Making Peace with Myself
Once the Christmas decorations are put away and the New Year's Eve parties are had, there is something so special and precious about the early days of the new year. I can't quite put my foot on it, but I think you know what it is I'm thinking of... it's as if a hush falls. People begin going their separate ways, returning to their normal lives, and yet the warmth of the holidays lingers like the warmth from a deep hug. There's talk of resolutions, better habits, plans to make, and it feels like, in the quiet emptiness, there's a soft buzz of opportunities, of "what could be."
I was washing my hands in the bathroom the other day when I looked up in the mirror and saw her. Brittany. Myself. She looked a little different – a revised, more mature version – and there were some things about her that I liked more than the "old" version. Notably, the ability to have peace and remain calm in scary situations, and her bold move to part her hair in the middle. But still, there she was. The girl I saw in the mirror was no longer a stranger.
I think some of the things that have contributed to this are obvious... I'm back home, in community with people who know me deeply. I don't have a newborn anymore. I've been a mom for over a year. Some of the things aren't as obvious. I'm hormonally in a different place than I was while pregnant and during post-pregnancy. Chris and I have changed, for the better. The "starter home" of our marriage is gone, and it's been replaced by a house that better suits our season of life.
It's as if when I put away the Christmas decor, I closed the chapter of 2017 and opened a new page. And yet, it's not blank. I have clarity that I haven't had in over two years. I have learned to live in the present. I have learned that it's ok not to have answers about what's next – when I'll return to work, when we'll have more kids, what are Chris's career goals. I've learned it's ok to simultaneously fear the future and trust God with it. And that gives me immense peace.
Pre-clerkship Brittany is still part of who I am, but she is no longer who I am. Just like I could not remain who I was in high school or who I was in college, I will change and grow in adulthood as well. I thought I had a strong sense of who I was, my strengths and weaknesses, before becoming a mom, and those things are still true of me... But what I didn't realize is that this change in identity would bring about a new chapter of myself as well. I think a more clear way to put it is this: I thought, in the file of things that make me "Brittany," I would add "mom" as an additional file. But instead, my file become "Brittany – Mom." It is most similar to becoming a wife, but different in that there is a person in my life now who will primarily know me by a new name (Mom) and not by my name I have known myself by (Brittany).
Writing is often one of the most healing ways for me to process my thoughts. It's where I amass things discussed in text messages, over phone calls, in the car with my mom, thoughts I have while watching Grace play, conversations between Chris and I, actions between Chris and I, and the things God is revealing to me. It's also a place I can return to over time and see His faithfulness. I'm building Ebenezer stones here for when I will inevitably forget that He is good, and especially that He is good to me.
So today, on January 13th, 2018, I see myself in the mirror. I see that His design is changing with the seasons and yet her root is the same. His design was clever, meant to change with the times, but the overall structure does not give way and is everlasting. It is He in me, and for that, I am deeply thankful.