I’ve been a bit quiet for several months now. I haven’t wanted to say much publicly. Privately though .. well, that’s a different story. Back in April, I told myself I’d commit to at least posting once a week but then “life happened” and I’ve been spending more time reading, reflecting, and recharging.

The verse of 2018 for me has been the one about living a quiet life. And then my Pastor posted the verse again a few days ago and it got me thinking how much of my life in 2018 has been quiet. Behind the scenes, this year has been a year of emotional and physical growth for me.

For several years now, this space has been a sounding board for my pain. Whether it was dealing with a hurtful breakup, rejection, or insecurity, this has been my outlet to bleed. It was a good one until it wasn’t. Some things are better dealt with in private between me, God, and a few trusted friends. Instead of getting on here and bleeding out before you, I’ve been spending more time in deep prayer, deepening the relationships in my life, and in deep reflection of what the last year has taught me.

Ultimately, what this time away has taught me is we all process our hurt in different ways and for a long time this space allowed me to air it all out without filter. Now though, I’m a lot more careful with stuff I share. I decide what and how I tell you. In almost every past post, I played the role of victim well. Times when I felt  betrayed, rejected, insecure, and afraid, you heard about it.

But, I’m not a victim anymore.

Those close to me will tell you I’ve grown. I have come a long way. Things have changed, faces have changed and things I once considered setbacks were only stepping stones to God’s perfect plan. I’m learning He can’t move us forward if we aren’t willing to get uncomfortable and let ourselves grow.

If someone would have told me a year ago, I’d be presenting at a conference in October, I would have looked at them funny. But after praying consistently for a year and a half for God to get me out of my comfort zone and waiting for His opportunity, it happened. I saw the preparation early on but dismissed it. When I was asked to present in April then again in July, I knew this was God’s answered prayer unfolding before me. When I presented in July, those words weren’t my words. I’ve been told I’m a natural speaker.  I never thought I had a gift for speaking, I kind of preferred hanging out in the background, behind the scenes. But God apparently has other plans for me and I’m both excited and nervous for what this will lead to in the future. And if it doesn’t lead anywhere, I’m fine with that too. 

Life for me isn’t about the things I do or accomplish but more of my ability to show up when God says it’s time to act.

For the first time in my life, I feel beautiful, healthy, and strong. I decided a few months ago it was time for me to take care of myself- all of me, not just parts of me. I’m not sure how much weight I’ve lost, but being able to wear a pair of jeans I couldn’t slide on past my thighs for the past few years is a testament hard work does pay off. I used to think the reason I’m still single is because no man wants a woman who is fat or out of shape. I felt this way for a really long time.  This isn’t true for me anymore. With God’s truth of His unconditional love, acceptance, and protection carrying me, I don’t need anyone in my life to make me feel I’m enough.

I’m enough as I already am. I was enough before losing weight. I’ve always been enough.

Relationships for me are treated very differently now. Used to, I’d want relationships for the attention. For me now, relationships are less about attention but about acceptance.I used to think I was a hard person to love and immalleable. Time though has taught me differently. Love for me isn’t about romance and butterflies, it’s knowing this person genuinely likes and accepts me. You can love people but not like them.

Relationships as a whole for me don’t get mentioned publicly. There’s no mention of it on Facebook, on Twitter, or Instagram. I do share personal things, but in moderation. This is why most of my emotional life is now kept private. To be frank, it’s no one’s business. I don’t have an appetite for attention or sympathy and while it’s good for me to express my hurts, I know God is the only perfect person who can carry and ultimately heal them. I share what I feel should be shared, but I use discernment with everything else. Everything we do in life is motivated by something and I want my motives to be pure and honest.

I will share this though: I’m still single. I have reasons, but those reasons will remain private.

The Bible and Save the Cowboy have both been a huge source of wisdom in my life. I wouldn’t have been able to bounce back from a few things this year without their truth guiding my thought life and ultimately, helping me guard my heart.

I have gained more this year than I’ve lost, but the losses I’ve experienced have been big. There is always a break in the familiar when God needs to do something big in our life. God has a weird sense of humor and things happening this year that used to set me back for days, months, and even years only reminded me with the help of a close friend, those moments are reference points and are no longer part of His larger story for me. 

I’m learning other people’s decisions have nothing to do with me. This truth has carried me through some pretty difficult situations and realizations this year. I no longer lament over those situations, I thank God for them.

Living a quiet life isn’t for shiny folks … people who need the spotlight to thrive. Those who don’t take the necessary time to be sharpened. Most of my growth this year has happened behind closed doors with close friends and with my head in my Bible and voice in prayer.

I’m sharper than I used to be.

I do experience moments of set back. I do fail and fall. I do sometimes think in the flesh. I’m not perfect by any stretch, but I’m more gentle and patient with myself. Not only with myself but with people who have hurt me this year and in my past.

Mistakes will change you for the better if you let them.

In closing, I apologize for being away so long. My goal with this space moving forward is to write more but what I write about will vary.

Thank you to my loyal readers and for those who have stood by my side and believed in me. Your love and support mean the absolute world to me.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie