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  • Writer's pictureSylvia St. Cyr

Birthday Reflections on the Longest Year

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

My thirty-third year on this earth was the longest adult year of my life. In a way, it was a gift in itself, as previous years felt like they zipped on by. But not this year!

There are certain times throughout the year that are perfect to stop and reflect on your life. The beginning of a new year, as well as any occasion, are prime examples.

Birthdays are also a great time to reflect on the past year. Seeing that mine is today, I thought I would share my reflections with you.

Here are four reflections of mine over the past year.

God Is In the Pit

Last year starting in August began the hardest six months of my life. When the trouble first started, it felt like I was in the ocean treading water, but at least my head was still above water.

Then the bottom fell out and it felt like I was in a deep, dark pit with no way out. I know people have used that metaphor before, but it best describes what I was going through.

The emotional pain was fiercely high. Functioning at all was difficult. To try and find some comfort in the darkness, my go-to’s were food, dark movies, and some alcohol.

I wept constantly and held onto hot anger as my heart was breaking. I was processing all that had happened, while grieving what was lost. What I came to realize was the fact that even though it was dark in the pit and I couldn’t see, the truth is I was never alone.

You see, God was in the pit with me the whole time. He never left or abandoned me. Rather, the living God stayed, waiting, loving on me, and healing me slowly but surely.

Certain days I cried out to God, asking Him to hold me and take the pain away. Other days I fully ignored Him and chose what I thought would make the next minute better.

The best part is He never left, no matter what sort of day I was having. Why? Because He is faithful, He is love, and He is that good! I can testify today that God is in the pit just as much as He is on the mountaintop!

Make-up Isn’t Everything

My identity (or at least certain things that I thought defined me) was completely shaken during this trial period.

My job and the title that came with it were gone.

The make-up, pretty clothes, and getting my hair done also fell away, by my choice.

What was left was just me, plain ol’ Sylvia, a child of God. Was it enough? That was the big question.

I have great news for you but it’s better news for me and that is, I am enough.

God created me, knows me better than I know myself, and He made me to love and serve Him. When I cover myself with accessories and make-up to feel valuable, I’m lying to myself.

Now I want to share that nice clothes, getting your hair and nails done, and putting make-up on are not bad things at all. On the flip side, they’re not good either, they’re simply things.

What I’ve come to realize this past year (wearing the least amount of make-up since I was a teen) is that make-up doesn’t define me. It was also such a relief to not have to spend an hour in the bathroom each day but rather spend that time with the kids or my husband, just the way I am.

When you cannot look in the mirror after a shower and know that the person staring back is the one God purposefully made, beautifully in His image, then it’s a problem. I had that problem, but God is teaching me to value the things that really matter, and for that I am grateful.

Peace comes when you give the outcome to God

Naturally, I’m a planning sort of person. I like to have meals planned, what the week ahead looks like with all the kids activities, and even what the next couple of months will entail. Most of these things are written down on our calendar hung up near the kitchen.

When the bottom fell out, I couldn’t even make decisions for the next day. I was living day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute and couldn’t plan at all. When I was asked questions about the future and “what’s next”, I was completely overwhelmed and replied with pat answers.

What I started learning to do as a survival mechanism was asking God to take it. I started praying, with Shaun, for God to take the outcome of any situation that needed a big decision. We are doing it to this day, and I have learned to hold my future plans with loose hands.

Instead of trying to control all the factors of my life, I am learning to surrender the outcome to God. I initially thought this would bring more anxiety as it’s an unknown, but it has brought a beautiful peace.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

Relationships are a physical reminder of God’s love

As I sat in the deep, dark pit, I couldn’t function properly. I didn’t have the capacity to be a good friend, wife, or mother, as I was in survival mode.

Thinking back specifically to November and December of last year, and the way my friends and family surrounded me and held me up, makes me cry every time.

When I had nothing to give, and I mean nothing, these key people in my inner circle stayed. They couldn’t carry my burden, but they walked the broken path with me, and it was this that made me realize that God is in the pit.

When I couldn’t feel Him or see any hope, He sent one of His messengers in the form of my husband, dear friend, or family member to connect with me.

If you’ve ever wondered if your love for people matters or makes a difference, I’m here to tell you it does. It echos for eternity.

Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have these key relationships in my life while I was in that pit. I thank the Lord repeatedly that I don’t ever have to find out.

At this point I feel like I have started to climb out of the pit. I can see the sunlight again. I’m laughing more and starting to be my goofy, natural self again.

However, I will never forget all that transpired over the past year. It changed me, and God is still lovingly changing me. Learning and growing will continue to happen, but it doesn’t have to be at the speed of light.

So today I celebrate being here, being loved, and looked forward to whatever God has in store. That includes using this hardship for His glory!

He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name. – Psalm 23:3

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