Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hold on to Hope

I realize that the majority of my posts have been about my mental health... I have had a really tough, but productive few years, and that has been my life.  I have been working so hard on getting better.  Some days have been really, really hard as I've been sorting through things and working on this area of my life. 

People who haven't known me until recently really don't know or understand all the things that I've been through/been working through the past several years, but that's good.  I feel like I can start fresh for once... my past isn't following me anymore. 

I'm finally feeling as though I am getting "better."  Like truly better.  For good.  Between finding the right medication and working through things with my counselor, I feel like a new person.  I have this ability to do something I have never been able to do... balance.  I don't feel extremely anxious or extremely happy, and I like that.  Used to, I didn't know how to live in the middle... I always lived in extremes.  I didn't know how to "just live."  And I'm learning what that feels like... it feels like peace.  I have moments of anxiety still, but I've learned the tools to cope/work through it, so it doesn't linger like it used to (I used to be anxious 24/7). 

I also don't feel the need to live in my past anymore.  The difficulty of the past has followed me for so long, but I've worked through so many difficult things and now I feel like I can move forward.  I still have some work to do (don't we all?), but I've come a long way. 

I'm so thankful to God for this ability to live in peace.  I can't even put it into words.  I'm almost thankful that I went through the extreme anxiety because it pushed me to finally get help!  So while it was REALLY hard, it was a productive hard.  

I'm excited about the future.  I enjoy each new day with my family and know that we have a lot to look forward to.  Even the simple things... like baking Christmas cookies, good coffee, cold mornings in front of the fire, playing games... are big things to look forward to now.  And the bigger things like getting debt paid off, going backpacking as a family, and going on trips with the junior high at our church are so exciting.  I haven't been able to look forward to anything, really, for years because everything caused me anxiety.  And while my job can cause me anxiety (teaching is really hard!), it causes me a lot of joy as well!  I finally feel like I've found the place where I'm supposed to teach long-term, and that brings peace.  I have always given up when it got too hard, but I don't feel the desire to give up this time- I feel the desire to persevere and continue to grow as a teacher.  I learn every day... and that's what teaching is all about... being open to change and growth and enjoying the process along the way. 

Here I am... not defined by my anxiety anymore.  I am Courtney- a daughter of the One True King that feels joy, sadness, and hope.  I am a wife and mama to a wonderful family.  I am a teacher that loves what I do and finally can't imagine doing anything else.  I love the outdoors.  I enjoy the little things.  I don't need a big, fancy house to be happy.  I don't need a lot of things.  I need my Jesus, my family, and the ability to do things that I enjoy.  I have the ability to feel peace even on a hard day.

It's not about circumstances, but about knowing that God has a plan for His glory, and for our good. 

If you are in the middle of a very difficult time in your life, know that it won't and doesn't have to always be that way.  I truly thought I would never get better... even a month ago I wasn't hopeful.  Boy what a difference a month makes!

Hold on to hope.  Even if it's just with your pinky finger :-).  Know that joy will come.

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