“Happy New Year,” I thought to myself, “A new year is a fresh start, bring on the adventure.”
Except it had already taken a different path.

I lay there, 1st January 2019, on the floor of my friends flat, feeling anxious, drained, questions swirling around my mind, things weren’t going as I planned.

As we look back over the year many of the happy joyful posts appear on Instagram and Facebook of how the past year was the best year of their lives. Well for me, that’s not the case.
2019, was the toughest, most emotionally draining, damaging, life changing year of my life. For me, it was a year full of broken hearts.

Beginning the year off sleeping on my friends floor for 2 months was hard… not only to my back but mentally. It was strange not having my own place.
Relationships were strained. Ones you’d hoped never would be.

I felt alone. Helpless.

Over the months, things improved and I moved back from the floor of my friends flat to my own bed.
But things weren’t over yet. My heart was about to be broken again.

A relationship that I held so dear to my heart began to crumble. The one I adored, and would do anything for, began to slip through my fingers. I noticed myself becoming more anxious, not wanting things to change, to loose all I had. Sleepless nights moved into argumentative days. Everyday led to feeling more broken and more alone. Despair swept in like a tsunami, destroying everything in its path.
The one I loved, the one I’d thought was forever, was now… Gone.

Alone, broken, rejected, hurt.

Nothing could have prepared me for those feelings, those thoughts.

Weeks passed. I thought I was ok. When I was busy I was. But left with my own thoughts I wasn’t. The constant niggle of what was, why? What if… played around my mind. To this day, over 5 months down the line it still does. Not as often… but still most days, thoughts, triggers, reminding me of what was and what is now.
And this is just the tip of the ice berg.

The struggle of a theology degree, wound its way around all of this. The ups and downs, feeling like Im not fit to do this… not academic enough.

Crack… another blow to the heart. This time from myself, beating myself down. Telling myself I’m not good enough, not capable. Questioning everything.

The phone rings…

He’s back in. The blues and twos flew him down to the cardiac unit.
I cant remember how many times I’ve wandered those white, cold corridors this years. All on a separate number of occasions.
Another… broken heart.

Days and weeks pass, and things go back to “normal”.
Pretending like everything is ok.

2019 – the hardest year of my life. I’ve come out from it feeling battered and broken.

And for some that’s where it would end. They’d be broken and it would seem like all joy is lost. But its not over…

Because in all this brokenness, there is beauty, there is hope.
The smiles of the children I work with, bringing joy, purpose.
The conversations with young people who are struggling so much more with greater losses in their lives, pulls things into perspective.
The realisation that throughout the ever changing, year of twists and turns, hurdles and brokenness, there was one thing that stayed constant throughout – never changing.

God’s love and grace.

Without God I don’t know where I’d be in life. The glimmers of hope, of heaven touching earth as small, tiny prayers were answered. Light pushing through the darkest of times. A deep joy ever present, through the pain of loss and despair.

“The Joy of the Lord is my strength”

Nehemiah 8:10

Literally, I see it now, this verse an Anthem of my year. 2019: A Year of Broken Hearts, but the Joy of the Lord was and is my strength!

Life is hard. We all hit hurdles, bumps, brick walls, and its ok to not be ok. It’s ok to not have it all sussed out. It’s ok to not be there in life, to have reached the end goal… because no ones got it.

We see peoples lives online, scrolling through the feed, seeing how everyone else is so much happier, wishing we had what they had.

However behind every picture, every mask, is a broken, beaten, person pushing through daily struggles.
And it’s ok. Its ok to be where you are.

So where am I going with this blog post? To be quite honest I don’t know. I’m still figuring that out. Just like I’m still figuring out what’s going on in my life. And that’s ok.

But most of all I’m clinging on to Jesus, because no matter what life throws my way, I’m powering through with Him. I might fall hundreds of times, I might be so battered and bruised that I have no energy to pick myself back up. On my own I wouldn’t be able to. But I know with Jesus, He will always pick me back up.

So what I’m trying to say is, if you’re sitting there scrolling past all those happy posts, feeling like the only one who’s not there, struggling, you’re not alone, and there is hope! Hope in Jesus. The one who stands firm in the storm. The one who never leaves you. The one who never stops loving you. The one who will not break your heart.
The Joy of the Lord is our Strength.

2020: The year of deep Joy!

Ain’t no grave gonna hold me down!