Year review 2017/ goals 2018 - part 1 of 2.

So today, we had a date, and finally got around to doing the review of this year. Which means that I just felt that we have been through quite a lot and looking back was necessary. So I went around the internet (and well Pinterest my trusted friend) to look for questions and we compiled a list of questions to review our current year, but also to prepare for the next.

So here's part 1 of that. We managed to get through reviewing this year today. It was an emotional rollercoaster (i blame the pregnancy hormones, but also it has been a very challenging year). Of course, I won't be sharing all my answers, but following us on social media, you'd probably know quite a bit of it. Also, feel free to use these questions to review your year. 

So here goes part 1. PS! This is a rather long one. So you might need a snack break, or coffee, or tea. Well yeah, it's been a long year. 365 days, 12 months later...

Highlight of the year
Falling pregnant with baby#1

Lowlight of the year
Arguments between us :( (see after being married for a bit, you discover you have disagreements. I always hate them. BUT we are growing through them. Only in movies is marriage only romantic, easy and beautiful. There will always be romantic, easy and beautiful moments, but life is messy, ugly and sometimes really hard and painful. But you will grow and stretch and develop through that).

What I’ve learned?

  • Life is tough, BUT we can get through things TOGETHER. You don’t have to do things ALONE
  • God ALWAYS provides.
  • Prayer works! (conceiving really quickly)
  • People will always have opinions. Their opinions don’t always have to matter to you.
  • Routine/habits are hard to create (keep working on that)
  • Intimacy takes work.
  • Honesty needs to be priority
  • Marriage is a lot of work, but it IS SO WORTH IT!
  • Serving selflessly is a challenge.

Where I’ve grown?

  • Does belly/weight count? :D lol
  • Obeying God even when it’s hard decisions for us (changing church, moving to Estonia)
  • Sharing house with Peter’s parents, but trying to keep independence.
  • Trying out veganism (100 days for me!)
  • Caring less about what others think of me.
  • Talking through problems instead of burying them inside.

Where has God really stretched me?

  • Needing to tell Peter that God spoke to me first (changing church, moving to Estonia)
  • Supporting Peter through these changes (and waiting for him to hear from God)
  • Being pregnant and having lots of side effects -> not being able to be strong, more need to rely on Peter.
  • That me not doing things has to be okay with me.
  • Not making time with God a religious thing to tick off.

What have I gained?

  • Weight (tummy size) - baby growing. Lol. :D
  • BABY!
  • Stronger marriage (not giving up on one another)
  • Laziness sadly (Netflix, internet etc) <- something to work on next year!
  • Better cooking skills (there’s always new things to learn)
  • More friends in a new church.
  • New church!
  • Game nights with friends.
  • More minimalistic living (less stuff in our lives!)

What have I lost?

  • Clothes and clutter (when we moved, we did a big downsizing and I’m loving it! Plus now, not many things fit me these days :D )
  • Habit to have time with God regularly (can’t say every morning, but most mornings I used to have and now I’ve lost that somewhere along the way. Work in progress to get it back)
  • Some joy. I still have some joy and giggles left in me, but this year has been tough on us and some joy has been lost along the way.

What have I accomplished?

  • Well, we made a baby :D (along with God helping out!)
  • Managing grocery budget/buying with limited money (weekly budget for food and supermarket stuff (that includes toilet paper and such too) is 100 dollars)
  • Praying together more
  • Hearing/listening from/to God more regarding important and tough decisions.
  • More self-control with skin picking (i'll share more about this after all these lists!!!!)
  • Better mental health
  • Fewer medications
  • Visa!
  • The decision to change church and decision to move to Estonia.

What has God spoken to me this year?

  • Move church -> more growth in christian life.
  • Move to Estonia (i had a picture from God about me being pregnant in Estonia in march with black winter jacket)
  • Peter is there to help you.
  • You are not (or ever will be) alone.
  • Bible is important to read (still working on that one)
  • Prayer helps.
  • People care about you
  • You are important.
  • We have a calling/ministry -> sharing gospel globally and travel.
  • You can’t WIN/ACHIEVE God’s love, He gives it freely.
  • You can only change you (and pray for others).

Who has made a big impact in your life?

  • God
  • Peter
  • Baby
  • Bec, Corey, Elise (new friends in C3 church who've been my pregnancy buddies!)
  • Helina, Kirsika (keeping up with friends over long distance)
  • Others who won't be mentioned here due to some things that have impacted me being more private cherished memories and moments.
  • Justin/Anna and C3 church (led by the Spirit and being role models to me)
  • Kath/Grant/Ross - game nights and prayers (and well dinners)

How did my relationship with God/spouse/friends/family change/grow this year?

  • God: He has been patient with me. Glad that He has still used me and spoke to me, even when I haven’t been regular with my time with God. He has become more important, grown my love and hope, helped me through a lot! Relationship with God has become more important and I keep having a deep longing for His presence and wanting to understand Him and the Bible more.
  • Peter( spouse): We pray together more. We have grown stronger together and share more than before with each other. Intimacy has suffered due to my past, BUT we are working on that. I have learned to rely on him and still learning to let him serve me (without me feeling bad about it). I’m also wanting to serve him more, but my health has made that a big challenge this year.
  • Friends: I have some new friends. I’m learning to let them in my life, but I miss closeness with them. (and it's not their fault!) In some ways, i think it’s because I know we are leaving. Hard to let people close when you know you’ll leave soon. I miss the closeness I have with Kirsika and Helina (my lovely friends from Estonia). It’s been challenging to keep up friendships over the long distance, but I’m so glad they haven’t given up on me. Also hoping that once in Estonia that will get easier, and might even make more friends. :)
  • Family: Learned to let go of my family (especially my parents) more. We are our own family now. Miss my family greatly and glad to see they await our arrival to Estonia. Sad that we aren’t close right now, but hopefully we can work on that once we’re in Estonia.

What memories of this year are you most fond of?

  • Falling pregnant!
  • Come a long way with skin itching, foot picking and mental health. (will share more on that after this list)
  • Marriage course
  • New Zealand x2.
  • Gym
  • Passport (Brisbane trip) and Australian ID
  • Visa
  • Mole removal and stitches (not so much fond memory, but just a big thing for me)
  • Jenny Craig diet.
  • Dates!
  • Geocaching
  • C3 church!
  • Decision to move to Estonia

So you see it's been quite a year huh!?!?!?! I mean through my blog posts you can see that my mental health has been in all sorts of places. Right now, yes I am occasionally moody, sad and such, but I am FREE from anxiety and panic attacks! God gave me that through prayer and Scripture.
Also, my skin has gone through a lot. My skin picking which I've spoken in previous blog posts, well originally started when I was little. But my foot, well that started in June 2016. So by now, a year and a half later, I'm still working on it. BUT!!!! It is so so much better. I have learned to stop myself quicker, ask help quicker and time between big wounds is longer. So I consider that a progress. Also at one point, there was crazy crazy itching of my skin. My arms were the worst. They were also wrapped up at one point. And it was horrible. The worst night I remember is where I scratched myself so badly and we didn't have bandages, patches or anything to help, we drove to a pharmacy that was open late. Because I was desperate. You can imagine that open sores are horribly painful. I won't say where that pharmacy is, in case someone knows someone (after all Coffs Harbour is a small town). But we asked help from them, what do we put on this. Showing them bloody arms of mine. And they gave us a gel, patches and bandages. We got back to the car to do all that. And as soon as that gel touched my skin, I screamed. Peter continued because we didn't know better and we wrapped them up. The stinging was horrid. I was wailing, crying, screaming in some ways in agony! It was the worst pain I have ever felt! Worse than falling off a tree when I was a kid, on my back. Worse than any sciatica pain I've had. Worse worse worse. And during my crying, Peter trying to comfort me not knowing what's going on, I told him to read the ingredients of that gel. It had ALCOHOL in it!!!! Oh, the horror of that pain. I don't know how long I wept, cried, silent-screamed and wanted to swear at those people in that pharmacy. They saw my open wounds! They gave me this! I wanted to blame them, but more than anything I wanted the pain to stop. That was the worst. thing. like. ever! It stopped at one point, slowly subduing, but the memory hasn't faded.

!!!!!Now, here's a thing I've never done before. I will add pictures. I've taken some. Not many, along the way. Mostly to show Peter, to ask help. To show doctors. But also, always hoping it gets better. The pictures are faded. You will only see them if you click on them. There will be blood and wounds. You have been warned. You don't have to look. Don't click if you can't handle blood, wounds and broken skin!!!!!!!

These first ones start in june 2016 and I was still in college. Even then I was honest with Peter and showed him these pictures. He wasn't scared of them. Yes he was worried and wanted to help, but being 16 000km away, he could just be there with his prayers, support and comforting words, which were (and still are!) great help!

Now in Australia, the struggle continues. The wound is bigger and in a different spot. It got better and got worse. And yes, it hurt to walk. And yes, my legs are hairy, but I just don't care about that (neither does Peter).

So we have both, more or less, mastered wrapping my foot. Sometimes just band-aids, sometimes patches and bandages. And sometimes nurses have wrapped them when we've shown it to the doctors. The last image above is how it looks more or less now. Today. Still some wounds, but way better. It's been a painful year. But also embarrassing. And sad. Going to doctors, telling them that "I hurt myself". Which this is basically. This is self-harm. And they tell you to stop picking. Stop scratching. And yes, they wrap you up, organize therapy and such. But that's about it. They can't "fix" me. And that is at times frustrating. At times I've had thoughts like "would they take me more seriously if I would cut myself with a razor?". I know that's not a good place to go, and I've never done that, and hope it never gets to that. But this is the reality of self-harm. You want help. You open yourself up. You are embarrassed because you don't have control over this. You try to be better. You try NOT doing this. But it keeps happening. A year and a half. That's how long I've battled with this. Cried, prayed, begged God. Some things will just take a lot of time. More than we like. I am very grateful for a husband who has seen this close up. Who's patched me up countless times, who's stopped me from going worse. Who's taken me to every doctor's appointment, therapy session, psychiatrist office and all those pharmacy trips for more and more patches and bandages. Wait there's more. The itching skin.

THIS! It was worse on one arm, that's why just one arm pictures. The last two pictures are from that horrible night when we went to the pharmacy. And now, it's gone. Well, i have scars for now, but pregnancy helped somehow. Not sure how, but I am grateful to God for pregnancy in that sense. Yes, I have loads of stuff that I wish was easier with pregnancy (currently vivid dreams annoy me the most), BUT the healing of my skin has been amazing.

So yes, this year we've been through a lot. And I know this blog is mostly about me. But hey, imagine being a husband to this crazy lady. Peter, your servant heart and humbleness to help me in the midst of all this, I'm just in awe how I've been blessed (i just might be crying again - these hormones!). But yes, he is an amazing husband. Never judging, never putting me down for what I do to myself (and basically what I do to his wife). Always supporting, helping, serving. Love you so so much hon!

***

To end this with a bit better note, here's a picture where I felt happy from this year!

Part 2 coming soon!

Comments

You're so strong, Mirjam, and so brave. Thank you for sharing about your year and your struggles. I understand your skin problems, I've had eczema since I was 2. Mum used to put pawpaw ointment on my skin (later found out I was allergic to it) and I'd scratch myself raw. It's better now, but even a few days ago I woke up scratching myself to scabs. It's the worst feeling, bleeding already, unable to stop scratching, knowing you're hurting yourself, knowing you're going to hate it but just being so itchy. It bring me to tears, too.
Your story made my heart ache - really empathise with you. And I was so angry that they gave you alcohol to put on an open wound! I'm sorry that you're going through this. I'm going to be praying with you and Peter - God is HEALING!!

Elevation Worship has a song called None. The starting lyrics are these - 'You are the One who knows my need before I call, You tell the storm when it will cease before it starts.' I hope it comforts you. God has already seen the end to your health problems. I love how much you trust him, Mirjam, it encourages me to trust him more too.

I really enjoyed reading about your year in review, your honest assessment of where you're at and how you want to improve. I can't wait to see part 2! It makes me happy to see you so positive - just creating goals and looking to the future is positivity! It's saying 'I will keep doing better! Always!'

While I'm so excited for your future, it will genuinely pain me to see you guys leave. We haven't talked nearly as much as I
would like, and I love you both - your faith in God and dedication to each other and your marriage. Can we catch up for tea before you go at least? :)

Love, Dana Jade.

I just might be blushing a bit here! I'm honored to have you as a friend Dana! please let me know when you have free time and we surely can catch up! I'd love to get to know you more! And i don't mind if we don't have tea, or have just water, because it's been very hot! :D
I know i struggle, but then i keep thinking who doesn't? Just reading Romans this morning, chapter three, and seeing how we are all sinners. BUT we have hope and salvation in Jesus! How good is that? (such a Justin sentence i feel!). But, I love how reflecting on what has been makes me realize how much God has carried us through. It's hard to see in the midst of things, daily struggles. But seeing how we DID come through, how we have finished this year today! We made it! All of us, whoever reads this! :)
Thank you for all your kind words! Write me when you have free time and I'd love to catch up with you (and we can invite guys too if you want, or just have girl time, whichever you like!). I'll miss you also when we leave, BUT there's always skype, facebook and emails to keep in touch. And visiting each other can also be a thing! :) Love you girl! xx

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