Dear 37,

Well, here I am. Without any dramatic flair I can wholeheartedly say there was a moment in the last seven months where I honest to God wasn’t sure if I would see you. Typing that still takes a little breath out of my lungs. I’m so deeply and genuinely thankful to be here.

There’s some important things to realize about the girl I left – age 36 – at the stroke of midnight.

I am forever different. Not by choice, but here I am. Stronger. So energized. So exhausted. Fearless. Fearful. So sure. So unsure.

Stealing the words from Cory Asbury’s {not yet released} song that I had the honor of hearing a sneak peak of, “Both good and bad, happy and sad, everything belongs. Heartbreak writes the songs. Go ahead and feel the pain.”

The first half of year 36 seems like so long ago. It was a blur that I have a hard time remembering even if I try to recall it. I am certain it was full of good days and hard days, because…well, that’s life.

But then I got that call. The call that changed absolutely everything. It feels like forever ago because so much has happened, yet I can still remember the fog that came with that call so vividly. I am certain I saw an unwanted glimpse into what hell might be like during the eight days between diagnosis and knowing anything about how bad the cancer was. I know there are going to be hard moments yet to come in life, but I am not sure anything can top the uncertainty of knowing a deadly disease is within your body and you’re not sure how much damage it has done…if your days are now dramatically numbered.

I hope I have left behind the girl who let Satan in. The girl who heard him so loudly in my ear during many, many moments. He was so present. So loud. He threw gasoline on my fear. He fueled my insecurities.

But guess what? I am also leaving behind the girl who worries her faith may falter. Year 36 certainly could have been the year that caused it to, yet here I am never having been so sure of a God that is bigger than all of this. I am now a girl that knows without a doubt in the darkest of valleys, the absolutely-cannot-breathe, cannot take another step, terrifying moments…God shows up. You will not change my mind on if He is real and/or how good He is, you just won’t. Thirty-six year old me had some of the darkest moments of my life, and the unexplainable goodness I also experienced in those moments is something most people will simply never understand. It cannot be explained, but I promise you it is very, very real.

I am a girl stepping into 37 incredibly fearful, though perhaps not in the way you think (though there’s some of that fear too). I fear I will not fully live this one life I now deeply understand is so precious. I am afraid I will stay in my comfort zone. I am afraid I will not chase the dreams. I am afraid I will not pursue the passion. I fear I will not do exactly what I was put on this Earth to do. This type of fear has lingered in my mind for years, but the intensity of it after a cancer diagnosis is increasingly harder to ignore. 

Here’s the deal though, 37 – I am a force to be reckoned with. I can handle a whole bunch of heavy. I will bend, but I will not break (though I may come very, very close). I know this about myself now.

I am heading into this year so joyful. So appreciative. Abundantly grateful, BUT.

If I am being honest I am also heading into the year with a bit of guilt woven into all the sweetness of more time. Why are there others who weren’t given the blessing of another year? It is something I will never understand and will likely forever wrestle with. I know the why is not mine to understand, but the question is there.

I am bringing into this next year a girl who has left both things and people with 36. A girl who has learned what is important and what simply is not…where to put energy and where not to put it.

37, I am not naïve to think every day going forward will be easy(ier), even after the hell that came with 36. I do however know I will be grateful for every day, and I know so deeply that no matter what comes my way it can be handled (with the help of amazing people in my life + faith). The mountain can be conquered. The stillness of the valley can be a blessing. Yes, the detour chapter of cancer spills into this year, but I have hope (so much hope). Buckle up 37, because I plan on making up for what feels like some lost time.

Oh, and 36 – thank you for taking my pain and making it something beautiful. I genuinely mean that. As one of my favorite Andrew Ripp songs says, “Somehow all my suffering reveals a piece of Heaven.” You showed me a glimpse of both heaven and hell…and I am happy to report that no matter what heaven wins.  

One thought on “Dear 37,

  1. Yes, Sarah, I agree. Challenges can definitely make us a stronger being. We, ourselves, must choose to strive for that rainbow of strength. And confidently believe that the ONE above is always there to help.


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