2014: An Unreasonable Journey

11:00 AM

I remember this was my prayer at the beginning of this year. 2014, please be awesome. If you remember my post at the end of last year, 2013 wasn't so great. And I mean, there was no way 2014 could suck more than 2013, right? Right!

At the start of this year, People Church deemed this year the "Year of the Unreasonable." This year for me has been just that. 2014 has been a year of unreasonable faith in painful circumstances, unreasonable mercy in the midst of the storm, and unreasonable peace as I was covered in His grace. I'm excited to share with you why this year rocked!

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At the start of 2014, I was homeless. I was crashing on couches, bouncing in and out of hotel rooms, and sleeping in my car in the middle of the polar vortex. I had left my ex-husband back in November of 2013, which was terrifying. But it would have been much more devastating to stay in darkness. I slept in movie theaters when I needed a comfortable, warm place to sleep during the day and I washed up in more Starbucks bathrooms than I care to admit.

At the start of the year, I also had to fight to stay in school. At the end of Fall 2013 as everything in my personal life was unfolding, I took a leave of absence from school. I didn't realize, however, that this meant I would be ineligible to receive my financial aid for the spring until my work for the fall was complete. I had to sign a contract promising to complete my work by February 28th in order to receive my funds and continue in school for the spring.

On top of all the fun I was having so far in 2014, I found out that I was losing my job. It couldn't have come at a worse time. I was trying to appear outwardly calm, while inwardly I was sinking. I thought, God seriously, what else can you take from me? Everything that I thought that I was is disappearing. No longer a wife, possibly no longer a student, no longer employed. How can it get any worse?

Well...it got worse. I got another job within a few weeks of getting laid off, but it was a nightmare. It was causing me so much anxiety that I couldn't sleep at night without some type of sleep aid. I would wake up physically nauseous in the morning. I felt like I was going to break under the workload I was given. One day, my boss called me into her office and asked me to take on more responsibility or she was going to have to let me go. I chose to quit. There was no way I could do any more than I was already doing. I couldn't mentally carry anything else.

Mind you, all of this was happening as I was finalizing my divorce, going through counseling, and battling depression.

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So, how was 2014 better than 2013? The answer is unreasonable. I finally found a comfortable, safe place to live with central a/c & heat, completely furnished, a rooftop patio, 4 bedrooms, 2 & 1/2 baths, washer & dryer, and garage parking. Literally, all I had to do was bring my clothes and toiletries! I'm still there now. I love my house and my roommates! It's the perfect adult rooming situation.

Not only did I complete all of my work for fall 2013, but I finished my work early! Through tears, sleepless nights, and wanting to give up multiple times, somehow, I turned in my work a week early. I did all of this while still doing coursework for my spring classes. I passed Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Fall 2014 with flying colors. Moreover, I produced work that I'm actually proud of this year. That means more to me than any grade ever could.

Despite my job troubles, I never had to worry about my finances this year. Not ever once. It was like every time I turned around, God was covering me somehow. I got surprise checks in the mail. I got a call saying that the school was paying me more money because I had been a star student. I earned cash back because I paid my bills on time. At every turn, God was showing up and showing out. He was literally pouring out blessings that I barely had room to receive.

All of these things are unreasonable, and wonderful, and incredible. But one of the best things that happened to me over the course of this year...was discovering for myself that I am beautiful. I've struggled with low self-esteem and self-loathing for a long time. My past marriage certainly didn't help the matter. But, the truth is, I hated myself. I had for a long time. I saw no beauty in me. But slowly, inch by inch, through watery eyes, God began to lift the blinds and open the windows of my soul. I started taking pictures of myself all. the. time. But the photos were for me, no one else. I didn't post them. I would just stare at these pictures...and God would speak to me and say, "I am enthralled with your beauty. I created you fearless, strong, brave, and gorgeous." I realized that I am physically beautiful and that I have a beautiful heart. Me!!? Really??! Pam Johnson...the girl who since age 7 believed that she was worthless, suddenly began to see beauty in herself. It's like the poet e.e. cummings once said, "now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened."

God began to mend my broken heart by opening my eyes to realize that the love I had received was not the love I deserved. Not by a long shot! In fact, His love is the only perfect love and I needed to accept that first & foremost. But I wrestled God over this. Why should He love me? Why should anyone love me? Why should I love me? It is unreasonable, but I learned that His love is mine to accept, not mine to understand. Simple as that. It is unreasonable that someone would look upon my flaws and say that I am no mistake and that I am a wonder in His sight. And yet, He does. He loves me. His love for me is perfect, complete, and unconditional. And I don't need anyone else to show me that love. I am already made whole within it.

And wouldn't you know it, the moment I started to accept His love, I started to love me. I love Pam Johnson. I do. And then, I was able to accept love from other people. Man, the relationships I have built over the last year have been unreal. I have people in my world now who I didn't even know a year ago and yet, I couldn't imagine my life without them now. I have incredible leaders, incredible friends, incredible family...and an incredible lover now. Because of His love, I love me and I love others more than I ever have. I don't have to name who you are, but you know. Thank you all for being on this wild, crazy, unreasonable journey with me. We're family now, forever bound in this life together.


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Alright, picture time!! Here are some of my favorite moments from 2014!


Worship 



It is my genuine joy to use my gifts to build His house.


Traveling 





St. Louis and Arkansas were much-needed mental breaks in this crazy whirlwind of a year. I had an absolute blast with my family and best friends! Plus, I had to include this perrrrrfect photo of my big brother's beautiful family!! We were all so thrilled when my nephew was born


75 lbs Down!



Woo hoo!! What a landmark! Check out my post on this for more weight loss joy!


Fashioned




One of the most incredible, life-changing conferences EVER. The bonds that were built and the chains that were broken were just mind-blowing. I love the people I get to do life with!


That Girl



This poem means so much to me. I plan to write a post in the new year that breaks it down a bit more, but all I can say right now is that these were the words God placed on my heart. It's my journey. And I'm so much stronger now.


Finding Love in the Most Unexpected Place





This one right here...deserves it's own post. So, be looking for that. It'll be the first post in the New Year. All I can say now is: to my Honey Dip, my best friend, my unexpected love, my fellow worship leader, my musician...DeMico, you are more than I could have hoped for. I'm happy we got the chance to choose each other. Love you to the moon and back.



2014, you rocked my world!! I'm looking forward to 2015: The Year of Overflow.

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6 comments

  1. I love this post and you, best friend!

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  2. You know they say never judge a book by its cover. Well, I wouldn't have thought in a million years you had gone through so much. Pam, your story is touching. You are the true definition of a phenomenal woman. Keep doing what God has called you to do and remember give Him all the glory and praise! You rock girl!!!

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    1. Thank you so much! You're right, too. I didn't think of it that way, "never judge a book by its cover." So good!

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  3. Very inspirational...You have an amazing story and I'm glad that you shared it with the world. God bless you!!

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    1. Thank you! Praying your 2015 is blessed as well! :)

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