We are just halfway through the calendar year, but for most teachers a year runs September-June.
I wasn’t sure I would make it through this one, but with 1.5 days left I can say with moderate confidence I will make it. Crawling maybe, but I am mostly sure I will make it to the finish line.
As I reflect, it is easy to get caught up in some of the challenges and hardships I faced both professionally and emotionally this year as I battled some of the most intense anxiety of my life.
It was a hard year.
Nothing impossible, nothing that compares to the suffering many people walk through daily, but it was hard.
While I felt like most of the year I was simply treading water and trying not to go under, I am able to look back now and see small areas of growth and all the blessings that shone through the dark moments. This post is dedicated to those.
Here are the top blessings of this school year:
- My husband
The man is loyal, supportive, understanding and encouraging. He essentially had two full time jobs this year: being a world-class engineer and taking care of me. He did both amazingly well and I have the stack of lunchbox notes to prove it.
2. Our New Bible Study Group
Max and I met through a bible study called BSF about 4 years ago. After the unfolding of our classic Christian love story, we were every young single’s inspiration at the church.
But anyways, the program did decide on a unrelated note to pilot a group of “Young Marrieds” to go through the lessons together at someone’s home. When I heard there were only 3 couples total that signed up, I actually drafted an email to the coordinator to back out. I was convinced they were going to be total weirdos and it was going to be awkward and horrible. The groups were usually 12-13 so the probability of finding someone you connected with were much higher.
Turns out, I realized quickly I 100% am the weirdo in the group. The 6 of us have grown into an incredible community. Some of my best memories from the year are Monday nights, sitting in an apartment sipping on tea and growing together. This community of believers was such an encouragement to me.
3. Becoming Chilis rewards members
The only way I can start this one is with regret. Regret that I have gone to Chili’s approximately 600 times and only this year became a Rewards Member. I was so excited to tell my students about it, since I talk about this incredible establishment weekly. Max signed us up and EVERY time we go we get to choose a free app, chips and salsa or a free drink. EVERY TIME. Do you know how much food that is if you do the 2 for 25 deal?? Do you understand? Here is a picture of Max entering in our rewards for the first time.
4. Costa Rica
Whilst in Costa Rica, I came to the mind-blowing discovery that every doctor and mental health professional I have been to got it so wrong. I actually do not have anxiety disorders- I just live in the wrong country. I actually was supposed to be the director of a sailboat excursion. It is so embarrassing for all those people who went to school for so many years and got it so, very wrong. I could talk for hours about what we did there- the Hot Springs, the ocean, the pineapple. It was just pure awesome.
I have a lot to say about this one, but in December I got back into therapy. I saw my therapist on and off for about 3 years, then “graduated” 2 years ago. To work with someone who knows me so deeply and is committed to helping me has been a huge blessing. No picture here, but I have told her frequently that I would like to set up a camera crew during one of our sessions. I think she is worried about HIPAA violations or something. I am clearly not concerned about them.
6. Hosting in Our Tiny House
We have a tiny house. Not like tiny on the tiny house TV shows but small enough where if I am in the kitchen there is no room for you to mosey about. We hosted Easter this year for my family and Max’s family, and had my parents for Memorial Day. Just the blessing of having a space to host people I love hits me occasionally. Our kitchen tile is disgusting and our deck needs staining but we love to have people in our home and eat and laugh and gather. (Pretty sure that’s from a Hobby Lobby sign).
Of course, there were a million other things: my sister’s move to Grand Rapids, new friends and colleagues, watching my nephew grow into the coolest dude in the world, snowfalls and sunshine, little victories at work, and of course the health and well-being of my family.
In the midst of the struggle, there was so much beauty, and sadly when the anxiety is loud and crushing, you sometimes miss it. As my free time increases exponentially on summer break, I hope to refocus on those and the gracious God who gives them. My goal is to simply recover, slow down, breathe and focus on the incredible, abundant ways I am blessed and reconnect with my Savior who never left my side through it all.