I’m Still Here.

I sit here, alone, at my kitchen table staring at the old stuffed sheep that the small boy carries from room to room. It is the last day of 2019. This year is ending so differently than I had expected. On this day last year, I was planning trips for my family. I was gearing up for a fun New Year’s Eve celebration with my husband and the small boy. I was calling my Dad to wish him a happy New Years.

We never know when the year begins, what it will bring but 2019 hit me right where it hurts. It brought so much loss in so many ways. Cancer, crashes, suicide and marriage. So much loss and so much mourning. So many tears have been shed and so many hearts are still breaking. So much sadness and anger and regret all bottled up in one tragically, hard year.

Do you want to know what? I am still here. I am still moving forward. I’m still shining. God has my back. Through all the bad, I stuck true to the motto of my blog, “In the midst of chaos, sparkle. Don’t let life dull your shine.” When I wrote those words for the first time, I had know idea how much I would need them to carry me through. I had to remind myself daily to look for the sparkle. To find my shine, some days required batteries to make it show and others, there was just a flicker, but I kept my shine. I kept my faith. I kept God with me.

As I was coming through this storm, I came across a song by Wyatt Durrette and Yesterday’s Wine called “Shine” and a more perfect song could not have been written for me. Wyatt has always been a song writer. I remember years ago, seeing Wyatt jump on stage with Zac Brown and sing. I loved his voice then and love it now. I am glad he finally took the leap to put his own music out there and I am glad he choose this year to do it. His words speak to me.

Click the image to listen to the album.

These words were meant for me to hear, “Shine, baby, shine. Don’t let the dark around you win. It’s fine, baby fine, cause you’re gonna find your light again. It’s gonna knock you down, gotta pick yourself up. Somebody’s gotta he bright, shine, baby, shine.” I think I listened to this song 1000 times. I cried to it, I laughed to it, I celebrated to it. Whenever I am down, this song brings me right back to where I want to be.

Give it a listen, you will not regret it. Listen to it here and check out the rest of the album. I promise, it is worth your time.

So, I tried to shine. I tried to stay out of the shadows. I don’t feel like I hit a few bumps. I feel like I hit a brick wall and for a while I thought it won. It took batteries for my flashlight, a lot of God’s grace and a really strong rope but I climbed that brick wall. I did not let it get in the way. I fell a few times on the trek up. I stumbled at the top but I made it.

In the midst of chaos, sparkle. And so I did. I sparkled when I spent the week at the beach with my kiddo. I sparkled when my little nail biz got me through. I worked hard and I met my goals. I sparkled when I hugged my little boy. I sparkled at Disney. I sparkled when God reminded me that I was enough. I found those moments and I sparkled. At first, they were few and far between, but these days, there is more sparkle than not. My batteries are fully charged.

2019 has been hard, the hardest yet and I am coming out of it. “I feel alive today. No, nothings gonna stand in my way. Full steam ahead, to dream again, no way to stop this train. Sometimes, it’s so easy to forget. So, I close my eyes and I put my hand upon my beating chest and I whisper, I’m still here, I’m still here today.” This is my anthem going into the new year. Thank you Yesterday’s Wine, you must have known I needed “I’m Still Here.” Wyatt, you have done it again. These words are exactly how I feel at this moment in time. Listen to it here.

Tonight, I will say goodbye to 2019. I will say goodbye to the trials and tribulations. I will say goodbye to the past. I will let go of the hurt. I will thank God for lifting me up when I couldn’t do it myself. I will say goodbye to the last year I had my Dad to hug. I will say goodbye to my marriage and the life I thought I’d have. Happily ever after is not in a marriage, it is in yourself. I will ring in 2020 with hope. With happiness. With peace on my mind, fire in my drive, joy in my heart and God at my side. I am thankful for my beautifully blessed, messy life. I am thankful for the lessons learns and the friendships earned. I am thankful for the small moments that really mattered. I am thankful I didn’t let the darkness win. I am thankful for our gracious God.

As I say goodbye, I will take a few things with me. I will take along the strength I learned I had this year. I will take along the friends that saw me through. I will take along the memories of my magical trip to Disney with my small boy. I take along my faith that has been tested. (Read more on that here.) I will take along myself. That girl that sparkles. I was never really gone, I was just lost for a while. But, here I am and I am ready for the next adventure. I am ready for what life throws at me. I am ready to move forward.

I am still here. I am still standing. I am moving. I am growing and I am happy. It’s been a while, but here I am and 2020 is looking bright. Get out your sunglasses because I have a feeling, we are going to need them.

Happy New Year! What a year it is going to be. No matter what you face, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is always hope for better days. Grab your batteries and flashlight and rope. Let God get you through. And remember, in the midst of chaos, sparkle, don’t let life dull your shine.

Much Love,

The Manicured Mom

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