thunderstorms & mixed emotions.

It has been a little over a month since the start to 2019. A month spent thinking back, celebrating the good times, and recounting the hard. 2018 was filled with times of joy, accomplishments, sadness, grief, and heartache. And as past years have been filled with more grief, more joys, or more accomplishments, this year had more growth.

JOYS: Traveling to Kenya for medical missions trip, nannying/babysitting 10 kiddos, seeing the Netzel’s, surprising my grandma for her 80th in Florida, seeing extended family over Thanksgiving, finding a college girls bible study, exploring Colorado with Anna, more memories with best friends, Christmas lights, iced coconut caramel macchiatos, and fuzzy socks.

Accomplishments: Finishing 5th in State in horse show jumping, being Team Captain for Hunter Run Farms Equestrian Team, graduating High School, starting college at UCCS, Internship with Wynter in Kids Ministry, led teams for both Power Up Clubs in Florida and Vacation Bible School in Colorado, to teaching the gospel to over 500+ kiddos.

Yet, there were also times of sadness, grief, and heartache. I would like to be optimistic and say that I can look at the joys and accomplishments throughout the year rather then the negative, but I would be lying. Sadness, from times of failure, car accident, to disappointing others. Grief from the loss of Kevin, and many others whose live’s ended too early.

Heartache, from lots of different health issues, and still question marks filling the chart, close friendships changing, horse show jumping career coming to a close in March, and saying goodbye to my horse, Xante.

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Through this long list of mixed emotions, I see God’s faithfulness. He had a greater plan for me when High School felt like it would never end. He had a greater plan when I lost sight of who I was, He showed me that I’m His daughter. This year, there were many setbacks, it still brings tears to my eyes; remembering moments of crying out in my room begging God to show me what His plan was for me, because I was frustrated, confused, and honestly, mad at Him. He showed me how important having a mentor is (Mrs. Christy), second mommas (Mama Upchurch, Mama Meyer & Mama Netzel), and all my sweet little kiddos.

Best part was the Florda Gators beating Michigan and having an awesome football season! Chomp ’em!!

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To help draw a picture of what 2018 looked like, it was a thunderstorm. There were times the sky felt like utter darkness. When I couldn’t see past the down pour of heartache, grieving and sadness. But as my mom once told me, thunderstorms are an example of God’s steadfastness. Thunder is God talking to you, lightning’s God reaching out his arms to embrace you, comforting you through the turmoil, and rain’s God crying for you, because when you hurt, He hurts. After the rain clears, the grass is greener, there’s a special smell in the air, everything’s more vibrant, and sometimes rainbow’s can be spotted. Though 2018 was a year full of many thunderstorms, it was a year of God showing me that He is there for me during the darkest times, He is steadfast, on the sunny days, the dark, the dreary, and lonesome days, He is present.

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That’s the whole point of living for Christ, to dance no matter the forecast. To dance when everyone tells you to go inside, you go outside. You start singing praises, dancing through the weather, knowing God’s got you no matter the elements that hit you.

2019 has started out with many setbacks, grief, and turmoil, and lots of lessons learned. But through it, I’m learning to lean into God’s arms, because this life wasn’t meant to be lived on our own, it was meant to dance in the presence of His faithfulness.

Prayers to everyone who had a rough 2018, or a hard start to 2019, to those who see everyone else posting awesome recaps on social media, do not feel ashamed. You are an overcomer, and I see you. I see the hurt, the pain, and the hardships you’ve gone through, and so does God. He has a greater plan for you, and you’ll get through this tough season. Praying you find comfort in God’s arms sweet friend. -Kyra Mariah

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