A guest post by Sarah Beale
I don’t typically post a lot of personal things online, but wanted to share this. Mostly because I know I’m not the only one who is eager to see 2018 go, who is anxiously awaiting the turn of the calendar as if somehow the slate will be wiped clean and all of the difficulties of the past year will fade and won’t follow me into 2019.
To be honest, this year was hard. Last year sitting on the couch (or most likely sleeping) watching the ball drop, I was not envisioning my 2018 including all that it had in store for me.
Little did I know this year would be the year of doctors visits, hospital stays, and new medications. To summarize: in May I was diagnosed with celiac disease and in June I had my gallbladder removed. Later this fall, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and started taking medication and going to counseling. And to round it all off, the Saturday before Christmas I experienced symptoms of a possible retinal tear and ended up in the ER.
All this to say, life has been hard recently and I haven’t handled all of these obstacles with grace or a positive attitude. In fact, I’ve been grumpy, resentful, and angry though most of it. I’ve been angry that I can’t eat whatever or wherever I want, and ashamed and bitter that I have to fight a daily battle against depression and anxiety. But a few nights ago, I had peace and it was if God said to me, “I’m still here. I know you think I have left you but I haven’t, and I’m not going anywhere.”
I’m aware that many of you reading this are going through hardship. And for many of you, your struggles are so much worse than my own- you have endured unimaginable suffering and loss. I didn’t write this make light of your struggles or to complain about my own, but simply to be honest and real because for so much of my life I have hid behind this facade of fear. Fear of what others will think of me, or fear of the unknown. But 2018 has taught me that life is short and we all struggle, and most of the time we hide behind these struggles, alone. My resolution for 2019: stop hiding.
When I hoped last year that 2018 would be full of ease and without hardship, that was simply a fantasy. So this year, as I welcome 2019, my prayer for myself and all of us is simply this: that when the struggles come, we would remember those words He whispered and is still whispering “I am (still) here.”