Endings…& Beginnings

Leave a PlaceI’m leaving the ranch.

For those of you who follow my Instagram feed, you know that for the past year I’ve lived at a peaceful little ranch (the road to the ranch is pictured in the photo here) out in the country that is almost too beautiful to be real. And you might be surprised to learn that I’m leaving, given how much affection I have for this place, this magical place, that saw so many ups and downs and highs and lows in my life over the past 365 days.

I hit the New York Times bestseller list here.

I finally (FINALLY) closed the door on my relationship with Mr. E here.

I wrote my third book here. One that I am possibly more proud of than anything I have ever written.

I was invited to speak in front of 20,000 women at one of my biggest heroes’ conferences (and did it!) here.

I almost lost my grandmother here.

I fought yet another battle with my long-time foe anxiety (one I will tell you more about in the coming days) here. And won. (Or at least called it a draw.)

Beyond that, I learned how much I love and value nature here. I picked up a new hobby – taking pictures – here that I hope to learn more about and perhaps even grow more skilled in. (Or perhaps not. Maybe it will remain a hobby I do simply for the joy of it and not to be “good” at it.)

I discovered that it’s okay to be sad here. That it’s healthy and even necessary. That you have to allow yourself to cry and grieve and have bad days without apologizing or deflecting or frantically searching for the upside of every situation. Some situations have no upsides. Some situations are simply hard, and sad, and painful…and you have to allow them to be. Because if you don’t, if you deny yourself those moments or hours or even days to feel whatever it is you’re feeling – you become numb.  Stunted. Robotic. To numb yourself to great sadness is to numb yourself to great joy. Sadness and joy are yin and yang. You simply can’t have one without the other.

This ranch welcomed me with open arms a year ago. I had no idea when I moved here how much I needed it. How much I would need it over the coming months and trials and triumphs and prayers and tests and endings and beginnings. I needed the peace. The quiet. The space. The room to think and breathe and grow and change. I knew when I moved here I had found the place my soul belonged. And I know now, a year later, that it’s time for me to go. I am finishing final edits on the new book and finishing my move at the same time. I don’t believe that’s a coincidence. I think God has a way of using the moments and the experiences and the happenings of our lives to gently let us know when it’s time to move forward.

What a beautifully uncertain year it has been.

I had no idea when I moved here what would happen in my life over the coming year. I have no idea what is in store for me at my new place…a delightful little condo off the quaint town square in my hometown…a place where I can walk to the library and the Farmer’s Market and experience all different types of beauty on my morning strolls. Will I meet the love of my life there? Will I write a new book there? Will I get married there? Will I become a mom there? Only time will tell.

So now I will pack up my life and trade all this beautiful certainty for beautiful uncertainty. And I know God will meet me there in the middle of the questions with the answers in His perfect timing, in His perfect way. Because that’s what He does. That’s what it’s all about…this single thing. This surrendering thing. This walking with Him thing.

The End  Beginning

16 Responses to “ Endings…& Beginnings ”

  1. Suzanne
    July 25, 2015

    Congratulations on your new home and best wishes for the next chapter & next adventures in your life! Look forward to reading about your “nexts”!

  2. Katie
    July 25, 2015

    Mandy,
    Congratulations on your new chapter. I know God has wonderful things in store for you during this new uncertain phase of life. He has used you to help and encourage so many this far and I know He will continue to work through you. I can’t tell you how much you have encouraged me over the past couple of years. I have loved reading your first book. So many quotes applied to me. I am working on the second book (and with a hurt knee I should be able to read it quickly). I am anxiously awaiting the newest one. You are such a blessing and a sweet person. I had the chance to meet you last summer and enjoyed your talk as well. May this new chapter be a wonderful new beginning for you

  3. Julie
    July 26, 2015

    Do you know that you wouldn’t be this close to God, and so wise, if you weren’t so single for so long!

  4. Jodi
    July 26, 2015

    I love this post so much that I read parts of it over and over. Thank you so much for giving us permission to be sad. That is huge especially for Christians. You know I love your work. I love the way you get in the arena and you fight hard to become the woman God has called you to be. I can not wait to read the new book. I believe this new book will touch lives in ways you can’t even fathom. Thank you for being a voice for so many of us. Blessings always. I’m so excited for your new chapter.

  5. mattie
    July 27, 2015

    Mandy ,your new Journey begins ,yes ,you have no idea what lies ahead ,but you made the choice to move forward and I applaud you for it ,myself ,I choose not to move forward when the L-rd told me @ the beginning of this year ,just do SOMETHING, and I have ashamedly done NOTHING .I too feel a since of time to move forward ,but feel like my feet are stuck to the ground where I stand .it is a scary thing @ my age (53) to think of moving yet again, changing careers that I have been in most of my life ,stepping out in faith and trusting him and not looking back. I cant wait to see what new adventures the l-rd has for you .its gonna be great ,I just know it ,you have been obedient to him and his word ,so I know he will bless you more than you can imagine .the skies the limit girl,just reach out for it and take it by the hand .go get um 🙂 prayers for you ,and I ask for prayers for myself as well .thank you Mandy .

  6. olga
    July 30, 2015

    Following you on Twitter was de best decision of my life. I feel like I know u

  7. Janay williams
    July 30, 2015

    Seems as though me and you are in the exact same place in life I too just decided to let go and let God I feel nothing but good things are on the horizon and I am thankful for going through the bad because when the good comes I will cling to it and appreciate it all so much more knowing what storm I’ve been through! God bless you on your new journey ! Your husband and family is right around the corner

  8. August 6, 2015

    Aww this was beautiful Mandy! On to more beautiful things in your beautiful life! God bless and best wishes! Xo

  9. Linda Ellis
    August 13, 2015

    Thank You for your beautiful writings. I am anxious to get your first and future books

  10. Kima
    August 13, 2015

    Hey Mandy, I truly appreciate this post. I have been single for the past four years and just finished law school. I returned home in uncertainty after living overseas for five years, anxious about what the future held for me. I constantly wondered whether I had made the right decision in coming home, or whether I should have stayed and tried to make it outside of my familiar. I also wondered whether it was possible to find love in a place that held so many memories, both good and bad. Well, I’ve left it entirely up to God, although that is more of a commitment that I have to re-make everyday as opposed to a permanent state of being. I’ve been home for a little over a month now, I found a great job, and I’m surrounded by family. Still, there are times when I wish there was someone to share it with, but I suppose it will come in its due season. I am still learning to embrace this somewhat new, yet old place. I wish you all the best on your new, old journey as well.

  11. August 13, 2015

    Mandy – your journey is amazing God has blessed you as you walk in his lighted path he has created for you .
    Looking forward to reading your next chapter in life .. As this one closes slowly and permanently. You have inspired this broken soul.
    Happy beginnings !!

  12. Kari
    August 13, 2015

    Wow, what a beautiful post! I’ve been following you for a while and listened to both your audio books after a terrible breakup earlier this year. Your message is so profound and relevant to so many of us….thank you for being vulnerable and for sharing. I would not be in the peaceful positive place I am now without the benefit of being able to identify with your words. Bless you.

  13. Tennesa
    August 13, 2015

    I follow ur quotes on facebook and you have been so inspiring to me. I havent read any of your books though but tend to do so soon. I know that God has a great plan for the new chapter of your life . He has a reason for everything that happens in our lives.

  14. Angel
    August 13, 2015

    I think a lot of us forget it’s ok to be sad and grieve for people, places, things, situations. I have become numb as I did not give myself the time to do that. I don’t wonder why I’m single anymore. I can’t stand to be with myself some days so why would any one else want to be. I love reading your posts. They always seem to relate to me. Good luck with this next chapter in your journey and I look forward to reading about it…

  15. Marilyn
    August 13, 2015

    Congratulations Mandy on the choice for your next journey. Your beauty is inner, outer and spiritual and I am thankful you share your life and experience and growth with us. You are a forever inspiration. I have followed you and your journey since my marriage dissolved, leaving me in my very late 40’s with elementary age kids at home. Your strength, encouragement and words have helped me become stronger for myself and my sons in a time of my life I never saw coming. Good luck in all you search for. You are in my prayers and inspire me to be a better me!!! Thank you!!!

  16. Cindy
    August 18, 2015

    All the best Mandy. GOD has great plans for you and only the best in store for you. You’re an amazing woman of great strength, even in your times of weakness and you’re brave and courageous. Can’t wait to see it all unravel, as you allow us to walk this journey with you. My spirit is excited. xoxo

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