A Very Merry Unbirthday to Me!

***WARNING*** The following is a rather lengthy, rambling speech-thing written by a lunatic about something that really never gets easier to talk about (seriously, I thought I’d be fine… but I’m freaking out) and will probably make people uncomfortable. Proceed of your own free will and choice.

So, I’d *thought* I was done with my book, but I wasn’t… and so I finished my 13th draft today, on Friday the 13th of December, my Unbirthday. The manuscript is *officially* being sent to production. YAY!!!! As tough as this edit was, this book is even better now, and more perfectly aligned with what I dreamed than I imagined possible. Seriously. I’m so excited and SO ridiculously happy!!! A very Merry Unbirthday to me!!!

Now that’s just good luck.

It has been a little over 9 years since I lost all hope and planned out the final moments of my life. 9 years and 1 night since my conviction faltered, and I cried out in prayer for someone to save me. And 9 years to the day since Someone answered, and I was stopped in my tracks, and my life was changed forever.

These pictures represent only a few of the highlights from just this year. I *never* would’ve imagined that *this*—my life now—was my future. And now I’m crying. I am so humbled. There aren’t words. While these 9 years have held some crazy difficult times, they have also held magnificent, wonderful *joy* beyond anything I ever dreamed possible. I have a darling baby boy that wouldn’t be here (that still blows my mind—he wouldn’t be here). I have a book that’s about to be published, a book that would’ve never been written—a dream that I’ve held in my heart since before I could even read, that would’ve never been lived.

If you’re going through storms, if the sky is dark and you feel broken and exhausted, please, *please* don’t give up. I know it’s so hard to see now—I *know* it, I know it—but you have so much joy ahead of you. So many beautiful moments you don’t want to miss. You have no idea what’s in store for you, if you’ll just hang on.

As I reached out in prayer for help all those years ago, I *know* I was guided out of that darkness. It’s how I know our Savior is there and that He hears us. He loves us and understands us perfectly, and if we listen with an open heart, He *will* guide us through! Through Him, I learned how to move forward, and found courage to step outside of my comfort zone—one baby step at a time—and go after the life I wanted. I tell you what, I’m scared most of the time—it’s one of those things I’m in therapy for. But I’ve learned how important it is for my sanity to listen to my gut and not back down, and chase after what I want out of life anyway.

Ultimately, it is *us* who decides what we can and can’t do. Not the people out there who bully us, who criticize us, who tell us we can’t. Not our fears. There comes a point where that noise travels through our minds, where we analyze it and decide if it’s true. And we can say to the dark voices, “Maybe you’re right. But I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to give it all I’ve got. I’m going to fight until I find a way through. I have to try.”

And why not? What is life when you live it within self-imposed walls? A cage made of fear and excuses?

And it doesn’t have to be anything big. Even what the world would consider “small” dreams have deep meaning when they make your heart sing. Like, I seriously have wanted to work at Spirit Halloween for years. I freaking LOVE Halloween! And this year, I finally got to do it! And it made my soul so happy.

I’ve decided that—rather than let my despair and pain end my life with those I love, and stop me from doing the things I love; rather than let my anger and hate drive me away from the God I love, I am going to do everything in my power to live the Love I truly believe in with all of my heart, and become the person I’ve always wanted to be.

Oh my gosh, I have such a long ways to go, but I have come *so* far. And you darn well better believe that I will work my guts out, I will fight with everything I have. I will rise up from every tumble down the mountain, from every plummet into a ravine. I will dust myself off, clean and patch up the cuts, wrap the broken bones, and move forward. I will *NEVER* give up.

Why?

Because these last 9 years have taught me that—you have no idea what good things lay along the horizon.

You don’t know the Heavenly treasures that lay at the top of the mountain.

Every freaking dream is possible—even my new dream of health and healing—if you just refuse to give up. And I will never, ever give up.

So don’t you give up, either.

You are not alone. We’re on this floating rock in the dark, chasm of space together. We’re toiling through life, exhausted. But if I can make it another step, and then another—I know you can, too. You’re so much stronger than you think. You’ve made it through so many things that no one can truly understand, and you’re still here. That, right there, shows how strong you are. You have no idea what awesome things the next 9 years hold for you, if you just never, ever give up.

And if you ever, ever need someone to talk to, to lean on, please know I’m here for you. I don’t always know what to say, but I’m here to listen and stand beside you.

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