal and a “get thee behind me satan!” but you know what? Sometimes I just talked to my steering wheel, or cried out in the middle of my tears for God to send me even one ray of comfort, or yelled wordless curses at the ceiling because how could God let this happen, or treated God like a journal entry- here’s what happened today, hope You’re here, hope You show up again tomorrow. And He did- even when I was hurting, and sad, and angry, and scared, and impatient, and questioning, and not even happy to be there. God showed up every day. I didn’t always like it, but I knew He was there with me. I can’t deny that God has intervened in my life, because He has managed to make things happen I never could have orchestrated on my own. I also can’t deny that He clearly loves me very much to intervene the way that He has. It was always high on my priority list to do better about talking to God, but this year I really tested Him. I talked about it all- the good, the bad, the ugly. I asked Him for help. I gave God His power back in my life. And look what He has done.
It’s ok if you don’t believe like I do. I hope my story at least resonates with you on some level. I took the darkest day in my life and turned it into a reason to trudge forward. It wasn’t always easy or fun, but by the end of it I was through that dark day and then a little bit more. I’m glad I didn’t end my life a year ago. I’m glad things worked out even better than what I had planned. If you’re lost in that place I was in, I’m telling you that it won’t last forever unless you choose to stay there. You can choose to get up and walk through the door of depression or addiction and face it head on. I wouldn’t say that if I hadn’t done it.
And here I am, bawling tears of joy because I have been given the most precious gifts I never thought to ask for. God is here with me and cares for me. My beloved husband has come home and not because I whined or begged or changed for him or blackmailed him… because he wants to be here. I have my family with me, and I am certain that together we can face whatever comes. There is hope. And after 52 weeks, I finally believe it for myself.