[saying goodbye to 2016]

2016 has been a hard year. It brought many changes and circumstances that have caused me to look deep into my soul and really assess what I’m doing and who I’m doing it for. 

I have had to assess broken relationships and really ask God to show me what He wants me to learn through them.  He has shown me how I need to change, to focus on that and to let go and rely on Him. 

He opened the door for a new job opportunity that I wasn’t really looking for but then He closed it pretty quickly or at least put it on hold. 
He has really worked on this problem I have of FOMO (fear of missing out).  My FOMO is directly related to letting go of some responsibilities that I used to define me. He showed me that my identity is in Him, not the activities or duties I perform. 

And although anxiety kicks in every once in a while, He has given me a peace about the direction He wants me on. 

I started grad school this year and it has kicked my butt at times. 2017 adds in a 300 hour practicum I need to finish by August. It will be tough and it will definitely impact my family but after this and four classes I will be done!

2016 had some great momemts with new relationships, new ministries and the opportunity to open up to another through our weekly meetings. If she reads this she will probably laugh because she may not think I’ve opened up much, but for me it’s a big deal!

I cherish the time with my children, even as they get older and our relationships are changing. I have had to let go more than I want to and my heart hurts sometimes when I see choices they make or don’t make. But I know God has them tightly in His hands. My prayer is that they will seek His will and follow Him all their days. 

My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this year and 32nd year as a couple. He loves, cherishes, protects and provides for me. What more could a girl want?

So goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017.  I’m excited to see what it brings. 

[end of summer]

I’m not one to start the next season before it actually begins.  I’ve tried to live in the moment and enjoy the season I’m in.  While Fall is my favorite season of the year, it will come like it always does the third week of September.  I refuse to order a Pumpkin Spice Latte before Fall actually arrives.

It seems like once July 4th comes and goes I start to see posts and tweets longing for sweatshirt weather and football.  The first day of school definitely ends the summer social season.  But I am holding on to this season because of the many wonderful things (and not so wonderful) that happened over this summer.

For a long time now, God has been calling me to disciple other women.  I’ve led a ladies Bible study for years and while I love these ladies with all of my heart there hasn’t been anyone that I’ve created a one-on-one relationship with outside of our weekly meetings.  I had been praying that He would send me someone local that I could pour into and who would pour into me.  He did just that in June and every Tuesday night we meet at Starbucks and talk about life, struggles we are going through and what our hopes for the future are.  It has taken me out of my comfort zone but it has encouraged me to reach out to other women as well.  For this introvert, it can be difficult to take the first step.  It’s even more difficult to open up and really trust someone with your heart.

The summer has had its challenges. He has taught me through a relationship at work that isn’t going as I’d like, how to communicate, to be bold and have hard conversations even if the relationship can’t be restored.  I read a post by Dr. Tony Evans this week that when a broken relationship cannot be healed, we need to seek healing from that broken relationship because it could harm future relationships.  It breaks my heart when relationships cannot be restored but God can renew our hearts and move us to a place of healing.

He has renewed my heart and awakened in me a joy and expectancy that I wasn’t sure would return.  He has been faithful and has even sent us three families that have become near and dear to our hearts.  He has given us new ministry opportunities and ways to serve that I didn’t even dream of.

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I am thankful for the opportunities He has provided and the struggles that I have had to navigate.  I am thankful for a renewed joy and expectancy He has given me.  I am soaking up these last couple of weeks of summer and I will NOT order a Pumpkin Spice Latte until after September 22nd.

[five minute friday – alive]

I’ve been sick all week and I am just starting to feel ALIVE again after a bout of bronchitis and a sinus infection.  I am finally getting some of my strength back but nothing I had planned to get done this week actually happened.  And here we are at Easter weekend and I am feeling a little overwhelmed.  Even though my kids are teenagers I still make them a basket each year but this year their gifts will be a little late.  My house is a mess and the laundry continues to pile up.  I’m supposed to cook on Sunday, maybe.

But as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, we know that He is not dead but ALIVE and we are ALIVE in Him. I am excited to celebrate that He is ALIVE at our Sunrise Service bright and early on Sunday morning.  Watching the sun rise in the background as we sing praises to the God who created that Sun, the One who overcame the grave, overwhelms my heart and sometimes its more than I can comprehend.

Sickness, a dirty house, unfilled Easter baskets don’t mean anything compared to what He did for us and what we have to look forward to in eternity.

Happy Jesus is ALIVE Day!

Easter

 

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[five minute friday – present]

In today’s fast and busy life it is so easy to get caught up in what is going on right now and think we are living in the present. But what does living in the present actually mean? Emily P. Freeman, in her book “Simply Tuesday” says that “the road to the kingdom is lined with invisible benches where the great work of love, service, listening, community, prayer, change, and transformation will occur.” Living in the present means being available (a plug for one my 2016 oneword365) and stopping for at least a few minutes to listen to God as He shows us the benches where we can love, serve, listen, pray, change and stop focusing on the urgent versus the important.

Will the urgent still pry us away from the important? Sure, it will. But if the urgent is what consumes all of our time it may be time to find that bench and sit for awhile and look for Him in the present.

 

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[resolutions…or not]

I have decided not to set any New Years resolutions for 2016. There is so much pressure and let’s be honest 2 or 3 weeks into the year it’s a bust anyway. I am choosing to look at life differently this year. For the last couple of years I have participated in the oneword365 project. God has laid the word available on my heart for 2016. Available to whatever He has in store for me. Available to Him, my family, ministry, relationships…whatever He wants. For so many years I have focused on my goals which may or may not have included His plans.

It’s time to leave the past in the past and focus on the future. It may be fun or it may not. It might not be pretty all the time and it may be hard but we were never promised an easy road (I’m hoping for more fun though 😉).  My prayer is that in all things I will praise my God.

What’s your one word for 2016?