You know, I always had this strange feeling that my life would end at 40. Ever since I was little, this has been in the back of my mind. I don’t know what caused it, but still…there it was. This year when I actually turned 40 instead of being depressed like most folks, I celebrated because I actually made it. Little did I know, however, that even though my actual life would be spared, I really would die at 40. This has been my worst year by far EVER in my life. I have lost family that I love, I have lost trust in so many human beings that there isn’t even a way to express it. I have lost connections that I had before due to some of this. I have lost the will to live at times, and the will to fight at others. I’ve lost my self-confidence. Basically, the woman who existed before is gone. I feel as though I made a “yo mamma” joke about life and life turned around and torched everything I knew to be true.

The good news is, that like the phoenix, I am starting to poke my head up through the ashes. The person emerging is not who I used to be. I am older, wiser and much tougher than before. This new woman has more empathy for others than I did before. I have experienced such deep pain that it has become easy to relate to those in similar situations. I now don’t automatically assume that the person driving like a maniac is just an expletive, but now I realize that maybe there is some personal emergency that is driving them. That person who barely says hi to you at the office may be going through a personal tragedy and just can’t muster the energy to smile, much less speak. That person who cuts themselves is desperately crying for love and can’t even find it in themselves. All these situations that I used to judge folks for I totally get now.

God has spared me numerous times from certain death. The most vivid time to me was just before my daughter was born. I remember thinking then that God MUST have something in store for me to do that. Maybe it is to raise a daughter who will go on to do great things. Maybe I survived in order to be broken so I can be properly used. Maybe all I am doing is flapping my wings like the butterfly that effects change so far away that I will never even know. Whatever it is, I know now that I am ready for it. Being completely broken puts things in stark perspective, that’s for sure. You realize that no matter how hard you try on your own to fix things, to make things right, that God already has the answer. All we have to do is ask Him. It may not be the answer we want at all, but His answer will always be perfect. I always took the verse, “All things by prayer and supplication make your requests known unto God and He will direct thy path” to mean that all we had to do was ask God for something and it would happen. All this verse says is that He will direct your path. He will lead you where you need to go for the solution to your problems. That’s so much better than what I could do for myself. By doing this I know that I will be in His will. It is still the hardest thing in the world to let go of that control that we think we have. I fail miserably most of the time, but when I fail a voice in the back of my mind still says “Be still and know that I am God.” If I concentrate on that fact and realize that I am a child of God I know that it will all be okay. I just have to trust and have the faith as small as the size of a mustard seed. None of this takes away the pain of this past year. That pain will remain with me for a long time to come. It has, however, made me truly appreciate the important things in life. It has made me more self-aware than ever before. It has broken my spirit and left me a perfect clump of clay for the Potter to use. Now I just have to wait and see what He plans to make of me. Will I be a great mother or a great wife or a great sibling or daughter? Will He, instead, choose to use me to minister to those who need a broken heart to relate to them? The possibilities are endless and that is exciting.

Where do I hope to be this time next year? I would have to answer that with perfectly in the center of God’s will for me. Wherever that leads and whoever that takes out or brings into my life I will be faithful and strong and willing and able. I could also end up serving my fellow inmates in a mental institution. It’s really up in the air right now. I’m just sayin…