Tuesday, December 31, 2013

looking back...reflections on 2013

A year ago today I was lying on the couch -- sick as a dog with the flu-from-hell, physically and emotionally exhausted, unemployed, refusing to attend church, full of anger, bitterness, and grief. 2013 has been a tough year, but I have learned a lot about myself, others, and God. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I am not in the same place I was a year ago. 

Blog highlights/lessons I've been learning this past year:

-Learning to once again live with a heart wide open, despite all the dangers of love is a very scary business. Be careful who you open your heart to. There are a lot of people out there who are not able to safely handle your heart. But when you do open your heart, what a joy it is to have someone to walk alongside! 

-Real friends are the ones who show up and help carry you when things get tough. They stick it out even when you're not fun to be around. Letting go of past friendships is tough, but anyone who can't hang in there with you during the hard times, isn't worth having around to share the good times. 

-As terrible as house renovations are, there is a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes with the completion of a project. (And having now felt that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, we're totally going to hire someone to complete the final half of the house!)

-Having a home church and being part of a church community is important. Finding a church family where you fit in can be really hard. Finding a church that will care for your heart is even tougher. No church is perfect because we're all sinners. Sometimes, we can get deeply hurt by people who who are part of the church. Although they are sadly few and far between, church leadership that extends grace and love, and who offer a a sense of community and acceptance, really do exist. If you are able to find a pastor who takes seriously the calling of being Jesus' hands and feet, consider yourself blessed. 

-Forgiveness is a process, not an instant cure. You are not a "bad Christian" if you don't instantly forgive someone who caused you tremendous hurt and pain. Reconciliation is not the same as forgiveness, and it is not always possible.

-A lot of my friends have gone through some really tough losses recently. Though I can't relate specifically, my heart hurts for them. 

-Love is powerful. So is the bond of family. Being a big sister and an aunt is a great privilege

-Marriage can be really hard. Especially the "for richer or poorer/in sickness and in health" part. But I love my husband and wouldn't trade him for anything in the world.

-The only way for the grieving heart to heal is to work through it and deal with it. Easier said than done. Don't run when your past comes calling I (and so many others) am living proof that healing can happen. Sometimes your worst childhood enemy really can become your friend.

-Just because God doesn't show up when you want Him to, doesn't mean He's not there, or that He doesn't care. His sense of timing is not the same as ours, and we have to trust Him with the bigger picture. Again, easier said than done.

-Some dreams are worth pursuing, even when they seem impossible. Sometimes, they come true sooner than you think.

Thank you to my faithful mentors, friends and readers for your prayers and your words of encouragement throughout 2013. It is my hope and prayer that each of you experience God's ongoing presence in your life throughout the New Year. May you know without a doubt that whatever 2014 holds, He will hold you firmly in His hands!
Happy New Year! 

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