a life she loved

I think there is something to be said for making changes.  There is always a positive when you set a goal for yourself and then press toward that achievement.  And when you can look back at that goal – when you’re looking over the changes – you can actually SEE the difference you’ve made in your life…that’s a pretty exciting moment.  That moment when you realize that the changes have propelled you forward into a more charmed life than you imagined.  Yes.  THAT moment makes the aches and growing pains worth it.  The people who haven’t understood – the people who have been your nay-sayers and your disbelievers – those are the ones you had to look at  and remind over and over “Pardon My Progress” while you pressed forward.  THOSE are the people who are exactly where they were when you began your journey…Behind you.

As I mentioned last week, I am so beyond blessed that my cup runneth over.  But I didn’t expound upon how that happened.  Or on the growing pains I experienced during that process.  Each change that occurred in my life over the last 2 years has come with a certain amount of sacrifice, and an extreme amount of dedication.  Oh – and a TON of prayer.  From making the decision to lose weight and be a healthier person, to my divorce, to nursing school, each of those changes – those challenges – provided the opportunity for progress.  However, each of those challenges also came with loss.

When I began nursing school, I knew that I would have to give up my “free” time.  I tried to be up front with my family and friends about how much of me that would consume.  But even I wasn’t entirely prepared for the amount of me I would have to give to cross that finish line.  There were people in my life who were supportive, but in the end they didn’t actually understand the commitment I was making.  Those people included my children’s father.  And within mere weeks, the marriage that was already in danger collapsed.  It then became friends, and even some family.  But I knew that this was the direction I was supposed to go.  Some didn’t understand that.  And that’s okay.  I had to keep going anyway.  But there were some who stuck right there.  They knew the sacrifice.  They knew the struggle.  They knew how much I wanted that nursing license – they knew that failure was absolutely NOT an option.  And they were there cheering and jumping up and down with me when I completed that.

About a year and a half ago, I decided I wanted to be healthier and stronger.  I started eating better, began running and working out.  It honestly sucked.  But it was something I wanted for myself – I wanted to be able to keep playing with my kids and not get winded.  I wanted to be confident.  I wanted to feel strong.  Believe it or not, there are people who don’t get that sacrifice either.  And no matter how good the friend, you will never know how good a friend they are until you’re on day 3 of a “low carb week”, and you show up *literally* snarling and breathing fire at the bus stop to get your kid, and that friend smiles and suggests you should go home and eat a potato.  That friend understands “hangry”.  And anyone who says hunger isn’t an emotion is wrong.  When you’re starting that new lifestyle – giving up the junk you used to eat and drink, and working out – you are hungry…and you feel that crap in your SOUL!  Those friends who still love you after you’ve nearly removed their head out of hanger.  Those friends who have challenged you to yet another 5k while you still have blisters from the last one.  Those friends who send you harrassing texts when you are trying to ditch your nightly run.  Those friends who help you out of the car after “leg day” because you can’t walk.  THOSE people are the ones who love you AND your goals.  The rest don’t understand how important your progress is.

When I actually look back at the last 2 years, I don’t feel sorry for what I’ve lost.  Not in the least.  I’m very blessed.  I read a quote once that said “She designed a life she loved”.  There was a time where I couldn’t imagine that being true, but now I get to live it.  I love my life.  And God has been so faithful to me.  He gave me strength when I truly had none.  He protected my heart when I could have been foolish with it.  He strengthened my mind when I didn’t feel like I could handle one more exam.  He gave me people who supported and encouraged me when I needed it most.  And He gave me the ability to look at the people who didn’t and say, “Pardon my progress, but I’ve got a beautiful life to live.”