I look at this picture and I see a girl in the middle of a storm. Smiling and trying to keep it together, but feeling really lost.
Last March, I hit rock bottom.
Not that my rock bottom is anything that super dramatic, but for me, after many years of chasing dreams and things and always being on the go, go, go…my feet failed me and hit the ground hard.
It’s not like it all happened at once in one dramatic flourish, but it was over several months and weeks….and falling in slow motion.
Chapters ended on many things in my life from late 2014 to 2015. A previous career ended, dreams and goals turned upside down in my business, my former life as a mom to just one was now a memory, friendships changed, and not to mention a poorly timed eye surgery that took a longer recovery than initially thought and left me with poor vision for months.
In that time I also started a new job where I placed so many high expectations on myself, I put band aids on issues of what I was capable of and desiring within my own business, I was focused on making everyone else happy around me, and did I mention I struggled hard with being a new mom all over again? My superwoman powers failed me and I pretty much felt like I walking in the dark without an end in sight. I kept most of my struggles wrapped up close, except for the few who could see right through the cover up that something was really wrong.
I’m so grateful for those few…Carli, Nicolle, Heather, Ashlee, Sam, the MTH gals and others.
I am also grateful for my faith that helped pull me through the darkness.
The turning point in it all?
My Making Things Happen conference experience this past April when I finally got real with myself and was tired of holding onto all the baggage.
I’ve been blessed enough to be part of MTH for a few years now as a guest speaker. Each time I go back, I do the hard work with the attendees and share and work through whatever challenges I’m facing at the time. I can absolutely say that each experience is different than the time before because frankly, we all change. Our lives start new chapters, there are new priorities to balance, and new dreams to work toward. Usually I come prepared with a notion of my struggles and things I want to make happen in addition to the encouragement I want to offer others.
But this last time? I felt like i had nothing to give.
So instead I just threw the whole mess on the table. I openly shared about what brought me to that point. About what a mess I was in and all the mistakes I was making and the failures I had.
That even as a returning speaker many times over, I DO NOT HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT. (side note: I never will.)
I had no pretty bow to tie it all up with.
As I finished, I looked at the room of 100+ blankly with tears running down my cheek, and not knowing how to close it, said, “well, that’s it. I’ll let you know how it turns out.”
I later went into a MTH breakout session and told my group that I will definitely be there to support them. But you know what? I needed help, too. I needed their messages of support to get through this.
And they did. Little text messages here and there lifted me up these last few months.
And I prayed.
There’s more to the story between then and now, but months later, and hours spent in the car thinking, I’ve come to know out of this journey that all of this was to bring me closer to Him.
When I tried to think on reasons on why things failed and why friends walked out on me, I believe it was because he wanted to me focus on Him alone. To find my strength and identity there.
Last week I received a card I wrote myself during my time at MTH. It was perfectly timed, of course.
In it, I promised myself that the valley would end and that there would be many more mountain peaks to see.
That I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I said all the words I didn’t feel at that moment and all the words that I hoped I would feel again.
So here I am. Exactly as I was promised, and supposed to be. Grateful to be climbing again with a stronger sense of self, of faith, and purpose.
Things didn’t magically happen and transform themselves during my time at MTH, but they are exactly where my next chapter needed to start.
I’ll be returning to Making Things Happen for the seventh time this Fall. The early bird rate ends today with the opportunity to save half off. If you’re feeling lost or looking for encouragement to take the next leap, I hope you will join us! More details and grab your seat on the site here.
Conference photos by Robyn Van Dyke Photography