A few days ago, I was going through my Facebook page and looking at some old pictures.  I really like how Facebook reminds us of things we were doing a year ago (and two, and five years ago) because it’s like a journal but with pictures instead of words.  Last summer I did spend a good amount of time reflecting but I have very little memory of what I actually wrote in my journal and I’m a little bit hesitant to go back and read those entries. A year ago, I was not feeling well. It was a strange mixture of feelings.  I felt both empty inside but also so emotional that I didn’t quite know how to deal with the different feelings and I eventually exploded.   When I see pictures that I took of myself a year ago I see how unstable I was.  I realize now that it was during this time of emotional chaos that God stepped in.  I understand that God had always been there to support me but it wasn’t until this time that I had to accept God and his guidance because I had nothing else that was going to help me get back up….

Sometimes I look at old pictures to see what I would have told myself if I could go back in time and give myself advice. If I were to go back to July 2016, I would probably just tell myself to “hold on and trust that things will be ok – time does not stop.” Last summer I also spent a good amount of time wishing that things would have been different but I realize now that if things wouldn’t have been so chaotic then, maybe my life now would have been worse now. Chaos needed to happen so that I could “wake up” and make different choices. I was living an unhappy life, making the same mistake repeatedly without noticing any of it. Perhaps God saw that I wasn’t learning anything and needed to shake me a little so that I could start thinking a little clearer.

By the end of 2016 I was feeling a lot better. I was more present and could recognize a little better why it was that my decisions were not healthy. I was starting to accept that I am very stubborn and that I don’t always know what is best for me. I also realized that I had not been grateful for the blessings that God had been giving me this entire time. God has always protected me and my family but I had been numb for the past seven years that I couldn’t look past myself. I felt alone and would tell myself that only I could really make a change for myself, God had nothing to do with it. I was wrong because God is everything.

In my first blog of this year I wrote about the things I had been grateful for in 2016. I don’t want to wait until 2017 to do the same since it’s only just July and I know that my life has been absolutely wonderful. Things have not been easy but I feel like I’m slowly unlearning how to live life (the wrong way) while also allowing myself to experience the positive things in life. I’m trying to no longer struggle with the idea that I shouldn’t be happy unless I’ve earned it. Everyone deserves to be happy.

I’m thankful for a lot of things that happened this year but the one I’m most grateful for is that my parents had the opportunity to visit our home country after 21 years. My parents and I are from Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico. We came to the US on a tourist visa back in 1992 but we overstayed our visa which meant that at that point we were undocumented. I was undocumented until I was 21 and my parents were undocumented up until last year. I remember being young and not really understanding why I hadn’t met my grandparents or how our family trip to Mexico would fall apart every winter break. The reality was that we couldn’t leave the country…technically we could have left but we wouldn’t have been able to come back in. Once I was older I remember feeling like it was going to be impossible for my parents and I to ever go back and visit. Right now, my parents are in Mexico reconnecting with their family. They arrived to Zihuatanejo on Saturday July 8th. I can’t even imagine the happiness they must have felt to see their mothers (both of my grandfathers passed away) after two decades. My dad says that all their family members have been crying nonstop because they cannot believe that my mom and dad are finally there. My mother was a little worried before heading out to Mexico because she had learned that her grandmother, which is the person who raised her and plays the mom role in her life, was starting to lose her memory. My mother worried that her grandmother wouldn’t recognize her. After they had spent a day in Mexico my parents called me and said that my mom’s grandmother started crying the second she saw her—she recognized her!

I guess what I have learned from this experience is that time never stops and nothing is permanent. Time keeps going and we need to remember that especially when life seems extra chaotic.


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