Reflecting on the Past Year
Be honest, this year had some good, some great, some not so good, and some just outright really bad days- all in the same year. Beautiful days and bad days. Days of playing and enjoying your child’s belly laugh and days of intense brokenness. Interesting thing about beauty is that you will often find the messy in the same chapters that you found the beauty. That’s right, same book, just different stories spread through out. I can tell you of great testimonies of us doing our first summer camps with Big Red Ministries, and in the same breath let you know we’ve collected some debt this past year. I can tell you of several precious babies being born this past year, and in the same chapter let you know we are still waiting on a healing in our family. I can tell you of the incredible Thanksgiving that was spent with my family in Rockwall, TX, and in the next few weeks share how my husband lost his grandfather. And it’s all meshed together in the chapters of 2014.
As I reflect on the past year I feel thankfulness and sadness, joy and pain- all of it. I’ve read a few people on social media talking about what a hard year this was and that they’ll be glad to start over. And on the same feed I read others sharing that it’s been their best year yet. Is it because one has more faith than the other? Absolutely not. Does God love some of His children more than others? Last time I checked He was no respecter of persons.
But what I continue to learn through the years is that no matter what we go through, He can use that situation. And I don’t believe He is the one causing all the pain in our lives. There is still an enemy here on this earth whose sole purpose is to destroy our lives. (1 Peter 5:8- Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.) But the Lord does show himself, even in the hardest of times. He wants us to be completely dependent on Him and He wants to show us that even if we feel like we’re drowning, that He will immediately reach out His hand to pull us in. He is faithful to carry us to the other side. He doesn’t always move or work on our time frame, but I will assure you of this- He moves and works. I feel like we’re suppose to surrender 2014 to Him, the good and the not so good, and confess once again, “Not my will but Your will be done.” Take it all Lord and show me how to learn and grow from this previous year. And show me all the places where you showed up this year and remind me that you will continue to be with me, no matter what.
One of the biggest lessons I personally take away from 2014 is this: God has placed people in our lives to rejoice with us and celebrate the good, and He has placed people in our lives to struggle and mourn with us when our heart is breaking. The Bible says in Romans 12:15 that we are to Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
I am convinced more than ever before that the best investment we can make in 2015 is in people. Relationships. With our spouse, our kids, our family members, our friends, and others who don’t know the Lord yet. Love greatly, let our guards down, and risk it all for love- that’s courageous love. John 15:12– This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. Wow, He wants us to love each other in the same way He loves us. We can only do that by asking Him each morning, “Help me to love others like you love others.” It’s His strength and His power in us that will love others and love others well.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen” -Brene’ Brown, Daring Greatly.
In 2015 may we love and give of ourselves expecting nothing in return. Because really, when it comes down to it, that’s what we have, isn’t it? When we really boil our lives down, we have our relationship with our Abba daddy, our relationship with our family, and our relationship with each other.
I think that’s why I am a photo-oholic. I love memories and I love to make memories and I love to look at memories. I was just reminiscing today after my scrapbooks were in storage for over a year. I love the memories and when I’m gone my kids and their kids will have these memories to treasure. And it’s all because of the ‘people’ in my pictures. Oh sure, I enjoyed every second of scrapbooking, but that’s for another blog.
What are you taking with you when you leave? None of the things we spent hours searching for and buying and cleaning. Nope. Just the relationship with your Heavenly Father and with others. Seems like a pretty good investment, don’t you think? So that continues to be my mission going into 2015. To work on inviting people into my home and into my life, to be intentional about catching up with others when I haven’t heard from them in a while, and the one that’s the hardest for me, to call people more!!
I wish I could tell you I have the art of people and relationships perfected. Unfortunately, I can tell you of many times I chose the project or the thing before the person. I am still human and a work in progress. But it remains my heart goal. And my favorite part about a new year is that we all get a fresh start! Amen!
Here’s to being a work in progress and being okay with that. And here’s to authenticity, transparency, and keeping it real in 2015.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” –Brene’ Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
Praying January has started off well- give thanks to the Lord for all He has done and all that He is going to do. Enjoy those who are around you and thank the Lord for them. For each day is a gift from above and none of us are given any promises of tomorrow. May we truly see people as the treasure that they are. Each one of them a gift from above.