Today, I bid a fond farewell to my beloved blog.
To be honest, this is a difficult post for me to write. For over six years and six months, this little spot on internet has been mine to call home. It has been a haven in which I’ve freely shared my heart through words and pictures. It has been a sanctuary where I’ve been able to grow and flourish. It has been a catalyst that has afforded me many wonderful opportunities and some of the very best friendships of my life!
Before I write further, though, I should mention that I have no intention of giving up blogging, lest you imagine otherwise. I do plan to continue my blogging endeavors, just in a new space- a space that gives me more room to spread my wings and one that is more reflective of the person I am today. Just as a seedling outgrows its pot or a hermit crab his shell, so I have outgrown this first dear home of mine.
I am a different person than I was a year ago. This year has decidedly been the most difficult of my life. A year ago, we were packing up the last of our boxes, getting ready to load our moving truck and move from Florida to Alabama. A year ago, everything familiar in my world was about to change. Last year brought new surroundings, a new church, and new (wonderful!) friends. It also brought a lot of health challenges my way.
Up until last year, I had never struggled with my health; I had always been healthy aside from the occasional cold, and had no reason to believe that would change anytime soon. Right before we packed our final boxes, however, I got very sick. I was sick for an entire month with the nastiest flu bug I’ve ever encountered along with pharyngitis, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. You name it, I had it. When February arrived, I was finally feeling like my normal self again, but when March rolled around, I fell ice skating, hurt my knee, and couldn’t walk for two months. Even after I was finally able to get around again, my knee still had quite a bit of healing to do.
In late April, I began feeling nauseous at completely random times. At first, it was infrequent, but then the spells began intensifying and occurring more often. In the first part of May, we took a nine hour business related road trip down to Florida that seemed to set something off inside of me; I felt terribly nauseous for two weeks straight and then intermittently every day afterward for months. As time went by, more symptoms from this mysterious malady had begun appearing. I had no idea what was causing me to feel poorly, so I had started adjusting my diet and being extra careful with my food choices, hoping to clear things up. A couple of months later, I had improved slightly, but only slightly.
In late July, after finally realizing this wasn’t a problem I could correct on my own, I made an appointment with a naturally minded M.D. who turned out to be a Godsend. After appointments and tests that spanned the next couple of months, I was finally able to begin a course of treatment to knock out the nasty bug (it's not really a bug, but it's called Geotrichum, for those of you wondering) they’d been able to identify in my system. Part of the healing protocol was strictly adhering to an incredibly restricted diet for six weeks that mainly consisted of clean meat, healthy fats, some vegetables, and some legumes. All grains, dairy (except for plain yogurt), fruit, sugar of any kind, starchy vegetables (like potatoes), “sweet” vegetables (like carrots and butternut squash), etc. were completely off limits. (Read: no food happiness. :) Then, if that weren’t hard enough, I had to take out some key foods on the diet I was showing an allergic reaction to (eggs, coconut, and almonds to name a few), which left me with precious little variety. Those six weeks were some of the hardest I’ve ever had to go through! Those of you who have been on seriously restricted diets before will understand why. I knew it would be difficult going into it (I’d been on the GAPS diet a couple of times before), but how difficult is another story! Add to all of that the fact that I was also trying to gain back weight (even though I was eating all the time), and I had a serious challenge in front of me!
Toward the end of November, I finally began feeling better. It was such a relief after months and months of struggling on a daily basis. While I’m certainly not back to normal yet, I’m praying that I will return to full health in the Lord’s good time. My doctor is now helping me work through some other health issues that were likely caused by the aforementioned ones, but it is such a comfort to see evidences of improvement and healing.
By now you’re likely wondering if I’m sharing this dull account of my struggles with you to gain your pity and sympathy. I promise this isn’t the case, because those are two things I have no need of. You see, it was through those months and months of daily fears and struggles that I learned some of the most important lessons of my life- lessons I would never have otherwise learned. When you are completely helpless, lying flat on your face and lacking the strength to even pick yourself up, you look up to Christ. You realize, as never before, your complete lack of strength and your deep need of grace. You realize that you were never strong like you once believed you were; you realize that you are just as much in need of God’s strength and power as you always have been. Physical ailments have a way of revealing one’s true state of weakness like nothing else can. When pain and fear cause you to cry out to the Lord for help on a moment by moment basis, you realize that you desperately need Him every hour even when everything’s coming up roses.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah."
Looking back a year ago, I can’t help but smile at all of the plans and goals and aspirations I had dreamed up for 2014. Almost none of them came to pass because most days it was a battle just for me to get my basic work accomplished. I never knew how I would feel from one day to the next, so there were a lot of things I couldn’t commit to. My year looked nothing like I had hoped it would, but in the end, it was so much better. God took my piddly dreams from me and replaced them with beautiful realities I could have never even dreamed up myself. His ways are so much higher than mine. Even though I have struggled with my health almost every day this year, He has been faithful to lead me through every one of them.
"But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."
I have been humbled by how faithfully my family, my friends, and even strangers have lifted me up in prayer these past months. It has been such a comfort to know they have been going before the throne of grace on my behalf. God also used a few very special people in my life this year to help me through the hardest times. There were days when I failed to trust the Lord as I should have, when I was feeling low, when I was fighting discouragement, and when I just felt like giving up. On the hardest days, I was always lifted up by an understanding hug, an encouraging text, a note in the mail, or a thoughtful gift; these dear people never failed to point me back to Christ. I certainly don’t deserve such kind, loving friends and family, but I’m ever so glad I have them! My family has been incredible on a daily basis, stepping in and filling my shoes when I was unable to. I couldn’t have made it through this year without their love and support!
Though 2014 was undoubtedly been the most difficult year of my life, it was also been the very best. I am so in awe of everything the Lord chose to do this past year that it has brought me to tears more than once. It is with a heart filled to the brim with joy and excitement that I close this chapter of my life and step into the next. With this final post on A Corner Pillar, I’m saying goodbye to 2014 with all of its trials and challenges and gifts and blessings, and hello to 2015 with its 365 crisp white pages. I’m terribly excited to see how the Lord will choose to fill those pages, how He will draw me closer to Himself, and how He will use me to proclaim His name this year.
Now it is time for me to close and say a final farewell to this sweet old blog of mine. To all of my readers over the years: thank you for your comments and encouragement and support! They’ve meant the world to me, and I’m thankful for each and every one of you! If you would like to keep up with me on my ordinary adventures, photography endeavors, and everyday life, then be sure to stop by the new blog I launched today and say hello! I hope to see you there. :)
With a grateful heart,