What can change in a year? Apparently, a lot.
When you've been down to the bottom of the pit, there is not much more that will scare you or faze you. The monsters that used to make you cower in fear, they that used to hold you in chains and keep you prisoner in a dark, dank cave, you suddenly see them for what they are -- defeated creatures of darkness desperately trying to bring as many as they can to their sorry doom. I am not saying the monsters are gone, that they have been slain down to the last creature, that they no longer plague me, but at least, at the very least, the chains have been broken... and I no longer find the cave beautiful.
I have never truly realized the value of praise until I literally had to count the things I was thankful for -- from the air that sustained me, the roof over my head, the food on the table, and the fact that I was still able to function despite everything. When you learn to be thankful for the very breath you breathe, then you know what I am talking about. You learn to wake up with a song of thanks, each and every day, for the simple fact that you are still breathing and the Lord is not done with you yet.
I have learned that Atlas turns me into something dark and truly awful, but that I don't have to let Atlas control me, because I have a choice. Taking that choice is still something I am working on, but at least I have learned to make the distinction between me and Atlas.
In the last year, I have also learned that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It does not matter how noble your reasons are, or how good you think you may be. Wrong is wrong and right is right, in that respect there is no middle ground, and I find that I am no longer willing to bend and compromise. I don't care if that makes me a killjoy. I guess I have to thank you for strengthening my convictions.
And in the last year, I have learned many times over and in a million different ways, that God, in His infinite mercy, is forever faithful. Not once did He leave me, even in the stupidest mistakes I made and the blatant transgressions I managed. When I cried out for help, He met me right then and there, and He brought me out of the cave.
Tomorrow will mark the deadline. I can face it now with a quiet confidence that comes not from me, but from my Father's grace. Whatever tomorrow will bring, I know it will be for the best.
The last year I had was not the easiest, in fact, it ranks way up there in the suckfest years. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. I witnessed miracles. Infinite grace rained down, and continues to do so every day. Blessings I never thought possible were given. And I am loved beyond measure. There is nothing more I want, nor anything more that I could ask for.