I had no idea what was in store when I chose “Realign” for my One Word theme in 2023. I thought that after a year of “Reframing” (Reframe was my 2022 word) I would be setting things back in their right place. In many ways, that’s exactly what happened, but silly me, I didn’t expect it to be so hard. Or that end of 2023 Jamie would look, feel, and hope so differently than start of 2023 Jamie.
And God is far from done with me yet, but more on that in a few minutes.
Let’s talk about 2023
Many people have said this, but 2023 was one of my life’s hardest, most stressful, and most heartbreaking years. While that’s true, God has really shown me in the last month all the many ways that, through the heartache, it’s also been the year that he’s shown the most faithfulness. Funny how that happens. And how human of me to only see how hard it was. I even spent much of the year feeling betrayed by God because I felt I was following his direction for my life, yet it hurt so much!
Here’s what I’m learning and realizing. We have to reframe things in our hearts and minds, that’s the start of something. Then, they must be realigned. Anyone who has had bones or teeth reset knows that really hurts, and it can be hard to see the progress. That’s where the work is. The work is never truly over, but I’m at the place now where I’m trusting God to put things in the place where he intended all along for this next phase of my adult life. That’s the third phase. Is there a fourth and fifth phase? I dunno. Let me get through this next one first!
So, what areas did I realize I needed to reframe in 2022 and realign in 2023? Many of these involve other people, so I will be vaguer on some, but here are the big ones:
I rarely talk about my health first because I feel like it gets the most unwanted attention. In 2023, however, it was at the forefront. I’ve struggled all this year to determine how to handle talking about this, but truth is, I barely survived 2022 and almost didn’t survive 2023. Around the start of the new year last year, I was battling the most intense mental health crisis I’ve ever had, and I felt like I tried everything to ease it and was dangerously close to suicide. I was so close that I was sent for treatment at a local behavioral health hospital that has an amazing outpatient program that I, fortunately, qualified for. We discussed the in-patient option but it was determined that outpatient was the best option with a “monitor and see” approach.
At the end of the two weeks, I didn’t quite feel ready to launch back into the world, so an additional week was approved. I had regained my hope and sense of purpose but still felt too fragile to relaunch, so to speak. I likened it to when you finish most of your antibiotics, so you stop early and get sick again because you didn’t finish the treatment.
At the end of those three weeks, I knew I wasn’t “fixed,” but I had hope. I had better medication and a better understanding of what I needed to do to fight for myself. I’ve spent this entire year healing in body, mind, and spirit.
One of the biggest changes was, in March 2023, I joined an adaptive CrossFit class for people with spinal cord injuries. It only lasted a few months, but I loved it so much that I joined the gym as a regular adaptive member. Another friend joined me, and we continued going twice a week as much as we could together; we’ve toned up, lost some weight, and, most importantly, felt like a part of a small family.
When I need unmitigated support and people who just accept me for who I am and for what I can do as much as what I can’t do, I go to my CrossFit family. I work hard not to be one of “those” people who talk about their gym all the time, but it the mental and physical health benefits I’ve found there are so apparent in my life that anyone who is paying attention can tell there’s a difference.
Another big thing that happened in 2023 was I got a new wheelchair. This may seem usual, but this was my first time straying from the Quickie brand and getting a Ki Mobility wheelchair. It was also my first year to get a really bright color!
I also worked on several ongoing issues, including the ongoing insulin resistance, and received a few new diagnoses that needed new treatment plans.
All of this has been a stressful battle, but I am grateful it happened and to God for making it all possible.
In my brain, I put my volunteer work and my paid work together. This received another major overhaul that I’ve been slowly putting into place over the last year and more. First, I decided in 2022 not to take on any more ongoing clients so I could focus on the clients I had. In 2023, I decided I wanted to realign my work to be more about one-off projects than ongoing support.
Moving forward into 2024, I am cutting back on Jamie’s Notebook work and focusing on my book and corresponding podcast, both of which I hope to launch in the first quarter. I will also focus more on community development as part of the Community Development Institute, which I earned a three-year scholarship to participate in during 2023. This is an amazing opportunity for me to get community and economic development training, all paid for, over the next three years!
This area will receive the least detail despite it being the most complicated, simply because relationships, by their very nature, involve others. This blog and my social media are to tell my story, and it’s not my place to talk about other people’s journeys.
In 2023, God realigned many of my relationships by removing people from my life on his own, pushing me to take care of my health by drastically decreasing some people’s roles in my life and doing amazing, heart-wrenching work to repair relationships that really matter.
That gives me a segue into the next area, which is faith. Believing in God and trusting God are two very different things. A major thing that I never expected would happen is that in 2023, my husband and I became members of a local church. This was the first time in our adult lives to become members of a church, and we truly feel at home there. It’s also given me a group of women where I can start to build healthy friendships that I so desperately crave.
As I mentioned before, I struggled to trust God because I couldn’t figure out why obedience hurt so much. I feel like he’s now sharing those answers with me and showing that he can be trusted to guide me into the next step of life’s journey.
What’s next in 2024?
Now that I’ve highlighted the big areas of realignment in 2023, let’s look at 2024. My initial One Word was Renew, but I fortunately forgot it. I usually don’t pay much attention to the results of various online quizzes, but one showed me what my word really should be in Trust. Trust God to put things back in place in my life where they should be. Not where they were, which led to chaos. But where he wants the details to be.
The verse I chose doesn’t even have the word trust in it, which is a little ironic, I admit!
Well, that’s my wrap-up! What’s your word or theme for 2024? Leave me a comment!