When I was a little girl, we lived down a long rocky driveway. I would ride my bike from our house to the end of it every day to get our mail. The mailboxes were bunched together on the side of the state highway where our driveway came out. I used to dream of inventing a cover that would allow me to zip myself inside of my bike while I rode it as to avoid the rain. Looking back now I was very creative as a child, and I am sorry I lost that part of myself for a decade (or three).

I digress.

I just walked down my new driveway to get my mail, and I was struck - as I slowly walked back up to the house - that I have finally gotten that long rocky driveway of my dreams…which suddenly felt like a touchstone moment.

There it is.

…and there you are God.

In the midst of that wince of pain, I felt ALL the gratitude for the home you have given me in the little #100acrewood where it is quiet and peaceful and I can breathe…again.

Breathe.

For how long…and how often…do I simply forget to take the long deep breaths of LIFE?

I had a boss/mentor once who would send me emails that had one line in them.

Breathe.

That was it. Breathe. I would laugh, and then breathe, every time I got one…and Thursday night I got to thank him in person, and in front of others, for believing in me, pouring into me, and encouraging me for now on 21+ years.

He was the first boss, first leader, that understood me and saw me. I have thought a lot about that and him since Thursday night. He is a special type of leader, man, and HUMAN. To think I could have missed that experience.

What are the odds that ANY of the amazing people that cross our paths do…in fact…cross our paths? I need someone to do that math for me.

I have been the luckiest girl in the world for God has placed the most amazing people in my life. Period. Full stop.

It is easy to focus on all that I didn’t/don’t/won’t have in this one life, but that is the thing about getting healthy, getting older…you realize that it is a million and one chance you get anything, meet anyone, experience/see/do… Each day is a gift. Just like all the books say. Including the one that matters most, the Bible.

“To everything there is a season…” - Ecclesiastes 3

So why would I waste time bemoaning what I don’t have? Why would I give the enemy that win?

There is a beautiful song by Cory Asbury called “Born Again” and I write this to you with all sincerity…I believe God is giving me a second life, a do over, a chance and place to breathe. I believe I have been born again this season of Lent. Thursday night I blurted out to a group of some of the most important people in my whole 47+ year old life - “I believe I am weeks away from living my absolute best life in all areas and on all cylinders.” Who says that?!?!

*thrusts up arm and waves wildly*

I sure did.

Lent is about reflection + preparation before the celebration. Well…I am ready to celebrate. All that was. All that is. All that is to come. I see you God. I see you in the heartbreak and pain. I see you in the wilderness. I see you in the remaking. I see you in the healing. I see you in the restoration. I see you here…now…with me, and I want to hold onto this feeling forever and ever and ever.

I remember the pain, but it is dull now…the JOY is pushing it out. Joy. Where did this come from???

Gratitude. Joy is an off-shoot of gratitude. I have been fighting for gratitude in the midst of all of the struggle and bravery this past year, and this is my reward…JOY.

Thank. You. God.

When I was a little girl, they called me Sunny Nelson or Sunshine. There is a whole story there, but what sticks out for me today is that I felt her inside me walking down that driveway earlier. Not disconnected. Integrated. Fully. That is the gift of counseling + healing. Integration of the young, broken girl inside of you with the strong, brave woman of today.

I see you God. I see what you did there. I see what you are doing…here, in me. I am so grateful.

Now…let’s go take a walk.

“My God and I go in the field together, We walk and talk like good friends should and do; We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter…” {from the hymn “My God and I”}

From my heart to yours, Happy Easter - Heather