What I Learned in 2013

In June of 2012 I quit my day job to write full time. It was super exciting since being an author has been my dream since I was a little girl. By December 2012, I was making enough money that it seemed like I wouldn’t have to return to work in 2013, but could continue writing full time. So, I went into 2013 very excited for what the future had in store. But things quickly took an unexpected turn when I got sick exactly a week into the year. It started with extreme dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite and intermittent fevers. The doctors told me it was just an inner ear infection and would go away on its own. But after a month, I decided to see an ENT. The ENT administered an MRI and VNG test and both came back normal, meaning it wasn’t a neurological issue or tumor and it wasn’t an inner ear infection. Next I had a myriad of other tests, including vision tests and CT scan. Nothing showed anything abnormal, yet I was still dizzy all the time. By summer time I decided to just focus on my kids and give up trying to figure out what was wrong. I started seeing a chiropractor and got a little better. In the fall of this year I started seeing an acupuncturist and got great results from that. I felt really hopeful that I was on the mend. Then I started getting pain the right side of my abdomen. Doctors told me it was muscular and so I treated it that way for over a month. Finally when no improvement had been made I went in for an ultrasound. Long story short, my gallbladder was removed in emergency surgery right before it was in danger of rupturing. As I made my recovery I was really hopeful that my health issues were behind me. However, the pain in my right side never subsided and still remains 6 weeks later. I am now undergoing tests to find out what is wrong. I have now had 2 tests and have 2 more coming in the next few weeks.

On the bright side of this year, things have been going amazingly well with my writing. I published 6 books this year! And they are selling well and getting great reviews. When I think about this it makes my heart soar! Also, my family is doing great. My marriage is strong, my son is in high school and my daughter in middle school. It’s been good on the home front.

It’s odd to have horrible hardship in the midst of incredible blessing. On the one hand I feel so blessed to be doing what I love; to be able to pursue my dream! On the other hand, it is hard to enjoy my blessings when I feel so sick and anxious about my health. It’s hard to reconcile the two.

As many of you know I am a Christian. My faith in God and his great provision for me has gotten me through so many hard times. This year I have leaned on him so much. I’ve clung to him and put all my hope in him. However, I would be lying if I said that it was easy. I have struggled with my faith. I have struggled with doubt, fear and anxiety. Sometimes I have felt crippled by it even. And it has made me feel ashamed. Ashamed because I should be stronger. I should have more joy. I should have more faith. I shouldn’t allow worry to consume me. But even knowing these things in my head, it’s hard to convince my heart.

This year I’ve learned that life is unpredictable. I can plan all I want, but things may not happen like I’d hoped. I can worry so much it makes me sick, but it’s not going to change the outcome. What’s going to happen will happen. Health problems aren’t something you can plan for, prevent or control. If only.

The only thing I can control is my reaction to it. And I have to confess that hasn’t been very pretty this year. But with God’s help I’m working on it.

I don’t know what 2014 holds, but I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that God will heal me, that my body will be restored. But if not, I’m hopeful that I will find freedom in it. That I will learn to roll with the punches, to not get so anxious. That I will, as the saying goes, let go and let God. I’m hopeful that fear and anxiety won’t control me.

What are the challenges you’ve faced in 2013? How have they helped you to grow and change? What are your hopes and dreams for 2014? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “What I Learned in 2013

  1. Hey Amber, great post. I’m so sorry to hear about your health troubles this year, but your attitude is really an inspiration. I hope the doctors can supply information on exactly what the problem is in your coming appointments, and that things get back on track for you with your health very soon. But in the meantime, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. God bless. 🙂

  2. A phrase I learned in high school, and I’ve held on to it through many a trial. “If you’re going to pray, why worry? If you’re going to worry, why pray?” Choose joy, Amber, even when it’s hard. May you have a blessed New Year.

  3. What a great post Amber. I am really proud of you. This had been a tough year for you but you are so strong, even when you feel weak you are strong.
    It takes a strong and wise person to really learn from everything thats happened and be able to reflect on it so clearly. I really admire you and am so proud! Hang in there, 2014 is going to be great!

  4. Pingback: Birthday thoughts | Amber Garza

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