I HAD to share this photo with you. Courtesy of my sister, Taylor Anne, minutes after my oral surgery. This is real life, folks. Fast forward a few hours, however, and there were no “thumbs up” to be seen ;)

Pressure // Presents // Presence

I hope you had an unforgettable Christmas wherever the road led you.

December’s rainy winds blew of emotion, conversation and healing. Let me tell you how it went down.

A few weeks ago, both of my husband and I’s cars broke down within a 12 hour period. They both got towed, landed themselves at our mechanic, we borrowed Peter’s parents car and awaited a call.

The following day we learned my car died while his car lived (though as I type these words his car is back in the shop again — pray for that, will you friend?). So the new car hunt commenced and ended about a week later as we found a lovely lil Honda SUV that our tiny auburn-headed babes will fit into one day.

Our cars broke down on a Saturday/Sunday and I had my oral surgery planned for that Tuesday. My wisdom teeth decided to make their debut a few months ago. Impacted and all. I can’t tell you the last time I went to the dentist, guys.

“Welcome to oral surgery, Amanda Cox. You’ll need all 4 taken out.”

So that happened and I found myself lying on my back, looking up to a bright light while inhaling my healthy dose of laughing gas. I’ll spare you all the details of my recovery but this one thing:

My husband was incredible and got to begin fulfilling his “in sickness and health” vows.

/ / I can’t explain every emotion I felt through being out of work for much longer than I planned, not being able to communicate well with four deep holes in my mouth, searching for a new car and trying to have a good, godly perspective through it all.

I’ve been exhausted. On what seems like all fronts. But I know that’s not entirely true. I’ve been trying to do all, be all, perform all and I just can’t. And that has hit me in waves this December.

Confession: I want to be the best wife, the best friend, the best sister, the best follower of Jesus, the best office manager, the best writer, the best cook, the best host, the best gift-giver, the best dressed, give the best answer, be the best daughter, the best me that I can be. I am a natural at putting pressure on myself in all things.

But do you know where that has led me? Dissapointed. Expectations blown out. Anxious. Unforgiving of myself and others.

This is not who I am meant to be and I am not meant to be all things to all people.

Ending December, here is what I am learning —

I don’t have to feel God to know He’s abiding in me. I don’t have to be the smartest office manager to be a great one. I don’t have to keep up with everyone about everything to be a valued friend, daughter, sister. The size of the gift I’m giving and the money in my bank account don’t hold anything to my worth as a human.

I am seeing that I need God more than I thought I did and in ways I haven’t known him before.

Where is God? Oh, there He is, right here. And I smile. I have to. I have to let my face know that I am taken care of and maybe, just maybe, my heart and soul will catch on. He doesn’t need much of anything from me. He’s just here. The Emmanuel God who dwells with His people because He loves them in a way human hearts secretly all want to.

Shortly, we’ll say good-bye to 2014. So here’s to you, year. You will forever be the year I married Peter David Cox. I will hide away your in your months the irreplaceable and defining early moments & memories of becoming a wife, moving into the city, entering the business world, and changing churches for the first time.

2014, you’ve been everything and nothing like I thought you’d be.

Thank you, God, for 2014.

Now, may 2015 be full of knowing what matters in life and undressing from any pressures we’ve slipped into over time.

x o .