It's September 15 and I'm enjoying a self-care day at the beach...just me and my seagull friend, I named him Herman (he hasn't left my side since I arrived two hours ago, I know it's because I have donuts).
I have to say, this might be the best times of the year to visit the Jersey Shore. First of all, it's free to get on the beach; I know, anyone who lives anywhere but New Jersey is probably thinking this is a normal occurrence all year long, but unfortunately not for the Jersey Shore. There are very few people here, and the weather is absolutely gorgeous. It’s officially “indian summer” in New Jersey. I have spent many days at the beach this summer, if you know me even a little, you know how much I enjoy my beach time. I find comfort in the sound of the waves, in the smell of the air, and despite what you may have heard about the Jersey Atlantic, the ocean is quite nice on the eyes. Sure the waters are no Caribbean blue, but they are still quite gorgeous.
As I reflect on thirty-one, and I think back to my theme of aspiring, #aspiring31 did not quite go the way I intended it to go… but then again, when does anything go the way we intend it to? This year's hashtag may have been intended for me to become more like a Proverbs 31 woman in my thirty-first year of life, but truth be told, I probably read it once since that first month. Clearly God had other intentions, because the definition of “aspire” speaks exactly to what last year was for me.
Aspire: “to direct one’s hopes or ambitions to achieving something” Thirty-one was about aspiring, to something… it's the “something” that was not entirely clear, but is becoming more clear as I reflect back and continue on to thirty-two.
Thirty-one was an extremely difficult year. It was not long after my thirty-first birthday that my entire world would be turned upside down, my family came face-to-face with one of the most challenging years yet. My family was suffering and I was hurting for them. But despite it all, I made every effort to remain positive, and to love unconditionally, the way my Savior loves. Despite how I might have made it look, it was not easy; you give everything you've got and you feel like no one notices, and I don't mean I wanted to be noticed for my own gratification, but noticed in the way that you want your loved ones to feel your love, but they can't fully experience it, even if they do know it, it’s not enough to fix things. And I'm such a fixer! I want to fix everyone's problems as soon as possible, it is difficult for me to watch others suffer, but this year has taught me patience, and that I can't be God. My faith has been tested a lot this year, and there's been so many times of doubting, but in the end I know there's a light. I wish I could say thirty-one ended happily ever after, but the truth is, the battle continues. And I am starting to be okay with it.
I will say though, that our first little ray of sunshine entered the world on May 27th, my first precious nephew, Judah Aaron Gaynor. He is such a joy, and the greatest blessing! He is the sweetest thing there is..and he's not a thing, he's a human, a new spirit birthed into this world. But in the middle of chaos, it's hard not to worry for his future. You want to do everything you can to protect them, but I’m learning that I need to let go and have a little more faith in my Creator; that my best effort is in prayer. We can't lose faith, and we need to learn from our experiences, we need to look on the bright side and continue to have hope; because without hope, we have nothing. There's been many times in the past year that I've come close to losing all hope, but I know it's there, I just need to find it.
There’s a lot of change coming in the next couple months and although I’m slightly nervous, I’m mostly excited! Can’t wait to share more with you!