Winter, but Spring.

It's fitting it is cold, snowy, and windy on this March day. March represents the coming of Spring, yet still experiencing days of Winter. In the dead of winter, spring emerges.

March is a tough month for me. The anniversary of my mom's passing (today), my mom's birthday, my parents anniversary. No getting around it, but to hit it head on...which I have learned to do in the most healthy way. My thoughts are sad today, yet joyful reflecting on God's incredible faithfulness.

I wrote the following in a blog back in September 2012, some months after my mom had passed away."But I miss them with every breath, trying to figure out how to do life well without them. Thus, my little label, "the one who grieves". Five long years of grief...one day though, restoration and joy is coming. I can't see or feel it, but it is a deep abiding confidence in the One who saves. That is where my journey is heading, friends. Restoration and joy in my Savior. I get glimpses, but one day it will be a light so bright that the darkness of grief will be covered. That day, I feel, will be when I reach eternity. But until then, the desire - the strive, is for the light (which is oh so dim) to become bigger and brighter as I "journey" on through life. I know God is faithful."

I remember that person, and I know her. But I almost don't recognize her as me. I distinctly remember wondering for 6 long years if I would feel restoration, joy, or healing again. I had moments, of course, when I felt confident I would. However, I had more moments of truly being unsure of any future joy. I didn't know who I was anymore. Grief had changed me, and I didn't really like what I had become. Yet I felt powerless to stop it. So, I knew I had become new - not who I was before loss - but who God wanted me to be now. And in that I would find joy. Last year in January, God gave me the scripture that says, "behold, I will make all things new."

By March of 2013, I was in the darkest place I had been yet. Depression and anxiety were my closest friends, and I was standing on the edge of the cliff. I was drowning, and I felt no hope of rescue. I prayed and prayed, read God's Word - did all of the right things. Nothing changed. That's when I stepped outside of myself and found a counselor. All of that is another story for another day. I reflect on it now, though, because today marks two years since my mom passed away. It marks about one year since I begin my journey of "renewal" and healing. The journey to joy...

And one year later, I can say with confidence my light has become brighter and brighter over the course of this last year. Through God's help and Spirit led counseling, I am a new person in a new place. He has saved me and He is healing and making me whole. When you are in the middle of the loss, you cannot see your way to joy or healing. But, if you allow him, God carries you to the other side. And I am on the other side, still growing and changing. Believe me, I was a mess and still am in many ways, but there is a distinct difference. My crazy is just a little brighter now.