What a difference a year makes…

I wake up and look in the mirror and think “even though it
isn’t the thinner, less wrinkled, 25 year old Jill, this 32 year old woman
staring back is finally absolutely beautiful- to me.”  I struggled with loving myself and respecting
myself because of what the world said was “cool” and because of those who
crossed my path.  But after what seemed
to be the worst day of my life, I decided it was time to make a change.

It all started with an awakening that happened at the end of
2013 going into 2014. It was a horrible Christmas night, dealing with screaming
and abuse, I thought to myself, “God, why does this keep happening to me?”  In that year, I was determined to find the
answer.  After tears, continuous
struggles with my relationship, prayers, and reflection, I had to face that the
one common denominator in all of it was ME. 

You see, because of what I allowed in my life, I no longer
knew who I was in the eyes of God.  And
that’s how this cycle all started. Sure my parents and loved ones told me I was
precious and even many of my boyfriends.  But the world can eat you up, bad relationships
can break you and then you forget who you are.  At least that’s what happened to me. Ten years
of allowing others to mistreat me and listening to the world, was like
non-stop, chipping away at the person God intended me to be.  Little by little, I turned into a person who
wasn’t even sure who she was anymore.  But
2015 changed ALL of that!

After that fight on Christmas night, I started to become aware
that I needed God more.  So I threw myself
into his arms and let him lead more often. However, I still had one foot in and
one foot out and I was constantly in a battle in my relationship. But as the
year went on, I got closer and closer to God. He kept revealing to me that I was
loved and worthy no matter my faults, past etc. 
This was when I started to accept less and love myself more. In November
2014, I ended my relationship and decided it was time to heal the right way.  I struggled with staying single at first. Because
of a severely abusive relationship at the age of 19, I formed this habit of bandaging
up the pain of my last relationship with a new one. Romantic relationships were
my weakness and I thought I’d never learn to live without them. They were to me
what heroin is to an addict. The thought of being alone was so gut wrenchingly painful
for me.  After a break up, I’d go out
every night in search for my next relationship and if I didn’t find someone, I’d
get drunk enough so that when I went home to my parents house, I didn’t have to
think about sleeping alone. Luckily, it would only take me about 3-4 weeks to
find a new boyfriend or else I’d probably be in rehab by now. Sad right? No! Because
of my weakness God was able to show me his power. I learned to lean on God when
I got lonely. If you told me 2 years ago that I had to be alone for a year, I
would have thrown up at the thought of it. 
But not only have I learned to live without a man, but I LIVE all alone!
If you only understood how hard that concept was for me, you’d know Jesus
performs miracles.  My favorite verse in
the bible says “for my power is made perfect in weakness,” and now I’m sure you
can see why it’s my favorite.

But that’s not all God has done for me this year! When I let
God lead he put a life coach/mentor in my life who has become like my sister
and she inspires me every day.  Then he
put an amazing church in my life and now I get to live out my passion by
singing powerful songs there every weekend. 
God also put an amazing friend in my life who started a group called
Cityfam and we get to feed the homeless, go ice skating together and now we are
all headed to Honduras in the summer to help the poor.  Knowing God personally, has pushed me to be
more in a new career and now I’m doing financially well at a job I love.  All of these things have happened because I put
my life in God’s hands.  I would have
never been healthy, happy or at peace, had I not turned all of me over to him.  2015 was one for the books and with God by my
side, 2016 will only be better! Let God change you this year. Happy New Year to
all of you and remember, you are really, really loved.
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