What I learned on my drive to Portland

Yesterday, I had two {subtle, but monumental} aha moments.  Moments that I’ve been waiting for along my journey, but wasn’t exactly conscious of or knew they were going to happen.

On my drive to Portland, I decided to skip the radio and listen to my small writing group’s discussion on Voxer – our Hope*Circle is Grief + Loss.  I was a little behind from last week’s conversations, so I thought it’d be a perfect time to catch up.  One of the group members had left a message this morning that enlightened me.  She read the verse 1 Timothy 1:12.

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.” 1 Timothy 1:12

And it hit me in a way it hasn’t before.  I have been given this life, this journey, this story because I was trusted with it.  I was trusted with it to live it out and tell the story.  I have been through a difficult time (and I’m sure more difficult times to come), but I am faithful and I was trusted to survive and tell my story.  Tell my story so it can help others, regardless of the way my reader receives it.

It was an overwhelming feeling of conviction, relief, and gratitude – all at the same time.

My second big moment came when I was driving back to the coast from the blogger meetup I attended in Portland.  I attended this meetup out of invitation from a girl who I met while working.  She had great style, loved all things Target and West Elm, and she had a Day Designer planner.  I knew she was my kind of girl.  We connected through social media, exchanged a few emails, and the next thing I know, I’m being invited to this fun Portland blogger meetup at this adorable shop I’ve always wanted to visit, making fun bath bombs and bath salts.  Unfortunately, my new friend wasn’t going to be able to attend, but she still encouraged me to go.  I was a little hesitant as I wouldn’t know a soul there, but like I said, I wanted to visit this shop (it wasn’t open when we went by on my birthday weekend) and if all else fails, then I get away from the coast for a day and get some amazing bath bombs for the bath tub I don’t have.

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Well, I went.  And I’m so glad I did.  The ladies who came were so much fun.  Everyone had a unique and different blog – from mom blogs to lifestyle and food blogs.  Well, when it came to be my turn to introduce myself and my blog, I was, to be honest, a little nervous.  My blog isn’t a colorful, hip lifestyle blog nor is it a cute and fun mom blog.  My blog is about my journey through grief and loss, and finding hope and courage to navigate through that loss.  But, for the first time in a long time, and maybe even the first time ever, I confidently said what my blog is about, and I didn’t feel the need to hide or hold back my story of losing my husband.  In previous situations where I meet someone for the very first time, no previous social media interaction (read: creeping), no contextual prep of my story from a mutual friend, I don’t bring up in the first minute that I’m a widow and I lost my first husband to cancer.  I don’t like making that the first, initial introduction of myself to someone I’ve never met.  However, yesterday was different.  I don’t know if it was this feeling of “I may never see these people again or have to see these people again, so just let it all out.”  Or if it was my epiphany from the drive over, and now having this sense of acceptance and ownership of my story.  Either way, it felt different.  It felt freeing.  And it just felt good.  A feeling I haven’t felt in quite some time.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my time with like-minded women, making fun things, networking, and discussing mutual struggles in this crazy blogging world.  The drive back over to the coast was beautiful as the sun was out again – I’m starting to realize and appreciate it more the longer I live here in Oregon.  My cup was full again from visiting the city, doing city things, learning from unique, smart women, and catching up with my favorite Hope*Circle ladies.  Returning home to my boys was the icing on the top.

Accepting and owning your story, your journey takes time and takes faith.  Even in the periods of darkness.  Just wait – and you’ll be shown the light.

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