[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. 

[what’s next]

Seasons change, not just on the calendar, but in our lives.  I now have a college student, a 9th grader and a 7th grader and I can’t for the life of me figure out how that happened.  I was just pregnant last week.  After 12 years serving in our church’s children’s ministry I stepped down this past May.  It has been such a huge part of my life that it was hard to leave but I know it is what God wanted me to do.   I love the local church, I love my church and I don’t have any intention of not serving in some capacity but it will certainly look very different than it has in the past.

I sense Him calling me to other things.  I sense that He is calling me to relationships.  Most importantly with Him but to really put people over projects.  To spend more time building relationships and making our home a place of refuge for my family and for others.

I sense Him calling me to a different place with Missions, specifically International Missions.  Not sure what that looks like yet but I know in His time He will make it clear.  He gave me an awesome opportunity to be a part of a women’s trip to Spain this past June.  It was life changing in a very different way than my previous trips to Africa.  This trip was filled with a lot of dealing with my stuff and He showed me so much in so many ways and through so many people, especially the women on this trip that blessed me beyond measure.

So as I ponder and pray over what He would have me do I will continue to enjoy this new season that He has laid out before me.

[change is hard…]

Change is hard.  I don’t like it.  Even when it’s for good reasons.  Even when the things that God is leading me away from are good.

I have spent the last 10+ years in church lay leadership in various ministries.  It has been an amazing ride and I have learned so much from others and through those ministries.  It has been fulfilling and thrilling at times.  There are so many opportunities that I have been given.  But there are times when it hasn’t been thrilling or fulfilling.  And let’s just be completely honest, church leadership is hard and sometimes relationships are strained because of it.

But I started to hear God asking me if it was fulfilling because I was looking for the approval of others?  Was I doing it so I could tell others how busy I was or how much I was doing for Him and the church?  Do I enjoy hearing people say “You are going to have so many jewels in your crown in Heaven.”  Is that what it’s all about?  Will I be able to stand up with all those jewels weighing me down?  Am I concentrating on godly works but failing to spend time with the One who deserves all the glory?
During the tough times what were my motivations for continuing?  Am I just giving up by quitting?  Am I blaming others for my dissatisfaction?

And the big question – was I really doing it to further His Kingdom?  I wish I could say I was doing everything for His Kingdom all the time, but the reality is that my type A personality likes to be busy and I like to accomplish things.  There is a sense of satisfaction in bringing a program or activity to fruition.  Especially if everyone likes it.  But the reality is that my personal walk had suffered.  The urgent had taken over the important.  My quiet time suffered, my relationship with my husband and children suffered and being totally honest again, those ministries probably suffered.

I am in the process of stepping down from my “corporate” church leadership roles.  In some ways it has been easy (and a relief) and in some ways it has been harder.  There are areas that I have invested so much time and energy and I feel “ownership” of them.  But those areas belong to God and only He owns them.  Not me.  In some cases I am passing on the torch to very capable hands but in others I have stepped down with no one to lead.  I am trusting God that He will provide leadership for those areas or He will show clearly what needs to happen.

So what is God calling me to next?  I’ll save that for another post.  But for now, I am clinging to Psalm 28:7 these days trusting and praising God for what He is teaching me right now and for what He has planned for the future.

 

[t minus 28 days]

Well we are getting close…only 28 days away.  We had a setback with so much snow that we hadn’t run for two weeks straight.  Definitely felt that this morning.  We hope to get a few more runs in this week if the weather will hold out for us.

[t minus 49 days]

So we did the unthinkable and signed up for a 10k race on March 28th.  We will do 2 5k’s before that on March 7th and 14th.  Here are today’s results…

It doesn’t feel like we are making much processing given only 49 days to get to 6+ miles but we are certainly farther ahead than when we started.  

[one word]

In 2014 I chose one word for the One Word Challenge and it was love.  I picked it and didn’t think too much about it the rest of the year.  So for 2015 I have chosen the word “intentional.”  I want to be more intentional about my life as it relates to spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and financial.  My plan is to write about one of these areas each week as the year progresses with intentionality (if that’s a word).

[fall is here]

Finally, the first week of Fall 2014 is here. My most favorite time of year. It’s still warm enough to wear capris and short sleeve shirts and cool enough at night to wear a sweatshirt. The leaves are starting to turn, the wind is picking up and the days are getting shorter. You can smell Fall in the air and it makes my heart go pitter patter. It’s time to make bread (a first for me this year) and homemade taco soup. Olivia has been asking for it for a month but I told her we had to wait until Fall was officially here. So guess what she’s getting it very soon.

Fall is a time of reflection for me. As the leaves die off and fall to the ground it reminds me that I have to let some things go. As hard as it is God is showing me that it’s time.  I know He has plans for new life in the Spring.

He has been teaching and pruning me the last month with the Book of Acts.  At different times and events these pages of Scripture have come up more often than they ever have. I’ve read it many times before but it has taken on new meaning for me as He is showing me the power of the Holy Spirit as I’ve never felt it before. It is exhilerating and scary all at the same time. I know He has a plan and I am content to let Him show me that plan as He sees fit.

[last first day of school]

There’s something about flipping the calendar to a new month or seeing that “1” on my iPad that signifies a new beginning.  This beginning has a whole different feeling.

18 years ago as we were awaiting the arrival of our first born the thought of him starting his senior year of high school seemed like an eternity away and yet it has passed so quickly. He has grown up even though I keep trying to keep him little. But instead of trying to stop time I will embrace it and celebrate the young man he has become and the life he has in front of him.  I will continue praying for him as he seeks to make his own way in the world and contemplates the major decisions he has to make over the next year. I will continue praying that his relationship with his Savior will continue to be the most important thing in his life and that it will continue to guide his decisions.  
Tomorrow is his last first day of school and we will celebrate it as much as we did his first day of Kindergarten. 

[end of one season, beginning of another]

The past few weeks have been the end of a lot of things…those things that come to their end in May and June.  The end of dance classes with the culmination of the “Recital,”  keyboard recitals, Spring Play, Prom, the end of our Word of Life clubs at church celebrating accomplishments with gold medals and a pool party, last week of my precious ladies Bible study, and of course the last day of school for my babies.  I’m not sure who is more excited, me or those babies.  Just as the beginning of the year is exciting, the end of the year brings it’s own excitement and stress.  But once its finished we move on to the things of summer – Word of Life camp (my all-time favorite), lazy days with nothing to do and no where to be, 4th of July.  More time to read for fun, BBQs and ice cream!  Of course Vacation Bible School, Sports Camp and getting a team ready to head to West Africa are squeezed in there too.

I am looking forward to what the Summer has to bring, what God has to show me and how His mercies are new every morning.

Here’s a few funny pictures from a graduation party we attended last weekend.