the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

I had gotten to be quite spoiled. It’s a state of being I’m familiar with. As an only child, I’ve had my share of “not having to share,” ease, and everything being about me. Then the hard times came. And I got older. Old enough where I could make my own decisions and forge my own path. So, I did. I kept my head down and worked hard. I was disciplined and thoughtful, careful and considerate, kind and loving. A life emerged – one with multiple academic degrees, a steady and solid income, partying, fine dining, travel, good friends, and a steady relationship. Then, I got even older. My core values didn’t change much, and things continued to go smoothly. A career I was passionate about, home ownership, motherhood – and still – a steady relationship.

Then, I looked up, and things weren’t so steady anymore. Suddenly, there was chaos and confusion. Little fires everywhere. 2020. A global pandemic, social and political unrest, death and destruction oozing out of every crack and pore. And my own life mirrored the world. Ok. I’m catastrophizing. It wasn’t that bad. But it was pretty bad. It’s actually still kind of bad. Everything I thought I knew about myself, my relationship, my own life, and my future doesn’t seem as certain as I worked so hard to ensure it would be. I’ve asked many times over the last several months, “Why me? I don’t deserve this.”

Then, shame. So many people with so much less, going through so much more. I’m blessed. Abundantly. Regardless. That’s not to say my circumstances and situations aren’t valid or don’t matter. I still have the right to feel all the feels. And I do feel them. Sometimes intensely. But what has gotten me out of bed (most days) as my world has come crashing down around me, is the inner-standing that everything works perfectly according to His divine plan – not my own. No matter how carefully you chart the course, life is not linear. There are curves; ebbs and flows – at every stage, in every relationship, in every well-designed plan.

This is my 33rd year. And as I was recently reminded, this is the year of enlightenment. To know light, you need to know darkness. Yes, storms can be rough. Destructive. Terrible. But storms pass. The clouds clear out, and the sun shines brightly. To pass through this storm – this test – with flying colors is to move up to the next level. And knowing how to navigate storms in the future will get me through them quicker and with ease. I cannot predict the future. But He who knows all has the master plan. He is the master planner. God maneuvers. Every pitstop, detour, roadblock, shortcut, and exit. It’s not always easy or automatic but trust Him. I’m talking to myself.

What has happened taught (and continues to teach) many lessons, my understanding refined daily through reflection, meditation, and prayer. What is happening is a gift. Even in the midst of this dark storm, my true beauty, character, and strength are illuminated. I either didn’t fully recognize or appreciate those traits before. Not totally sure which one. A clearer and more personalized vision of happiness and success is emerging. Asè. What will happen is everything I can imagine and even beyond that. I’m motivated to push forward and meet destiny, yet faith says, ‘be still while He works.’ The future favors me. So does God. Joy. Pain. Sunshine. Rain. Love. Life. I’m truly grateful.

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