It is a funny thing. I realized I started this website and idea so long ago and have done so little with it. Not intentionally but life just kind of took over and I was not able to do more. I know life happens like that sometimes.
A few things of note have happened that I would like to briefly address in this post. Others I can expand on later.
The first thing is the passing of my dog Abby on Christmas eve. This has been a profound loss for me in many ways. It has been over two months and I am still tearing up at the mention of her name. I knew when she passed I would be sad and my life would forever be different. I have lost many people in my short journey. This though is one of the hardest things I have ever had to sit through. My sadness has crawled into every crook and crany of my life. A person's death is mourned and understood. The grief shared is comprehended and approved of. The grief for a dog is different. Not all understand the depth of sadness. Not all dog-owner relationships are the same. My relationship with Abby was far deeper than I imagined. Her death had left a space that is larger. I did not realize that her being the only constant thing as I traveled created such a reliance on her in me for my security, identity, companionship and joy. She was my buddy, always there, always trust worthy, always forgiving. My heart has broken. I am trudging through my new life in 2017 without her. She was with me my whole adult life practically. This is a new reality. I have not wanted to eat, been really sensitive in my relationships, cried, dreamt of her, screamed, hit pillows, curled in a ball. My younger pup Bronte has taken up barking... for hours sometimes. She is mouthy and demanding. All of these things have gotten worse with Abby's passing. I know this is hard on her too. When she behaves poorly, or barks incessantly attempting to communicate with my lack of understanding all I can think is "I wish Abby was here". She could calm us both. We are navigating the world without her and failing. My attempts to make little Bronte feel secure are fruitless. This may be one of the most profound wind changes in my life so far. I am struggling to find the way to honor and remember Abby while moving forward and not being fake or cheesy. I am sure I will write on this journey further.
The second thing is my departure from the church/ denomination I have been part of for my entire adult life. I will dedicated a post (or two) just to this. This has also affected most aspects of my life. I won't dive into the details now however somethings happened and I saw patterns through out the movement that I was deeply uncomfortable with. I have seen the patterns for the better part of 10 years. I kept thinking that I can help change it, people don't mean it, they are just human. After all we all make mistakes. I think this last wake up call helped me realize that these things were not going to change, it was not what I believed in or is Godly, and I can not represent it. I was tired of performing and feeling as though if I did not do it their way I was wrong or in sin. That is not the bible. I have come to the place where I want to follow God, not a church, pastor, doctrine, or tradition. I think that our fight in life as disciples is to not become pharasies. The system as it is sets us up to only do that. It is very difficult to be different. I don't mean to rock the boat and have had no intention of bashing anyone. I have valued my time in the church, it has profoundly altered me and assisted me in becoming who I am. I will always be grateful for that. I am however not able to with a good conscience stay as a member of that denomination. I am a disciple, I believe in God and following him. I still believe in being connected to the church, the body, and having close relationships with other believers. I have just taken a stand for my beliefs regarding this and I am looking forward to the growth that is coming. For now I am grieving the loss of relationships, the judgement, disappointment, suspicion, and people attempting to save me from hell because they don't understand my decision. I stopped going to this church last fall sometime. I have been fighting to salvage my faith since. The reactions of people I thought were my family and would love me not matter what have left some deep scars. Some have stood by me, even in the face of not getting it. These trusted friends have been a light in my life as my decision to leave has shaken my world, changing my friends, activities, culture, and security. I am learning and growing in such positive ways. As I learn more who God is and what he really means by freedom in Christ and my grace is sufficient.
I also moved home to Washington in August. I am living in a small town north of Spokane working at a health department. It has been very healing for me since my last job in Alabama. The abuse that my boss inflicted on not just me but others was substantial and appalling. I have a supportive supervisor, employees and organization now. It is amazing the difference that a job you enjoy can make in your life.
The last thing I want to share is that I'm getting married!!! My fiance Jake is an amazing man! I want to write so much about our relationship and how blessed I feel that he is in my life. He is constantly showing me a new side to things, grace and how to laugh. He is caring and compassionate. He is thoughtful and strong. I respect him and who he has become through his life journey. It has been a disruptions since some people in my life don't approve because he is not in the church or share their belief in things, but it is an addition to my life I did not expect. We have been doing things a little different than people expect and I love it though because it works for us. We are not the most traditional people and I am looking forward to writing about the wedding planning, and us. Mostly I can't wait for our long distance to be over and our lives to start together!!