“As a tree is fertilized by its own broken branches and fallen leaves, and grown out of its own decay, so men and nations are bettered and improved by trial, and refined out of broken hopes and blighted expectations.” ~F.W. Roberston
I adore that quote, and if it rings true at all, my soil for the 2014 harvest is as rich as they get.
There are so many details about our 2013 that aren’t mine to share, but I can say I was stretched in every meaning of the word. I was stretched physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
In November I ran a half marathon that I had no business running. I recently had surgery that wouldn’t allow for any physical exercise, which left me weak and out of condition, then I went into the race suffering from an excruciating case of bronchitis. Not to mention, the temps in Tennessee were in the 30s and my pipes were Florida conditioned. I know this doesn’t seem like some huge feat, and honestly I didn’t make that big of a deal out of it. However, what I experienced out there was a big deal. That race was a 2 hour and 30-something minute synopsis of my year. I couldn’t breathe at times, my joints ached, I cried, I prayed, I KEPT GOING. I never stopped. At times I moved so slow that if my body didn’t appear to be running, you might have called it standing still. But I never stopped. Why? Because of God. I’m not kidding, it was all HIM! I should have collapsed somewhere around the guy who was smoking on the sidewalk (lol). But, I just kept asking Him, “Please Lord just carry me to the finish. Just push me. Keep pushing me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He was faithful, I finished.
Being completely weak and incapable, yet finishing the race solely by the strength of God was my 2013.
I’m not the type of person to say “my life is horrible” just because my circumstances might be hard. In fact, I see a lot of beauty in the hard times. Not because of anything great about me, but because of God. He is always faithful in eventually revealing His purpose. Seeing that faithfulness comes from years of walking with Him. There is nothing He has sent me through, that was not intended to strengthen me and draw me closer to Him. In fact, in my pain, I am thankful. Thankful that he believes in me enough to challenge and refine me. When you ask God to give you wisdom, discernment, and greater responsibility within His kingdom, He doesn’t hand it all over like a winning lotto ticket. Instead, He puts you through bootcamp.
This year was about silence and prayer. I fought hard for one thing, Stephen’s health. Everything else felt stripped away from me, and I was asked to be silent. Any time I felt the need to defend myself, or try too hard, or fix something, I heard, “why aren’t I enough for you?”….”shhhh”
He demanded my attention. He revealed to me my pride. He showed me a mirror. He asked me to choose Him every day. He allowed me to walk through so many things all alone, so I would know that I am never alone. He asked me to release people and situations over to Him. There were days, in the midst of my most difficult storm, when I couldn’t eat, shower, or even change out of my robe. I just sat holding a picture of His face in one hand and His Word in the other. I had never been so incapable of basic functions, and He met me there. He showed me such beauty and love. Once again, asking me to be still, be quite. He wanted to be my sole provider and, for once, I allowed it.
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands! CLAP! CLAP! I am so blessed. Why? Because God spent 2013 improving my sight. There are no guarantees in life. As a child you look ahead and see school, career, love, marriage, babies, family, a beautiful home, health, security. But those things aren’t guaranteed, and they aren’t promised to satisfy regardless. Sometimes you get sick, sometimes you can’t find a job. sometimes you can’t have kids, sometimes you feel alone, sometimes___________. But you always have a choice! You have a choice to trust in the God who created The Heavens and The Earth. You have a choice to relinquish control and KNOW all things belong to Him (your children, your spouse, your job- THEY ARE HIS! Not yours!). You have a choice to be infinitely grateful for every breath you breathe and every bite you take. You have a choice to Stop putting God in a box–assuming he can only do certain things or only involves himself in certain areas of your life–and Start seeing Him as the infinite, ever-flowing, never-ending source of love and power that He is. He knows everything about you, He lights every step you take, He protects you, He keeps you, He has great plans for you! Erase everything you know about “how the world works” and focus on that!
~Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV
So here are my choices:
1. I chose to love my husband every day. Knowing that he is not perfect and I never expect him to be. He is the son of The Most High King. He is adored by God, and God is taking him on an extraordinary journey. One that I am so very fortunate to be apart of. I will not bring him down, rather I will always lift him up in prayer and with words of encouragement. I will do my very best to love him like Christ loves me, unconditionally.
2. I will not compare myself to others, yet believe wholeheartedly that God made me and set me apart for a specific, and divine purpose. He loves me and wants me to be ME!
3. I will believe that others love me too. I will not live in a state where I assume negativity, yet reside in positivity, knowing he is working all things for my good.
4. I will soak up every one of my german shepherd’s 10,000 a day kisses, even though I don’t need a bath. I will happily share the bed with my 100lb Rottweiler, who kicks and snores all night. I will sit for hours scratching my cockatiel’s head because he absolutely adores it. And I will thank God every minute for the gifts that they are. They are my family. They are the children he has chosen for me, for the moment that I am in, and I am unbelievably blessed by their lives.
5. I will be an artist. I will not be afraid to create all the crazy creations HE pours into my head.
6. I will love deeper
7. I will choose to trust Him in all things
8. I will live here and now, not then and there.
What are YOUR choices?
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite pictures from the year
All of our babies~We welcomed a new feathery addition this year and the whole family has embraced him. Even my Dad got him a “welcome to the family gift”! When you were raised with pet ducks, pigs, and cows that sleep in the house, you don’t know where animal ends and people begin! LOL!
My Faves~From Cold To Hot
My Florida Family~When God takes you away from home, You find family on the road. Im thankful for all of them:
And finally a shot from my mom’s visit for Christmas:
HAPPY NEW YEAR YA’LL!!!! Choose Him because He Chose YOU!
- What Joys Have You Brought into 2014? (homewordsministry.wordpress.com)
- Can I Breathe? (epiphaniesnconfessions.wordpress.com)
- Ask the Lord God to bless you for 2014 (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
- Dieting and your walk with Christ… (mythreepsinapod.wordpress.com)