I am unsure where to begin this post; there is so much going on that I don’t know where to start. This isn’t going to be one of those posts where I have all this great insight into myself or say anything profound. No, this is just going to be real me in real life…all the emotions and feelings that are coming with it today on this first Wednesday in April.

I’m not going to complain though and throw a pity party for myself. 2018 has had it’s fair share of challenges and tough moments already but I’m not throwing in the towel on it yet. Life keeps going, the world still spins, days still come so there is plenty of room to change and adapt to life’s circumstances.

This year was going to change things for me…I was going to pursue a new career, find out who I really am and what I’m really made of. I wanted to find happiness, but happiness within, peace about who I am and happy with the person I am. And take the steps to create my own life for myself.

January and February were filled with focusing on applications and class. I took the GRE in January and went to Montana to look at a school there; I was working on my application…the essay and resume and making sure all my t’s were crossed and i’s dotted. Applications were due in mid February so I was planning on celebrating when that was done and then life happens the celebration did not happen, which is OK. Life keeps going you know so it wasn’t a big deal.

In the process of all this, I was sorting out what I really wanted…where I really wanted to go. What I was really passionate about doing. I started to have this feeling that maybe my own mental health may suffer if I was a mental health counselor. I wanted to help people. I wanted to make a difference. I didn’t want people to feel alone the way I had. But the more I thought about it, I was nervous that maybe I couldn’t do it. But I let that thought subside because I needed to see what would happen in the application process. And plus, I was on pins and needles waiting to hear back from each school. Would I get an interview? Would they see my potential? Would they think I would be good at this? It kept me up at night. It wasn’t easy to make this huge change in my life even though I knew I needed to.

And so I started another 40 day prayer challenge the day I submitted my last application. I wanted to really rely on my faith and God in this time of uncertainty and change. I KNEW I couldn’t do this with just me and I knew I didn’t want to rely on others to get me through it. I wanted to rely on God and God alone. My theme for 2018 has been surrender and that’s what I wanted to do in this situation too. Surrender it all to God and let Him lead me to where I was supposed to go. And I have to say, making the choice to give these things to God and give to Him what you can’t control, it’s hard. It’s really hard and I still wrestle in it every day. I find myself constantly wanting or trying to control a situation and I have to consciously say I surrender. If I don’t? I hold onto it and all the feelings that come with it. I am definitely not a pro at this but I’m making the effort and trying to keep the act of giving it away in the forefront of my mind. I need that for my own peace and happiness.

I got an interview with 2 of the 3 schools I applied to and somehow that rejection from the one school cut me deeply. I have been rejected from other people before but being rejected from a school? I did not handle that well, I thought I would at least get an interview. So I have to admit, I was crushed and I took it personally. And even though I continued to surrender and trust God’s plan, I struggled with what this could mean. This could mean I may not get into ANY program. And through more praying and surrendering and conversation with God, I found peace in that potential. I knew God would guide me to where I was supposed to be and even if it wasn’t in my happy little plan, I knew He would take care of me but trusting that and not worrying about it definitely proved to be a challenge. But I had to give up this sense of control….all of this was out of my hands at this point and holding onto it all so tightly was not going to serve me well.

At this point, I had two options in school. I was unsure what would happen so each day I was pretty anxious awaiting the decisions. I got my first decision back and it was a NO. And while I was pretty upset, I was okay because it wasn’t where I thought and felt I was supposed to be. It did not derail me like the other where I did not even get an interview. I was disappointed of course but asked the question of “why” and so with that, I felt a peace. I had done all I could do and had given it my best and that’s all I can ever ask or expect of myself. And with that, I had one shot left. The school I really wanted to go to. The place I really wanted to live and felt like I was supposed to be in. And I had to wait a few more weeks for that decision.

The week of the decision was upon me and I was a ball of nerves all week and in all honesty, haven’t really slept good or that long since then. I didn’t know what day I would find out and was so anxious and nervous I couldn’t focus. It was intense but I also was praying a ton because I knew that would be the only thing to calm my nerves. I knew that I had to rely on God and trust Him in these moments. I knew I had no other option. Nothing would help me except praying. I felt like I fully surrendered myself to God in those few days. I felt like I had peace no matter the decision and that He would lead me to where I was supposed to be. I was anxious still but deep inside I had peace.¬†And by no means am I trying to brag or pat myself on the back by sharing this, but to show the power or prayer and the power of focusing everything on God. And how He really does guide and provide when we can open our eyes to it even if it’s not what we thought we wanted.

Thursday came and I had a pretty intense conversation with my mom that lead me to believe I really wanted this. I wanted to get in. I wanted to move and figure out how to do this life thing myself and create my own way. Not relying on others but just me, no matter how hard it was. I wanted to know what I’m made of and I knew that in order to do that I had to go. I had a gut feeling I wouldn’t get in but I hadn’t totally given up hope yet. I checked my email during class and found the email in my inbox. I quickly and nervously logged in and saw the letter. I took a moment before reading and thought to myself “I trust you God.” And as my eyes scanned the page, I saw the rejection. And I was in class so I had to keep it together and am glad I did. I cried for maybe 5 minutes…called my Dad and cried a little more just saying it out loud, and then I was ok. I knew it wasn’t right, not meant to be right now, God had a different plan for me. And honestly? I felt like it was going to be OK.

n the rejection letter from the graduate school, the professor I had connected with and met in January told me to apply next year OR if I was interested in the school counseling route, to consider applying as they had some vacancies. I read that and it felt like kind of a sign! Should I go for it? Should I throw my name in the ring and see what happens? She gave me another option and opportunity in another field and maybe I should consider this option. I had been wondering if the mental health counseling route would be a good fit for my own mental health challenges. I had started thinking maybe it would be OK to not get in so I could better determine what I was really passionate about and wanting to do. But I didn’t want to make a hasty decision and a decision just because I wanted this to be my plan and I wanted to move. SO I decided to sit on it for a night or 2 and then it would become clear.

I had asked my Mom to meet for dinner and her and my dad showed up, which I thought was odd. I was telling them about the school counseling path and what she had said to me and was blabbering on about it. As I talked more and more, the better I felt. The more at peace I felt about the whole thing and I had other options now and maybe better options for me, my goals, my personal mental health, and future.

Then after I was done eating, my mom said she had to tell me something and I could tell it was bad. And I had a gut feeling about what it was going to be about. She told me that she got a call from Uncle about Di. Di was in the hospital and had been diagnosed with cancer in both her lungs. And somehow I did not freak out. I did not lose my cool and actually still have not yet, not completely anyways. I wanted to know how this happened but at the same time, I knew deep inside something was wrong and had been for a while. I had a feeling at Christmas we were going to lose her this year, I just had this feeling. But my mom said that Uncle was going to talk to the doctors the next day about treatment options so maybe it would be OK and she would make it through this. And then the reason for me not getting into school became more clear, I wasn’t supposed to get in so I could be here to help take care of Di while she was in treatment. I felt SO much peace about that. God did not make me decide, He did that for me, and I was grateful. Incredibly grateful.

I was in shock….called a few friends and told them the terrible news but still trusting God’s plan in all of this. The next day, however, we learned that there was not going to be any treatment options and she would not be here long. Oh, and her and my Uncle were still in Florida so we couldn’t even see her. We hadn’t seen her since Christmas or right after before they left for Florida. And again, I didn’t really react. It was like that premonition I had those months ago, had already prepared me for this. It was truly strange. However, I felt completely drained and I felt incredibly sad but not inconsolable. A lot of me couldn’t believe it was happening and it seemed surreal so perhaps that is part of my reaction. My uncle and my mom were not doing well and my mom not doing well made it harder for me too. They were trying to figure out how to get her home, that was my uncle’s #1 concern.

Well they got her home….on Tuesday, 10 days ago. It was a chaotic mess but they got her home. And I’m so grateful they did.

I had a crazy weekend before they had gotten her home. I was really busy with multiple different events and things I had to do and I ended up hitting a curb that did $2300 of damage to my car. Honestly that’s what sent me over the edge. I completely lost it. I couldn’t take much more bad happening right now. So with all the bad news and happenings, and the non-stop schedule I had, I crashed Monday. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t function. I felt like I was drowning and I may never get up from it all. I felt lost and heartbroken and I couldn’t get a grip on reality and what was going on in my life. So I took a day off from work to just get myself wrapped around this whole thing. All of it. I didn’t have a chance to process any of it because I had been on the go and didn’t get to just sit and deal. And that’s what I did on Monday. And that caused a whole ordeal at work. I felt too depressed to work and I even told my boss and apparently it wasn’t a valid excuse for them. So Tuesday, the day Di came home, was one of the absolute worst days I’ve had in a very long time. I just needed to take care of myself and I felt that wasn’t allowed or approved of and it just made me feel more alone and isolated than I already had been feeling. I just didn’t need that extra stress going on with everything else on my plate. Not to mention, now that I didn’t get into a program, I had NO idea what I was going to do next.

I was unsure if I could handle seeing Di. I wanted to but I had texted with her over the weekend and felt like I had said what I needed to say and had peace about everything. But I also knew I would regret if I didn’t go see her but wanted to remember her in a good way and not in a really sick way. Anyways, I went and have been going every day since she’s been home. And I’m so thankful for this time I do get with her. A lot of the time she’s been asleep but she knows I’m there.

And on Wednesday (a week ago) I had decided to email about the school counseling track. I thought a lot about it since the idea was introduced to me and decided I should go for it. I believe I would be a really awesome school counselor…it will allow me to make the difference I’m longing to make….and has the potential to make a true impact on someone’s life. And I really didn’t have anything to lose by trying. If I didn’t get in, it would just mean it wasn’t meant to be and God would guide me on another path. So I took the steps to “throw my hat in the ring” and on Thursday while I was visiting Di, I got a phone call from the program director about my email to him earlier that morning! It felt very meant to be. I ended up talking to him for over an hour and the more he was explaining about the program, the potential for a career, and potential future options for a career, I knew this had been my answer all along. This is what I was meant to do. Di was there when I got the call, I feel REALLY good about that, and I think it can really get me to where I want to go—which is to be helping people and making a difference in someone’s life. And if I get to help a child in choosing and creating their future, I think that will truly be fulfilling for me.

So! Yes! I am starting a new journey in my life. I’m moving to Montana (never thought I would say that!) in June and starting a 2 year master’s program in July at Montana State University! I will graduate with my masters in education and will be able to start working as a school counselor right away!

God has a plan. Always had a plan and I just had to breathe and trust He would guide me to where I’m supposed to go and who I’m supposed to be.

I have to admit that losing Di has been one of the toughest things I’ve experienced and been through yet. I know I’m young and there is plenty that can happen but so far? It’s been pretty damn awful. Thankfully our relationship has always been strong and she knows I love her and I know she loves me and so we have this peace with one another. I don’t feel like there is one thing left unsaid between us and I feel blessed by that. She taught ME how to be an aunt and what a gift being an aunt is and can be. I learned from the best and I love my kids with all my heart just like she loves me with hers. She taught me how to love with my whole heart and look at each day as a gift and to cherish moments, people, and whatever life brings you. I have been beyond blessed by her support, encouragement, and love throughout my whole life. She has been a pillar for me in my 27 years and I would not be the person I am today without her. I’m going to miss her more than I can even say but I trust God in this as much as I trust Him in everything else. Without Him I wouldn’t have the hope and encouragement that she will be with Him soon and free of this pain.

Life is not always easy and there are many ups and downs along the way but I have learned that if I have faith, truly trust in God’s plan, no matter what happens, I know it will all be OK. He is taking care of me and there every step of the way through the good and bad that life throws our way. Everyone deserves to be happy, including me. I want to be happy with the person I am and striving to be. I’m getting to the point where I no longer feel like I need to apologize for who I am because I’m pretty great just how I am. And it’s incredibly refreshing to feel free and clear and ready to move on and thanks to God, I am on my way.

with a huge thankful heart…