Welcoming 2022!

Can you believe we’re already a week into 2022?! How is your year shaping up? Got all your goals set or a focus word chosen? Share one in the comments!

Only a week in, and I’m already seeing a significant amount of negativity regarding this new adventure. Memes to the effect of ‘a new year is too risky’ and the general concept that things will only get worse abound.

And I get it! Especially after the week I’ve just had. It’s been a rough couple years for everyone. And so far, the coming year looks bleak. But it doesn’t have to be…if our focus is on the right things.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite Prince of Egypt songs, ‘When You Believe’. If you don’t know it, the song starts off with how bleak the world looked for the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Decades of praying for deliverance with no answer. Generations of yearning for a land that had been promised. Then the refrain that goes: ‘There can be miracles/When you believe/Though hope is fail/It’s hard to kill’.

What’s always stood out to me here is that prayer and belief, specifically in the fact that God remembers his people, bring hope. It might take longer than we want. We might feel trapped in the desert. But God has not forgotten us. No matter how bleak our world gets, there is still hope to be found in him.

So this year, instead of writing out my usual overwhelming list of goals, I’m doing something I’ve never tried before. I’m focusing on one word: HOPE. And yes, I do still have a few goals I’m working towards. But no matter how those play out or what new projects present themselves in the coming year, I have hope. Hope and belief that God will guide me in the correct path for my life. And that’s far better than any goal I could set myself.

Here’s my challenge for you. As you go out into this new year, go with prayer. Go with belief. And go with hope.

Beautiful Scars

We tend to think of scars as ugly, don’t we? They’re reminders of our stupidity, weakness, tragedy, abuse, pain. We may occasionally take pride in one with a great story behind it, but for the most part we hide them in shame.

I know that’s how I’ve often felt about mine. There’s one from disembowelment I’ve always particularly hated. (ok, it was really an ileostomy & reversal 😉). Sometimes I look on it with a sense of pride. Here is proof I can be a warrior! I fought for my life after a premature birth and overcame! But most often, I only see the imperfections. The reminder that I’ve always been small and weak. The fact that I can’t take credit for my scars. After all, I was just a newborn. What did I really do? That’s all down to God, my parents, and the doctors.

But I’m learning that’s where the beauty lies. No battle is won, no scar overcome, by a lone warrior. We need God and each other for true healing. When you can move from ‘this happened to me’ to ‘I survived this’ to ‘God and family saw me through this’ and find pride in that, your scars are no longer ugly imperfections but beautiful reminders.

So today, I’m proudly showing you my beautiful scar.
Now, tell me, brave warriors, what beauty lies behind yours?

Real Rae

This post is going to be a bit different. It’s going to get real and gritty, but hold on. There’s light at the end!

Here you first see me on my way to visit family. I had a wonderful time and felt great. I love showing off this side of myself.

But then you see the side of me I like to hide. The side that battles chronic exhaustion due to various health issues. The side that straight up throws a tantrum (only on occasion) when her alarm goes off. The side who’s one goal is to survive work so she can go sleep the rest of the day. The side who pays for a day or two of fun with up to a week of Complete and Utter Exhaustion Mode, then comes out of it stressing over all the catching up she has to do.

But I think, that’s part of why I have enjoyed working on To Slay a Curse so much. Giselle’s quest to kill Devoron, this curse monster who lives within her mind, whom no one can see but has utter control of her life, has been so cathartic. And the best part is, she doesn’t do it alone. She has friends who stand by her, who show her she’s worth it, who remind her she is strong when she feels so weak.

So, for all my friends out there battling illness (be it physical, mental, or emotional), this is for you. On those days when you are certain you can’t do it. When you feel like your life is meaningless and all you want to do is go home and cry, remember this: you are strong, and you are worth it, and you are loved, and you are never alone. 
God’s got this. So take a breath, take a nap, eat some chocolate, and try again. Your Devoron can be beaten. He is beaten every time you refuse to give up. He is beaten every time you smile through the pain. He is beaten every time you laugh with a friend. So don’t give up: don’t let him win. And I’ll be right there with you, fighting on.