I’ve been plagued with loss almost my entire life. When I was in elementary school, my Girls Scouts leaders and family members were killed in a car accident. And it seems that loss hasn’t stopped since then.540535_572906280538_1980147504_n

Between 7th and 8th grade, I lost an aunt…an aunt I was extremely close to…to lupus.

In 12th grade, I lost her sister to lupus. Another aunt, I was extremely close to.

Directly following my freshman year of college, I lost my grandfather to cancer.

The next summer, I lost my cousin (the son of my aunt I lost in the 12th grade) to a drive-by shooting.

The next summer, I lost my  uncle to lupus.

Eventually, I lost my grandmother. Then I lost my 16-year old cousin to a car accident. A few years later, last year, his father unexpected passed away.

Mind you…every person listed above were on the same side of my family.

I’ve also lost a very close great-aunt on my mother’s side and my godmother during this timeframe.

Yes. Loss is inevitable; a part of growing up. A part of growing up that sucks might I add.

This year, I had a loss that rocked my world and my faith. The loss of a 13-year old student at my church. And if you know anything about me, I love my students…and I had no idea how God could allow her to pass away…unexpected…and at such a young age.

And that’s when I learned, there’s a lot to learn in loss. Key lessons:

God is sovereign

God comforts

God listens

God forgives

God cares

God teaches through loss

Your faith is strengthened through loss

And even though all of the above is true, it’s still a process and hurts like heck.

Why am I writing this today…and right now.

I know people who have personally been impacted by a major loss…as of yesterday.

#1…Know that I love you and always love you.

#2…Know that your feelings are valid. That you can be absolutely made at God right now and that no one can tell you how you should feel.

#3…Allow yourself time to process and heal. It’s a process and it may get better before it gets worse. Tell God how you feel. Be mad but never turn away. Know we’re praying for you and it will all work out. When you can’t pray. We have your back.

#4…I repeat. I love you.

No go on. Grieve. Take your time to heal and go through the process…and know that the family is here for you.

Love you infinitely.

 

“2014 will be a year of peace. If you bring drama, you may as well leave. I cannot be scared of those who
may leave. 
I cannot be afraid of what I cannot see.” – written on the inside cover of my journal at the end of 2013.

Sometimes big changes require drastic changes.

2014 will be a year of peace.” That’s what continues to go through my head as I take a look at where I am in my life.

Making this statement was hard. I knew that with this statement there was a good change I would be giving up a long-term relationship. One where marriage was in talks. One where I had a beautiful promise ring. One where no one thought it would ever end.

photoOne where happiness no longer lived. There were tears. There were fights. And no matter how hard I tried, I just wasn’t good enough.

And I was tired.

I couldn’t do it anymore.

On Jan 5, 2014, I said goodbye to that relationship.

3 months later, I’m better for it.

The lesson: Big changes may require drastic changes.

Since the breakup, I’ve seen a drastic change in my life, my mood, and my energy. I’m happier, and I have a newfound understanding of living life, loving Gina, and not being so anxious to have the love that others profess to have found.

But the breakup was just the beginning of more life-changing changes.

With the loss of a young lady, my faith was rocked to the core. I questioned why God would let something like that happen – and so suddenly. I cried hard. I prayed hard. It took a lot of fight to keep my faith. I was mad at God. I was hurt by the situation. I was overwhelmed. I just didn’t know how to handle it. I still have pain. Yet, I’m stronger.

Then something else changed – my dream. RRP Marketing began its journey of cessation. The activation of a new Gina was in motion. Appreciating the finer, less tangible things in life became a priority.

And finally, in less than 14 days, my Facebook account will be deleted. Not just deactivated. Deleted.

These were all bold leaps. In the midst of personal weakness, I found personal strength. I’m no longer chasing what others have nor what makes others happy. This year, I’m being a bit selfish. And it feels good.