For too many of us, 2017 lived and breathed pain. The most pain any year has breathed yet.

I haven’t even been able to find words to express. What do you say to the year that hurt you the most? To the year that landed you in the hospital twice because you couldn’t take the pain it was causing you anymore? To the year that brought a man who abused your innocence? To the year that taught you that when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it does.

You know, I’ve been scared to write because I don’t want to blow away your New Year’s confetti with a few sad sentences. But here I am writing, not for anyone else, but for myself. Because writing the rawness that is my heart is the only earthly thing that makes sense of my non-sense.

As soon as the clock turned midnight, I found myself letting out a wailing cry. That was my first human instinct. A physical wail of simultaneous relief and grief. My subconscious screamed, “YOU MADE IT.” That realization made me feel like the Hollywood sign was replaced with the word PROUD and I was looking straight up at it. But – also while I was in that moment staring at the sign, pain took away the pleasure and that sign went to ashes and all I felt was aggressive anger.

I see now that anger is the most important layer of the grief process. If you can’t feel anger, you can’t experience the full reality of what happened. If you don’t feel the reality of what happened for what it is, you can’t begin to understand the important lesson of it all. And if you don’t learn the most important lessons in life, what’s the point of living? Will you ever grow?

I was grieving the pain I endured last year. The anger was the physical release of the pain leaving my body. The peace I experienced after was the mending of the broken places my soul was letting go.

Most of the year I was holding my breath in a continuous inhale because I learned that the second you exhale, reality hits you the hardest. You know that feeling when you forget to breathe, you hold your breath without even realizing it until someone jolts at you, “breathe” because you’re in a moment so captivating that breathing seems unimportant.

I just laughed because as I’m typing this I literally just realized I was holding my breath. I contradict myself sometimes. That’s another thing I’ve learned, you really do have to practice what you preach. You can’t tell people one thing and then not do it yourself.

I began to live in that never-ending inhale this year. When you forget to breathe, you’re so distracted by the numbness, you don’t even realize your face is turning purple.But you avoid the pain of the exhale, and at that time nothing else in the entire world matters. The numbing suffocates the pain. Who wants to live in pain?

I found myself in a home with no hiding spaces. I couldn’t hide from myself any longer or I was going to die this time.

I walked into my only option, my soul, and I laid down. I laid it all down.

I closed my eyes and saw what it looks like to be protected. I saw the times when situations of the year could’ve turned out so much worse. But they didn’t because I was being protected. I saw the most beautiful woman who is still here because she chose to stay. And because she found the strength to stay – she came out a warrior, beaming of light.

I woke up and my exhale caused the earth to quake because the fact that I’m still here proved to the devil that he isn’t stronger than me. My path has the brightest light upon it.

There are going to be so many distractions along the way, but you keep going because you have to. You have to because the world needs you. You tell yourself the world needs you and that keeps your heart beating. And your love keeps the world’s heart beating.

I am ever so grateful for where I am right now. I am someone who I like to know.

2018 doesn’t know what’s coming for her.

Here’s to the best one yet.


"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11 NIV

I love how it says, “for those who have been trained by it.” You have to be willing to allow Him to train you. This year was the first time I embraced that. But I always say my pain has been the greatest lesson AND blessing. Because I wouldn’t be who I am without it.

8 thoughts on “YOU MADE IT”

  1. Roger says:

    Nice work. You should be so proud of who you are.

  2. Sam says:

    Since March 2015 you have come a long way, God Bless and BELIEVE

  3. Anonymous says:

    I get you so so well ♥️ The best is yet to come and the worst is behind us. I trust this year is going to be so much better 🤗

  4. mvitrano says:

    Thank you from the multitude of us still waiting to exhale ღ

  5. gmgoetz says:

    Jacqueline, you are an amazing young lady. You have been in valleys, with experiences only you and God know, and you have hung onto our Lord Jesus as He carried you through those valleys, up out of them.
    You are living proof of the Truth of God’s Word, when He gives victory, when we go through battles.

    Deuteronomy 20:4
    For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. ”

    1 Corinthians 15:57
    But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Looking forward to what Jesus Christ has planned to do in your life, and through you, in the Power of His Spirit in 2018.

    God Bless you, Jacqueline.

    1. Jacqueline Whitney says:

      I really appreciate your support and encouragement since the beginning of this Finding My Verse journey. It means so much to me. I love those verses! Thank you for being here. God Bless you.

  6. Bryce Warden says:

    Jacqueline – I’m so sorry you struggled so much in 2017. I’m local and will happily take you out for coffee or a walk if you need a safe place to vent. Glad you are on the other side of it. XOXO – Bryce