It's been a hard year.

Living in the deep end is some tough business.  I've had hard times that came like waves, crashing and knocking me backwards.  I would only catch my breath for a moment before another one would assault me and I wondered repeatedly if it was worth it.

In June, I wrote in my prayer journal, "I feel like I am drowning...and I'm gasping for breath and grabbing for anything that will keep me afloat.  I'm desperate.  I am dying."  The last three words are scribbled, made bold by the repetitive markings of my pen.  Only halfway through my year of deep-end living and I wanted to quit. 


I've lost people this year.  Some have left completely, waving as they gracefully closed the door on their chapter in my life.  Others haven't left completely, but their place in my heart has changed and I struggle to find them now.    

I've questioned everything this year.  I've questioned who God is to me, what my faith means to me, and what my faith looks like in the face of unanswered prayers and unrealized desires.  And although I am still in the midst of finding those answers, and will probably remain in the midst of finding those answers until my dying day, one thing has become abundantly clear: God is full of mercy and grace, even towards this sassy-tongued child.  

I've chosen to be brave numerous times this year, and not once did I regret it.  My resolution to conquer fear from a few years ago still runs through my veins and I am grateful to God for the brave moments He has given.  

I took a few speaking engagements and shared my heart even while my knees and voice trembled.  I crossed Sky Bridge.  I submitted my words to an established blog that I adore.  I said goodbye.  I wrote for thirty-one days straight and shared my less-than-perfect, unpolished words with you.  I let myself dream again.  I faced my past and any guilt or shame that resided there.  I faced my future and allowed myself not to worry.  I forgave, myself and others, and I meant it.

It's been twelve months of highs and lows for me and I wonder what the last twelve months have looked like for you.  Maybe the only good thing you have to say about 2015 is that you survived it.  Or maybe it's not been a good or bad year.  Maybe it's just been hard, the beautiful kind of hard that makes joy mix with sorrow.  The kind of hard that bends you just enough to make room for growth.  

I pray that whatever kind of year you've had, you have trusted God with all of it.  As for me, I still feel like I'm drowning at times, like my lungs are screaming for mercy under the relentless beating of water over my head.  But I'm learning to breathe and I intend to reside in these deep waters of faith, life, and love until my God calls me elsewhere.  

Here's to 2016 and everything that God has awaiting us there.   

*To get one of Karly's beautiful handmade pieces like the one pictured above, go here.  :)  

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