With not only a year but also a decade coming to an end, I find myself reflecting. I have spent the last year working on myself, healing and doing my best in terms of growth. Where has this led me, you ask? Well, not exactly where I thought I would be but, I know wholeheartedly I am right where I am supposed to be.

 As many of you know, I discovered a lot about myself late in 2018. I realized not only who I was but also who I wanted to become. This newly found purpose had me full of energy and on a mission to help others. I knew it would require a lot of effort and soul-searching, but I did not know for certain what it would look like. Rather than second guess myself, I jumped right in and started writing, speaking and sharing my story. I am very much a goal-oriented person, so I set goals and gave my all to achieving these goals. I set aside times to write and think. Little did I know, my obsession with checking a box or marking something off a list was not going to come in handy in my new world. I was in for a rude awakening.

 The year of 2019 was filled with lots of firsts and achievements. I shared my story for the first time on a national radio show. I shared it through my blog and in a couple of group storytelling sessions. I also had the opportunity to meet and speak with several women at a women’s shelter. Each time I spoke and relived my past, I truly connected with the audience. These connections not only fulfilled my desire to reach out and help others, but they also helped me learn so much about myself. Speaking and sharing became a vital part of a healing process I had no idea that I needed. I began to see unresolved fear, hurt and shame that I had buried deep for so long. There is no exact way to describe how it felt to release the weight of those emotions. I just know that my confidence, my strength and my self-esteem were taken to a whole new level.

 All these milestones and successes also came with moments of doubt and what I considered failures at the time. I was reaching out to people in places where I felt I would have the most impact but was getting little to no response. I applied for a position with my current company that I thought would allow me more opportunity to grow and help others, which apparently was just not in God’s plan for me. I was left with questions. Am I looking for opportunities in the right places? Am I putting forth the necessary effort? Why does it seem like I am constantly falling short? Self-doubt and self-sabotage took control. I began second-guessing myself every chance that I could. Doing what I loved and what made me feel great suddenly became more of a pipe dream. The wonderful feeling which I felt in the beginning of the year turned into a feeling of failure.

 I remained in this funk through the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I counted my blessings, but it was more out of obligation. I was just not feeling it. Then, along came New Year’s Eve. I spent the day with my husband and my oldest son. We went to a football game together and stayed afterwards to watch the fireworks in downtown San Antonio. As the clock struck midnight and the hugs and fireworks commenced, I looked at my oldest son. He went from sheer joy and excitement to tears in his eyes. I followed him as he walked away and asked him why he was so sad. He looked me straight in the eye with tears streaming down his face and said, “I am just so happy, Mom. I am so glad I was able to be here tonight with you and Dad.” It was at that very moment my perspective and priorities changed. I needed to pull myself together. Don’t get me wrong. I am a true believer in allowing yourself to feel every emotion, but I do not believe you should ever wallow in pity nor should you take any breathing moment for granted. I am a survivor. I have a wonderful job, a beautiful, healthy family and the opportunity to help others is still right here in front of me. It may not look exactly as I thought but it did not mean I was a failure or that I should give up.

 Thanks to my sweet Corbyn, I have found a new peace and understanding. I have come to realize that there is a not a job description associated with pursuing your purpose. It may not look anything like what you expected but that does not mean you are falling short. I understand now that my goals of growth, development and helping others apply to my personal life and my career. I worked so hard to separate the two initially that I set myself up for failure. I still believe you must leave work problems at work and home problems at home. I simply mean when you are working to become the person you are supposed to be, it should not feel like two separate jobs. So, I will continue to put forth the effort to be the best version of myself and those efforts will not be determined by a time clock or what someone else thinks it should be. As I continue to live my life with purpose and gratitude, I hope everyone I encounter catches a glimpse of who I was, who I truly am and who I want to be. I want to be viewed as a woman of Faith, a light in a dark room, an encourager to those who struggle and a supporter of everyone I meet. By the Grace of God, I believe 2020 will be filled with not only happiness and blessings but also a multitude of opportunities to grow in ways I never even imagined possible.

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Join me as I begin this exciting new chapter of my life as I work towards helping and encouraging struggling individuals. At the age of 18, I experienced a horrific and traumatic life-altering event. In an effort to avoid losing myself in pity and grief, I sought and discovered strength and beauty I did not know existed – in myself and in others around me. My hope is that through sharing my experiences, the good and the bad, I can give others in need a form of reassurance, a message of hope as well as motivation to pursue the happiness they deserve.

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