My publicist, Kat, is great at reminding me when my blog posts are due, not to mention a zillion other things in which I greatly appreciate. But I’ll be the first to admit that writing this blog post, especially now, was particularly tough. It’s usually one in which I try to reflect on the past year and provide encouragement about the new one. As a Christian writer for women and children, my confession of dread may seem perplexing to readers.
For sure, I must count my life’s blessings. My youngest daughter married a wonderful man this year and his family is warm, kind and generous; Great things are about to happen with my jewelry line but I can’t announce that news quite yet; I was allowed, alongside my oldest daughter, to serve others in Africa and it was totally life-changing.
But in typical Angie Spady fashion, I gotta be raw and real with you: This year has also been extremely tough. I’m not quite ready to explain the devil in the details, so you’ll just have to trust me. There have been days in which dying seemed easier, days in which I screamed with utter fury at God, and yes, days I laughed with my tribe of girlfriends as a sheer reminder that it was better than crying hysterically.
Sweet sister, there are some years in which we personally cannot say “adios!” quick enough. Perhaps you can relate?
If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you know I’m a big fan of the Counting Crows. It seems quite appropriate that I mention the song, Long December. Check out a snippet of these lyrics or you can listen to the song here.
And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last;
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass…
And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood;
Oh, it’s been so long since I've seen the ocean...
I guess I should…
How I love this song. Although it might seem a little depressing upon initially listening, there’s hope at the end, or at least that’s how yours truly interprets it. There’s the decision to see the ocean and be reminded of the ongoing-ness of life; to go back to the sea and realize that life is way bigger than who we are; to put life in perspective and treasure every little thing as it unfolds.
There’s a reason I play this song over and over in December.
But there’s also another song in which I love this time of year: Do You Hear What I Hear? Oh, and the version in which I must always listen is the one sung by Whitney Houston. Although she was a such a troubled soul, how one can listen to her rendition and not be filled with hope and the love of Jesus is beyond me. Without a doubt, her expression of this song is one of the most powerful I’ve heard in my life. You can check it out here.
Recently this song came across my Spotify as I was baking cookies. For whatever reason, I could not hold back the tears. I’d been in a vulnerable state and contemplating so many things in my life. My tears came forth the most when I specifically thought about Whitney Houston's life. She was beautiful, amazingly talented and seemed to have the world by the tail. But secretly, she was waging a nonstop battle on a wide variety of levels: drugs, insecurity and a crippling fear of revealing her true self. My heart broke as I recalled that she was yet another tormented soul gone too soon.
But dear friend, aren’t we all waging internal battles of some kind?
Of course, some of us may be more in tune with them than others, but they exist nonetheless. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year, it’s the blessing of having incredible friends who love one another enough to go to fight alongside them. You’ve probably read about or seen on Facebook the references to “My Tribe.” They are fierce, smart, sincere and selfless women who are the epitome of loving others as Christ loves them. Oh, how I treasure these ladies.
They’ve called me at night to make sure I’m okay, and checked on me the very next morning to ensure my reply was the same. When I’ve been upset and didn’t want to answer the door, they’ve stood outside my window and shouted, “We are not going away, Angie! I guess we’ll have to stand out here and freeze to death!”
These are the people you want with you in battle.
If you haven’t allowed yourself to be vulnerable enough to share your struggles with a friend, then draw close to this computer and try to imagine me softly touching your arm and whispering, “You are beautiful to God and He WANTS you to lean on others, as He’s put them in your life FOR A REASON.”
I’m not the sharpest crayon in the box, but I’ve learned the hard way that hiding in my shell like a turtle does not serve me well. Sure, I still have days in which I need to shut the world out and have twenty-four hours of solitude, but then I try with everything in me to poke my head out every so gently. What does that look like? I may answer the phone instead of my typical texting; I may go to the gym instead of exercising alone; I go to dinner with friends instead of worrying about what others may be thinking. I LISTEN to others when they attempt to speak truth into my heart and mind.
I’m learning that “Do You Hear What I Hear?” can take on all sorts of meanings. But that’s how God works. He created and knows us intimately. He will use our interests, our talents and our hobbies to whisper messages that pull at our heart strings. Oh, how very thankful we should be for such omnipotence!
As I listen to my favorite songs this morning, I am optimistic about 2020. I’m going to try so ever-lovin’ hard to pay it forward, to remind others that they are talented, beautiful and loving beings. I will remind them that God is over-the-moon in love with them, regardless of their transgressions and I will not judge. I’ll leave that part up to God. It’s as simple as that.
I will speak my truth, live my truth, and live and love without fear or shame.
I pray, dear one, you can do that as well. It’s a wonderful reason to embrace 2020 with open arms. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my amazing subscribers who send me messages that touch my heart more than you’ll ever know. Allow God to touch your heart now and throughout the year.
Hear Him quietly whisper your name and then, sweet friend, look up at the Heavens and smile….
Brightest of Blessings,