1. I adopted my daughter.
Although I can only say this is an achievement as much as a mother can say she found success in giving birth to her child, but this was one of my biggest blessings and I am quite proud of it. I am so thankful and happy and wish everyone could understand how great a love you can have for someone else, like you do for a daughter.
2. I have never been drunk... As in never, ever, not once.
I do not have a problem with alcohol, I do not have any moral objections to having an occasional beer, margarita, glass of wine. Yet, for most my life, I assumed if I ever got drunk, I might stay that way. So I decided to abstain completely.
So why do I consider it an achievement, because I am one of the few people in life who have chosen to abstain from drunkenness. I feel that as a result, my life has been very blessed. This is a practice, I will continue into my future.
3. I was a foster mom.
I did it. I actually cared for children who were not mine. I fell completely head over heels in love with them, and did not die when I said goodbye. For so many reasons I am proud of this. I would love to do this one hundred times over, but the opportunity has not come again, and therefore we are pursuing extending our family through other means.
4. I have conquered jealousy... Mostly.
This one is huge for me! Probably the hardest one of them all. Most of my teenage years, I suffered from intense jealousy. Not in aspects one would expect, but I did nonetheless. It hindered relationships, hurt my self-esteem, and caused me not to realize my own worth. I am proud to say that I have finally been able to move past feelings of jealousy. On occasion, I will get that kick-in-the-gut feeling of, I wish that was me (especially when it comes to fertility), but I breathe in, breathe out, and move on.
5. I married my high school sweetheart and still going strong.
I would like to take credit for this great feat, but I'm only fifty percent responsible for this outcome, and possibly even less. My husband is a very tolerant man, although I have to admit, I am quite tolerant myself. I am so happy to have married him, and to have him be the only man I've ever loved.
6. I let go of the past.
I would like to share how I have moved on from the past, but I feel that my stories are my stories to share, but when they involve someone else, then they aren't mine to share. Therefore, I will be vague and say, I have learned that no matter what has happened in the past, we often need to just move on with life. Forgive those who have hurt us, pick up ourselves from the ground, wipe ourselves off, and keep moving forward. It's the only healthy way to live.
7. I learned my sin is as great as everyone else's.
When I first decided to become a Christian, I wanted to fit in with the Christian community. I have since learned that being a Christian has been often about not fitting in. Even if that means not fitting in with the Christian community. As a young Christian, I attempted to be Christlike, by modeling my thinking after Christians I adored. That led me to a very judgmental way of thinking.
I have learned that I am a sinner. My sin is no greater nor lesser than anyone else's. This means I am no better or less than those around me. Just because someone sins different than I do, does not make either one of us superior. I have decided instead of modeling my life and my thinking after the Christian's around me, I would try to model my thinking and life after Jesus, who spent his days with sinners, rebuking those who professed faith, and encouraging those who did not. Since then, I have gained priceless friendships and a great peace I cannot even describe.
8. I haven't broken a bone - yet.
This is a huge accomplishment. I have fallen down stairs, ran into walls, walked into a bridge support, collided with glass doors, among other countless disasters, all while having my eyes open and walking forward. I am amazed that I have only sprained and twisted body parts, but have never actually needed a full cast. My day will sometime come, but at least I can boast that for the first 32 years and 10 months of my life, I have had all my bones intact as God created them!
9. I took the first step.
Every great thing I have ever accomplished started with one step. I adopted my daughter because I let her aunt know that I was interested. I married my husband, because when he asked for my number, I gave it. I had a successful ulcerative colitis webpage, because I built it. Everyday, I take the first steps to the goals I have had my entire life. I will continue to take tiny steps, always moving forward. Knowing that eventually, I will achieve great things. So today, I took more first steps, leading to goals that I believe I will achieve.
10. I am content.
This is probably the hugest achievement I have ever had. I was not a content teenager. I was angsty. I was insecure. I never thought I was good enough. Then I found Christ, not the Christ that people associate with religion, but Christ as in the man who gave us purpose and salvation. There is a lot of Christianity that has nothing to do with Christ. That is a false theology. The only true Christianity is a relationship, not a club membership. Through my faith and my life and learning to love above all things, I have learned how to be content.
So maybe these are not huge accomplishments, but they are things I am proud of. A year from now, I hope to add more to this list. I am currently working towards certain goals in my life. For now, I will continue to make small steps, in hopes that one day, I will have walked miles from where I stand today, and look back and smile at what I have achieved.