4.13.2015

about 2014, a whole lot of honesty, and a post i call "stepping into the darkness in faith..."

"There are times when we have to step into the darkness in faith, confident that God will place solid ground beneath our feet once we do. And so I accepted gladly, knowing that God would provide." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

this blog has always been a journal of sorts. as the years have passed there have been times when i have been perhaps too forward, and in recent times have been more selective about what i share online. i never mean to be deceptive or cryptic, but i want to cherish the words and pictures here since it is a record i love to keep- a record of my family during what i know will be some of the greatest years of my life! that being said, this post is one that has been in the works for a long time. it is a record i want to share because it is the honest truth:

2014 was the hardest year of my life. 

i know many, many people have it so much harder than i do, but for me personally, i feel like my entire core was gutted- burned to the ground, and all i was left with was a shell- a structure that had no clue how to continue because all i knew was somehow left in ashes. from the outside, life was beautiful. we were blessed with so much- family, friends, good jobs, a wonderful home, and a million things i never want to seem ungrateful for. meanwhile, some circumstances i couldn't control ignited inside- a tiny little smolder i suppose? the following months just burned. burned and burned and burned with no source of where the ignition came from, or how to extinguish that lousy fire.

2014 was a year of tears.

...more tears than i ever want to count. it was a year of counseling and therapy- alone and as a couple. it was spent constantly searching for answers. constantly trying to figure out how to stop the burning, and start rebuilding, but it just didn't happen. deep down in my very core, life was off. i felt horrible- guilty for thinking i was just being selfish, but even worse for not knowing how to trust my gut. growing up i was taught to think for myself, communicate with God, and trust my intuition, but all that seemed to make no sense now that i was an adult. as a wife, as a mom, none of it applied because i wasn't free to make my own decisions anymore- my decisions were velcro'd to the lives of 3 others. i had tried to control my own life, which just made those around me miserable- no one teaches you what to do when you're tried it all.

2014 was a year where i felt completely alone and abandoned. 

i feel like there's some misnomer that when you're "in trouble," all you have to do is reach out for help- you talk, get a solution, and then you move on. in speaking honestly, that was unbelievably contrary to what really happened. "professionals" who are technically resources, weren't. there were more days/nights than i could ever count where i was positive that i was helpless. and alone. and had no choice but to keep going, albeit, miserably. it was really difficult. i wondered where the white flag of surrender was- did you know there isn't one!? some nights you don't sleep, but then the morning comes just the same- the phone rings, bills are due, food needs made, toilets need scrubbed... and no one lets you just "not deal" with life. (i felt incredibly grown up and let down when that epiphany came.) i remember more days than i could count just running early in the morning- running as hard and fast as i could because it was the only way i could get out the pain and frustration and confusion- i cried on most of those runs, and drained my body until i couldn't go on any farther. i literally felt like i was totally and completely falling apart. throughout all of this, i feel like i let sides of myself show that i'm not super proud of; i am weak and human, and was more than frustrated. all i longed for was peace, and for some reason, to which i am still not entirely certain, i couldn't find it- not in a single place. all the usual watering holes were dry. i became more and more and more bitter and sore and excruciatingly, overwhelmingly, unbelievably dehydrated. i could literally feel myself burning down. i feel like i was surrounded by people who are the epitome of springs of hope, but nothing was penetrating the bubble i was in.

2014 was a year to recognize the need for goodbyes. 

this is the part i longed to share- in hopes it would remind me how we got here. see, we had pretty much everything, but we were miserable. it took until late fall for us to decide. that the only thing we hadn't done- the only thing left to do to keep our family's core together- was to leave it all. we were going to walk away from everything, and everyone we loved, everything except us 4. we could fall on our faces. we could lose all the stability we worked for the last decade to create. we could- and would- lose all the things we thought we "wanted," because, apparently, we didn't want them after all. we searched & hunted & pled for an escape. (that made for an even longer couple of months.) those months were a blessing and a curse. we wanted confirmation that this idea wasn't crazy, but we never got it. that was when i started to write all this, hoping it was all going to happen. hoping 2015 would bring change and happiness. we planned a trial trip to nyc in january to escape and think, and mostly to feel, and for the first time, especially together, mike and i felt peace. and direction. and confirmation. and comfort. it will forever be one of the greatest weekends of my life because in that busy, loud, crazy city, i felt something. but it was an entire y e a r after it all began.

We aren’t told all of the circumstances of the disciples as they set out in their boat, but it was toward evening, and certainly it was a night of storm. The winds must have been ferocious from the start. Because of the winds, these men probably never even raised the sails but labored only with the oars—and labor it would have been. We know this because by the time of “the fourth watch of the night” (Matthew 14:25)—that is somewhere between three and six in the morning—they had gone only a few miles. By then the ship was caught up in a truly violent storm, a storm like those that can still sweep down on the Sea of Galilee to this day. But, as always, Christ was watching over them. He always does, remember? Seeing their difficulty, the Savior simply took the most direct approach to their boat, striding out across the waves to help them, walking on the water as surely as he had walked upon the land. In their moment of great extremity, the disciples looked and saw in the darkness this wonder in a fluttering robe coming toward them on the ridges of the sea. They cried out in terror at the sight, thinking that it was a phantom upon the waves. Then, through the storm and darkness—when the ocean seems so great and little boats seem so small—there came the ultimate and reassuring voice of peace from their Master. “It is I,” he said, “be not afraid” (verse 27).

Into every adult human life come experiences like unto the battling of the storm-tossed voyagers with contrary winds and threatening seas; ofttimes the night of struggle and danger is far advanced before succor appears; and then, too frequently the saving aid is mistaken for a greater terror. [But,] as came unto[these disciples] in the midst of the turbulent waters, so comes to all who toil in faith, the voice of the Deliverer—“It is I; be not afraid.” [Jesus the Christ, 3d ed. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1916), p. 337]

i had no idea just how long it would take for peace to return. and how much i still hurt from that long ordeal. i still feel sore- tired and bruised and exhausted and unsteady. i tell mike how much i hate putting up this facade that all is well when it's not, but at the same time, i don't want to look back and see what looks like bliss- 2014 was a year of absolute faking it. and i hated it. i'm seeing now the miracles- i just feel a little confused and beaten up, hoping one day i will understand why it took so long to see them. because i looked. i looked hard, i promise i did! it still is difficult to see where life is taking us- on one hand we're thrilled! this is our time to learn and discover and take risk. it's time to grow together as a family of 4- to fuse our little selves together because we're all that really matters right now. it's also absolutely terrifying. from the moment i accepted this job back east, the miracles started rolling. real, visible, tangible miracles- some of them are beautiful, and others hurt- but they're miracles, and mike and i are working hard to recognize them and trust in faith that they are the answers we pleaded for.

what i want to remember is that this isn't all pretty- this life we're living- it's a deliberate attempt at keeping it all together. it's filled with hard and ugly and lonely moments. we're doing our best to capture the good and hold on to those times because whether we like it or not, life is passing by.

we walked away from it all to try and keep it all together...     
it's an oxymoron, but one we hope we'll look back on years from now and smile looking at the pictures because we did it. we literally stepped (jumped?) off a cliff into the darkness in faith...

"The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know. When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your 'unbelief.' ... I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have." - Jeffrey R. Holland
pictures by mandi nelson.

4 comments:

  1. Hey Amanda, Thanks for this post. It really resonated with me and our family. Thank you for writing from your heart and with truth. Your post was encouraging and I will reread it for sure when I need encouragement. Thanks!

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  2. Amanda! Your openness so so appreciated! Documenting the process you are going through is so relatable and your example of keeping the faith and hope despite feeling empty and directionless for so long is admirable. I think it's a lesson we'll all have to learn at one part of our life or another. Way to endure, and to take this next step for your life.

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  3. I had no idea you were going through so much- so I guess that facade worked. ;) I am so so sorry you went through all of that, but I am so happy that it is all starting to be okay. I will be one of the first to say, being a grown up pretty much sucks most of the time. Outside of our husbands and kiddos, we are bombarded with decisions and bills and reminders that the world isn't all about us, and we somehow lose ourselves. We forget who WE are because we're so busy giving and giving to everyone around us. I'm amazed more people don't have nervous breakdowns. But I guess that explains why there are so many divorces. ;) We just need to feel in control of SOMETHING. And of course we truly aren't in the grand scheme of things, but we also don't need to feel continually like the world is crashing down around us.

    I'm so glad you guys took that HUGE step of faith and I pray that the sun starts shining a little more for you. XOXO

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  4. I had no idea you were going through so much- so I guess that facade worked. ;) I am so so sorry you went through all of that, but I am so happy that it is all starting to be okay. I will be one of the first to say, being a grown up pretty much sucks most of the time. Outside of our husbands and kiddos, we are bombarded with decisions and bills and reminders that the world isn't all about us, and we somehow lose ourselves. We forget who WE are because we're so busy giving and giving to everyone around us. I'm amazed more people don't have nervous breakdowns. But I guess that explains why there are so many divorces. ;) We just need to feel in control of SOMETHING. And of course we truly aren't in the grand scheme of things, but we also don't need to feel continually like the world is crashing down around us.

    I'm so glad you guys took that HUGE step of faith and I pray that the sun starts shining a little more for you. XOXO

    ReplyDelete

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