(Welcome to my first post on my new site, as well as my last post of 2013! Lots of construction still under way…thanks for your patience!)
(Because no family photo could actually have everyone looking in the same direction, and smiling, at once…)
In order to move forward in head and heart as the New Year rings in sometime tonight while I sleep, it’s important for me to stop and reflect, look back at the previous year, let go of anxiety, offense, and all things left unfinished, and sit with God in a thankful position, not with hands clenched but open and upraised, because He is good, no matter the year, no matter the circumstances.
- Two trips to NYC to be with girlfriends, once with my sister, and these weekends away turned out to be more like retreats for my soul. Not only did I get to hang out with these deep heart friends whom I love, but I got to meet new ones, some introduced, others at cafes where I just struck up conversation, learning women’s stories.
- This previous year was a full 365 days of enjoying a potty trained boy, which means, I retired my diaper bag. Woohoo! Rather than cleaning up after dirty diapers, though, we easily washed bloody crib sheets 50+ times because of nose bleeds. Tit for tat.
- Emily and I read several books out loud together curled up at night, our favorite by far was “Love Does” by Bob Goff.
- Jason and I had a 2 week long date in Spain to celebrate 20 years of marriage. The trip was epic, as was our time together.
- Several friendships changed over the last year and instead of carrying offense or worrying about what I did wrong, I’ve been intentional to pray blessings over these relationships and trust God that He is good and sees the bigger picture.
- My mom’s breast cancer returned this year…twice. It’s been a long year. I don’t have a bucket list for what I want from, or to do with, my mom, other than to soak in the wisdom she has from an extremely intimate and discerning walk with God. I want to know God like she does. I want to WANT to pursue Him, study Him, and worship Him the way she does. These are the things I’m grateful for as I watch her on this journey. This is what I want to “take away.”
- My dad’s Parkinson’s came to a stand still this year, no extremes one way or another, and for that I am so grateful.
- I haven’t been a regular church attender in over 3 years now, nor have I carried an official “title” as a women’s pastor or whatnot. And I’ve been loving it! This year marked some of the most intense times of ministry, outside the walls of the Evangelical American corner church institution, in years, including suicide watch, cancer recovery for a friend, divorce intervention, abusive marriages, a trip to the police station, shots and prayers with broken friends at bars, forgiveness, fear, and hope.
- I’ve lost and gained probably 100 lbs this year, 5 here, 10 there, up, down, up, down, gaining 15 just over Thanksgiving alone, but the PRAISE in this particular bullet point is how healed my head and heart are about my body. I love me. I love my parts. I’m FINALLY comfortable in my own skin and for that I’m exceedingly grateful! It only took 35 years, but whatever…
- This has been a year of Yoga and baby, I’m in love!
- The last 4 months of 2013 have really been a ride…2 week house guests, 2 weeks in Spain, flu bugs and fevers and lots of barfing, our home was a surgical recovery spot for a dear friend for a few weeks, Jason traveled overseas a few times, my mom’s cancer returned, family members had some tough things, dear friends walked through divorce, we had two homeless guys living in our basement for a while, along with their wolf pups, I got shingles, had a gallbladder attack, and then we passed the barf/high fever/chest cold and cough around one more time, week after week, for good measure.
- In all of it, including seeing demons in my house and not sleeping for several of the last few weeks, God has reminded me of a few things:
- When things seem crazy and all hell is breaking loose, it’s important to remember our battle here on earth, on any given day, despite our circumstances, is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities of darkness in this world.
- And, on that note, God’s bigger. We cannot, nor were we meant to, live in fear. SOOO, either God is Who He says He is and His power in us is stronger than Satan’s power in the world…or He is not. And I know God is not a liar.
- Life continues to be short. My job here on earth is not to worry, over plan, obsess, or control it, but to look to God and trust He sees the bigger picture, is a good and loving God, and no matter the number of our days, to cherish and treasure the time we do have with people in the day to day.
I don’t have a “New Year’s Resolution” for 2014. I do have a word or intention for the year, something you’ll see woven into many of my posts here in the days and months to come. The word is “Treasure.” Several places in Scripture it talks about Jesus healing people and then telling the people not to go talk to everyone about it, but to simply just live. It also talks of Mary “hiding these things and pondering them in her heart.” For me, the word treasure is a charge to me to hide God’s goodness in my heart as stored up treasure, beauty on the inside, something sought after with fervor.
My friend Alece Ronzino is the founder of #OneWord365 where many people will gather over the coming year to encourage one another in the words they have chosen, not as “resolutions” but as words to ponder and to live by. My word is #treasure. Over at the Bevy Blog we’ll be writing posts about our words over the next few months. Join us over there!
Here’s to a Happy New Year to YOU! I pray it’s filled with God’s beauty and grace, as well as simple treasures in your every day.