2015: A Tough Year
of Endurance and Change

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.”

                                                         –Isaiah 43:18

My niece posted on her Facebook account yesterday and added, “I have a feeling I’m not the only one dealing with some memories of a painful 2015. May we cherish the lessons we learned and walk forward in hope.”

I couldn’t agree with her more.

2015

The beginning of my family’s year resembled this photograph. Speaking for myself, it seemed the days ahead filled with this rocky landscape. Maybe it was like this for you, too.

desert mountain

There were some of my challenges:

The Passing of My Sister

It’s so difficult to lose a close sibling.

It was the year of so many firsts, where my heart ached with each new event without her. I longed for days past full of her presence.  I sought words of wisdom from her but she wasn’t here to give them.

Favorite memories: my sister popping in the house with a funny grandkid story told over tea. Shopping and garage sale expeditions, birthday celebrations, walking together at the running track, sharing travel tales with her, cooking at her place.

Hardest season: summer, as it was my sister’s favorite.

Saddest day: when her family spread sand from her favorite beach at her graveside on Mother’s Day. We always celebrated Mother’s Day together and I wasn’t part of this celebration.

Tough moments: little phrases reduced me to a soggy heap of tears. A wistful post on the 4th of July from my niece. “This is Gaga’s favorite chair. This is where she would have been today.” It said so much in so few words. I ached for her. For both nieces and their families. For my brother-in-law.  For all of us.

Book Sales and Marketing

After the excitement and fanfare of releasing my new book a few months earlier, I was faced with how to keep the momentum going. The “now what?” I was shocked to discover periods of no sales at all. All year long I experimented with how to share my lessons of faith and better market my book. I fought–and overcame–fears my writing had no lasting value.

Dual Losses

I had a particularly embarrassing radio interview when I missed parts of questions (probably exaggerated in my own mind). Hearing loss went from moderate to moderate/severe. I noticed I became more disoriented in larger stores this year. I had to depend more on others, even with my cane.

Speaking Engagements

After months of wondering if I could do it, I stepped into the shoes of a motivational speaker and educator, bringing public awareness to Usher Syndrome. I talked to others–senior citizens, those going through rehabilitation due to vision loss, those coping with macular degeneration and hearing loss due to aging, Christians, the Lions Club, anyone who wanted to know what it was like or how to live successfully with vision and hearing loss.

New Book

I started working on Cane Confessions, the second book in my mobility series. This book was lighter, and I would share some lighter stories of challenge before I used my cane, when I was learning to use it and when I became more comfortable with it.

One-sided Relationship

I was coping with the slow death of a non-fruitful relationship. I made a commitment to put it behind me, and not to dwell on the past anymore. I wanted to experience God’s best for me and I couldn’t do that by holding onto the past.

Audio Version of Mobility Matters

Toward the end of the year, I worked toward achieving my goal of making an audio version of Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith–my story of coming to terms with going blind and losing my hearing. I finished it Dec 30. 

God never leaves us without some hope even in rocky circumstances
God always provides hope in our circumstances.

I began to seek out the growth in my daily landscape, and God didn’t disappoint me. My sister would have been the first to point this out.

18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.”

                                                         –Isaiah 43:18

Maybe I have to stop holding onto the past so tightly that it hurts me. God tells me to let it go. Maybe that’s how I’ll have the ability to look at my memories of my sister without so much pain. Later, perhaps, the beauty will shine forth.

Other memories are best left in the past.

Instead I’ll purposely embrace the lessons and the growth I see along the way. The good things God brought me in 2015. 

Like my niece, I, too, walk forward in hope.

What aspects of the past do you need to move away from? What kind of hope are you walking towards? 

You have just read, “2015: A Tough Year,” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright December 31, 2015.  Please take a moment to leave a comment.

2015: A Tough Year
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