Graceful renewal: It never happens alone

Renewal—it can be a wonderful process. It is through change that we grow, improve and discover new possibilities we never knew existed. But getting there can be quite excruciating, and forgetting to enjoy the journey is the kiss of death.

This summer has been one of the most painful times in my 32 years. Far from the carefree days spent by the pool, at camp, or driving around with my best girlfriends, this summer has shattered many illusions I had of settling down, being comfortable, and building the perfect life that would fit nicely in the pages of a J. Crew catalog.

It all started in May when my career path was thrown violently off course. At the time, I chose to look at my detour as an opportunity to relax and enjoy the months of June, July, and August with my husband, my friends, and my new dog, Samuel.

One afternoon, that precious dog that had become my new best friend got into a fight with another dog here at the plush, yuppie apartment complex where I currently reside. Dogs fight. They’re animals. And it didn’t help that Sam’s opponent had never been neutered and was exuding a threatening vibe towards my Black Lab/Great Dane mix—who won the fight, by the way. So obviously, he was looked at by property management as the aggressor, a threat, and the only answer was to get rid of Samuel right away.

My husband, Joey, and I had recently taken ownership of Sam from my sister, Alexia, who moved to Singapore for three years with her husband, Kevin. Getting rid of her dog was simply not an option. So Joe and I didn’t.

Last week we received a letter telling us that, because we still had the dog, we were to vacate the property in 30 days.

For a week straight, I stayed up at all hours of the night, stressing about where we would live, where I would work and how we could provide a good home for the dog I had fallen in love with. I was praying, yes, but I hadn’t truly given it all up to God and was instead trying desperately to control everything that I couldn’t.

My worry was exacerbating my multiple sclerosis, and there were days I lost my vision and had burning pain all over my body. Yoga wasn’t helping. Sleep wasn’t possible, and an appointment with my neurologist last week confirmed that I had to let it all go. Stressing about things that happen in life would only make me sick. And the day after my appointment, I finally came to a point of complete surrender.

Last Sunday, I stopped praying for that list of things that needed to happen to make my life perfect and instead just asked God to take care of me the way only He can. And almost immediately I have been blessed with peace and renewal.

My husband and I have found a lovely home with a yard where Samuel can run and play, and work opportunities have been coming in throughout the week. I feel better; I’m sleeping better; and I’ve remembered that I am never in control. The path to true renewal can only be paved with faith in Christ our God.

“All the works of the Lord are good, and He supplies every need as it occurs. No one should say, ‘This is less good than that,’ for all things prove good at their proper time. Come then, sing with heart and voice, and praise the name of the Lord.” (Ecclesiasticus 39: 33-35)


Katy Mena-Berkley

Katy Mena-Berkley, is a professional writer based in Chattanooga, Tenn. She earned her BFA in fabric design from the University of Georgia and launched her writing career with a fashion column in a local alternative newspaper. Katy’s interests in fashion and foreign culture then led her to Florence, Italy, where she interned as a contributing writer for textile publication La Spola. Since returning stateside, she has worked in reporting, editing and copywriting.


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