I am one who rarely has that many activities requiring actual planning, but beginning 2018, I began planning at the start of the New Year. It was a big year with big events and a few life-changing moments.  Along with the things I had planned, came the unplanned and unexpected.  Some good and some bad. While the good was exhilarating and for which I am grateful, the bad was heartbreaking.

In 2014, I began a journey to reinvent myself. For the entirety of 2014, this journey was the only thing on my mind. I envisioned and contemplated something more for myself… something that would make me feel alive again. This was the beginning of something unseen and only in the imagination of my dreams.  So here I was, beginning 2018 and feeling on top of the world. I had succeeded in conquering my dreams and the things imagined in 2014 were coming into fruition. I was looking back at my accomplishments; I felt confident and my vision was clear. I was unstoppable!  Until… until the unexpected. The unexpected that flicked me right off of my victorious mountain like a tiny, insignificant pebble.

Nothing about this was fun. While feeling like that insignificant pebble, my mind felt trapped on how easily I allowed this circumstance to make me feel so worthless. How did I go from feeling like a valuable stone to an inconsequential, barely noticeable tiny piece of rock? I was spinning with questions and doubted myself in a deep way. The very thing I had overcome was back in my face, taunting me. I had a difficult time recalling the things I knew to be true, the things that had taken me from square one to square two. The moments of hurt and confusion were enough to block my vision and I forgot the “new me” that God was in the process of creating.

After agonizing over this in prayer, I reached out for help. I couldn’t continue in this alone and I needed a reboot. Once I was able to put my focus back where it needed to be, I soon realized that my previous experiences had prepared me for this exact moment. It took recalling what I already knew was possible and clinging onto faith and hope for the things that were still yet to come. It took remembering my vision and that I was in the process of doing a good work. It took trusting the process and believing that God believed in me to do great things. The journey that previously took me to the top of that mountain had created a new person within me, and with that, came the experience and tools to get me through this time in my life.

Being on the other side now, this is what I learned; the unexpected is inevitable and some will knock us off our feet. However, our journey through them can bring us out as better people, if we choose. With each breakthrough, the potential is there to learn new behaviors that change and prepare us for anything that may get in our way. Just remember, start from the square you last conquered.

I’ll tell you something else I learned, a pebble isn’t insignificant at all. Have you ever had one in your shoe?

Ana Leonardy, CPLC