by Kayla Raymond

I can hardly stand the fact that it’s December 1st, can you?

I feel like this entire year has been a race against time. My days lately have been so busy and it just feels like the hours seriously pass in the blink of an eye. The last three months have been especially intense since it has been full of so many transitions for myself and our family.

I flew Stateside with my kids mid-August to get them registered and ready for their first day of school in America, it was thrilling, exhausting and full of emotions (being eight months pregnant didn’t help!) I pretty much functioned in survival mode for five weeks until Webert came home to us late September. We then had three short weeks together before Zion made his debut and now we are seven weeks into life with him and well, you  know, life with a newborn is exciting and exhausting. Zion is the dreamiest baby ever and we are so thankful for his safe and healthy arrival.

With all that to say, December has always had a way of stirring up my soul. We always start our years off with so much anticipation; well, at least I do! And then so quickly, that last month of the year arrives and it feels heavy, knowing you’ve only got 30 days left to making a difference for the year. As a whole, this entire year has felt out of rhythm for me. There’s been so much instability in Haiti, causing normal, everyday activity to look different, and long term plans? As if.

The rhythms of planning and every day life is one thing; but the sacred rhythms have felt unstable as well. Obviously spending most of this year pregnant led to some of the emotional instability, but the losses and wins; the transitions and unknowns; the unfinished paperwork and frustration; the answered prayers and miracles…the paradox of living such a beautifully, broken and messy life leads to so many feels.

I’m typically feel “in sync” with what’s going on, but this year has been so hard. Not feeling in sync with my soul and emotions has also led to me being undisciplined physically and spiritually as well. I’ve always had a pretty good routine at incorporating exercise into my hectic lifestyle (this is always particularly challenging during the extremely hot months in Haiti) but being pregnant this year led to me choosing snooze over morning workouts. Pregnancy is a pretty decent excuse, but now the end of the year has arrived and it feels senseless that I really didn’t work out for almost an entire year.

I didn’t actually gain that much weight while pregnant and have gotten lots of compliments that I don’t look like I just had a baby, so it’s not a weight issues here; I just feel ughhh. Someone asked me recently if I ate really healthy while I was pregnant, my response: “Nope, not at all. My life is so crazy, especially in Haiti, that I just forget to eat some days.” So, there’s that, too. Even my eating feels undisciplined.

Then there’s the spiritual part. I’m ashamed to admit how much I’ve grown to hate Sunday mornings in Haiti. I seem more annoyed than anything when I sit in church and I hate that I feel that way. I’ve recently explained to someone that by the time Sunday came in Haiti, I could barely keep my eye lids open during church. On some Sunday’s it literally felt like the devil was drawing my eyes closed, capitalizing on how out of sync I felt. I don’t know, that seems kind of crazy, but the exhaustion just always felt so real on Sunday’s. It is hard to explain! By the end of my time in Haiti this summer, I was looking for any excuse to skip church on Sunday mornings. And, I know by now what some of you are probably thinking, “what a rotten missionary she is.”

(not that I consider myself a missionary, I just know that some of you do!)

And, I guess that’s the whole point I’m getting to. Everything inside of me just seems kind of spoiled and rotten. Haiti (and life) has broken me in ways I never really thought possible. I’ve been asking God these last few weeks, how can you use me this month after such a spiritually cruddy year? And, I’ve been feeling the nudge to write. To tell the stories I never found time to write. To process the feelings of living such a paradoxically complicated and beautiful life. To take time to grieve through writing. And, maybe through all of that I’ll find my way back to Him.

Yeah, yeah. I know He’s been there all along this year, but we all get a little lost sometimes, don’t we?

So, here’s the deal. I’ve got thirty days left in this year and I’m going to write a blog each day to end the year. I’m praying this disciplined, daily writing will be a holy time for me personally; a process that will allow my soul to maybe wake up, yet be still enough, to return to place where it feels a little bit more in sync with the world. And, I pray my stories will honor the people in them and maybe help awaken you, the reader, a bit too.