About a week ago, I clicked on my “on this day” Facebook feature. A portrait that my friend took of me a year ago had popped up on my profile and I sat and remembered the season that I was in. The caption on the picture read “If you love deeply, you’re going to get hurt badly. But it’s still worth it.” CS Lewis said it. And I had no idea what that meant then. But I get it now. I get it.

This past year of my life has been messy. I’ve been scared absolutely shitless. I’ve hurt. I’ve grieved. I’ve cried. I’ve yelled. I’ve gone through absolutely every human emotion possible. It’s been so dang messy. Lord knows. He knows. But yet I am still seen. I am heard. And I am loved anyways. It has been worth it.

Words have been spilling out of every corner of my jagged heart. My journal is covered in them and they line the core of every poem, caption, thought, and intentional conversation I have had. Through the pain I have learned.

I have been so scared for the month of February to roll around. I hate this month. I hate it so much. I hate the feelings it stirs up and the nostalgic memories time has a way of bringing back. But I’m here and it’s halfway through the month and I am making it. I am doing it. So I’m here to talk to you on this Tuesday morning of February 23rd, 2016 to tell you something so important I have learned.

If you would have talked to me a year ago about the word growth I would have had only a few things to say. The things I would have talked about would have all been good. They would have all been pretty, beautiful stories of success and triumph. I would have probably just gone on about the happy moments. The moments I accomplished something really freaking great. My happy memories that have shaped me into the lady and human that I am today. Whenever I think about growth, my mind immediately jumps to the image of a flower or a garden that is flourishing. When I used to think of growth, I always thought it had to be actual, real life growth. Something that could be seen and understood. I used to envision a beautiful flower that was running wild and overflowing with life. Or a tree that was full and fruitful and pleasing to everyone who saw it or looked at it. We do that as humans. We paint these images of growth and make it into this idol that we are unable to live up to. No way in the world can we meet some of these standards we set for ourselves; yet we do it anyways. We put growth up on this pedestal and create unfair, unrealistic goals for ourselves to reach when we are not even close to being there yet. We idolize success and lie to ourselves so we don’t have to deal with the reality of our actual situations. We are impatient with ourselves. We don’t give ourselves time. We don’t give ourselves time to grow healthily.

But this past year has opened my eyes to the other kind of growth. The messy, ugly, and painful kind of growth. I’ve come face to face with it. Its kept me up at night. I’ve become really good friends with it. The growth I’m talking about is the growth that involves getting pulled out by the roots. Having your world flipped upside down and inside out. Because sometimes life happens. Sometimes circumstances we don't see coming, sneak up and change everything. Sometimes things are not okay and we decide to stop lying to ourselves and deal with the pain that comes with facing that kind of reality. We have to swim upstream and hold on for dear life while layers and layers of what we thought were good and right get ripped away. This is the kind of growth I am talking about. The kind no one wants to deal with because it’s not pretty. It is not comforting. This kind of growth doesn’t tuck us in at night and tell us everything is going to be okay. It doesn’t lie. It is real and it is raw. So we run. We hide and we don’t let ourselves deal with the reality of our situations. We are told we have to have everything together and that we have to be perfect all the dang time. But I am here to tell you other wise. Growing through the pain and through pruning and the ripping off of scabs to create scars is beautiful. Allow yourself room to heal. I am talking to you because I love you. And because I think you are worth it. You don’t have to be afraid of the growth people underestimate. Our pain makes us beautiful. Our pain creates joy. And joy helps us grow. Whatever that looks like for me and you. We can grow.

My name is Taylor Tippett. I forget to brush my teeth after I drink coffee and I never pay my electric bill because I am forgetful. I never know what day of the week it is. I still can’t spell restaurant, schedule, or guitar (they are only spelled correctly right now because of autocorrect). I have been heart broken. I have hurt people, really really really badly because of who I thought I was and because of who I pretended to be. I am sometimes really really really horrible at communicating when I am the one who is hurt. I am also really bad at apologizing sometimes because I hate hurting people too. And most importantly, I am scared to grow when it hurts and when I can’t talk and brag about how beautiful life is. I hate being messy. I hate screwing up. I hate not being on top of the world and joyful 24/7 but it’s just not possible. We’re not designed to be functioning perfectly all the time.

I picked a word for 2016. One word I wanted to see painted over my life for this next year. Something I believe in and stand behind. And I picked blossom. 

So today (on a day I really don’t like and want to run away from), I’m picking to grow through the good, the bad, the messy, the ugly, the beautiful, and all the in between. And I’m asking you to join me. No matter how scared we may be or how uncertain the next season you are stepping into may be. And I want to encourage you to do that thing you have been dying to do. You have all the courage you absolutely need. Allow space to fail. Allow yourself room to grow. Grow and grow and get torn down and grow again anyways. Get new soil. Get new roots. Plant new seeds. Do the right thing, no matter what that looks like for you. No matter how scary it may be. How heart breaking it might be. No matter what you might lose, what you might gain, what you might face. You are worth growing. You are worth pruning. Your tears matter. And you will reap what you sow. And it is going to be beautiful.

Love is messy and scary and painful. But you grow. And you learn and you blossom. You blossom through pain and you blossom through joy. It is worth it. Still is, will always be. Don't forget your sadness can still yield growth too.