Monday, December 31, 2012

Adieu 2012 and OneWord2013

I'm sitting in a hotel room with two sleeping children, who are not my own, on New Year's Eve 2012. Typing from my heart, just my thoughts.

What a difference a year makes.

2012 has been, well, a year. It's had it's ups and downs. It's been full of change. I started the year as a pastor, and I end the year having completed my first semester of nursing school. I'm in a good place. I feel strongly that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

The last 6 months have been incredibily fulfilling as a mom. I have been able to spend so much time with my children and in my home. We had a ton of fun this summer. I was home every morning to get them off to school (and drive them every other week-yay for neighbors to carpool with). I picked them up from school all but one day a week. I missed sports practices and some bedtimes while in class, but my time as a mom increased exponentially.

That's what this transition for me has been about. My kids. My family. Giving them all of myself. Not forgetting about myself or losing myself, but giving them what they deserve. I struggled with that balance as a pastor. I struggled to "turn off" and just be with them. There was always too much to think about or worry about. Always too much going on that I couldn't detach from. Much of this is just due to my personality and my heart for people--not the specific job itself. I look foward to caring for people in the medical field, but then being able to hand off the chart to the next shift when it's time to go home.

If I were to pick a word for 2012, it would have been FAITH. We walked in faith, stepped out in faith, and are living by faith! Leaving a secure job and changing careers at 35 takes a lot of faith. Figuring out how to pay for school and for life (without a job) couldn't be determined until I was already in the midst of it all. We couldn't plan ahead. We had to trust, and step out in faith. And God has provided. And will continue to.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed...
being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:18, 21

In 2012 I learned more about being God's instrument, about laying down my own desires and not looking for credit or recognition. I learned about forgiveness, redemption and restoration. I watched friends walk through horrific times and through some of life's most joyous occassions.  I learned to give thanks more, look for gifts of grace and to embrace the bitter and the sweet. 

"When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”  (Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet)

For the past few months, Hebrews 6:19 keeps showing up in things I read and see. I wrote about this verse a few weeks ago. 

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."

For 2013, I choose HOPE. Hope for my future. Hope for the rest of nursing school. Hope for what God has planned for me and my family. I want to BE HOPE and GIVE HOPE. The hope that is in Christ. I want to instill this in my daughters that no matter what, eternity is what matters and we have hope in Christ, no matter what life brings us.

2012 was a year of a lot of personal growth in my life, my soul and my faith. I feel like I am aware more than ever of how messy I am and how selfish I can be. But being more aware of these things is growth. And now in 2013 I want to use that growth to change things around me--and to change how I handle things in life. I need what's on the inside to pour out. And sometimes that is the hardest part. The first and most important place that starts is in my home. With how I am raising my daughters and how I love my husband.

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist was perhaps my favorite book of the year. Here are a few more quotes from it that continue to speak to me.

“My life is a story about who God is and what He does in a human heart.”

“I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything's easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.”

“When things fall apart, the broken pieces allow all sorts of things to enter, and one of them is the presence of God.”

I am believing, I am HOPING for amazing things in 2013. I know that there will be pain and suffering. In fact 2012 ends in sorrow for lifelong friends who lost their mom unexpectedly today. She was a part of my growing up years and very treasured. I read somewhere that joy and pain are like two side by side tracks in life and we jump easily between the two. And even in pain and sorrow, we have HOPE, which is the anchor for my soul. Hope in Christ. Hope that does not disappoint.

Happy New Year Friends.

I also hope that 2013 brings me more time to write and sit in this space here, embracing the day.