So I've been trying to think of the highlights that encompassed 2009 for me. With my ADD brain, sometimes compartmentalizing things in my head is an impossibility so I'm hoping as I type, it will come.
I'm starting with what is under the category as "new" or "a horizon" in my life that happened in 2009.
1. First and foremost, we have a new family member living in our house...and no, it's not a baby. It's my sweet sister-in-law Becky who has moved down here from NY. She didn't plan to stay with us longer than a few months, but lo and behold, she is still here waiting on God's timing to find her a new place to live....which is completely fine by us. Thankfully she has found a church home, new friends, a good job, and even a very nice boyfriend. All the chips are falling in place so far. I just hope she isn't sick of us yet because we are certainly not with her. Quite the contrary. She has been nothing short of a blessing to have around and we will miss her when she does find her own place. And as a little extra, the chips are falling in place for my mother-in-law to move down in 2010, which will be very exciting!
2. The next new thing I can say that really developed in 2009 is the new community of friends that God has brought into my life. And strangely enough it's not even really within my church. I tend to be someone who surrounds myself with friends regularly. I'm a very social and relational person, yet toward the beginning of last year, I was missing the sense of community we (Tim and I) had a few years back through some relationships at church. Dynamics changed, people moved, relationships changed, etc. and we were kind of left wandering around when last year started...at least I was. I admit I don't do well when I feel out of sorts in that area. Then thru a series of circumstances, we started rekindling some old friendships, then that led to new friendships that we met through these old mutual friends...and then some of us ladies started meeting weekly as a prayer group with new and old friends...and we still are...and Tim and some of the husbands had been already meeting separately even before we were. Now here we are and we have a group of friends that I really believe have been God-ordained into our lives. It's been awesome! We genuinely love to be together. And after the year we've all shared together, we were able all spend the last day of 2009 together. No other way to do it in my opinion! Some of these people I've known for less than a year, some for many years, yet I feel I've known all of them my whole life. And I dearly cherish the love that we all have for each other and thank God for them. It will be etched in my heart for a lifetime.
3. I also must mention a dear childhood/family friend that I have been able to rekindle my friendshship with this past year thru Facebook. Amber, I really consider you another "new" soul sister to me in so many ways and I thank God for bringing you back into my life. May our physical distance never keep us from remaining close at heart. I look forward to sharing more life together over a new year and hopefully even the next decade...and beyond. Love you, my friend!
4. My marriage has hit many new heights. Though we still have our bumps, we have definitely come to a new level of love for each other that can not go unmentioned for 2009. We celebrated 12 years of marriage in June and am so glad to say we are happily approaching 13 years. I love my husband.
5. Tim and I also have come to a new understanding of what God's love looks like. We went through some un-doing several months back and our whole mindset began to be transformed about the whole lie of thinking we are still earning God's love vs. the truth that God's love never changes no matter who we are or what we have done...or will do. It's a beautiful freeing thing when you can live it out. We said it for years that God's love is enough but to live it out is a whole other thing. Though living it out is the hardest part as we are changing old mind habits, it is still hopeful to know that God's love is always enough, even when we don't "get it" or are able to receieve it moment by moment. He is never surprised by where we are at, what we have done, or what we will do. He created us in His image and His love has conquered all the sin that tries to encompasses our lives. Thank you, Father, for Your unchangeable, everlasting love for your children.
6. We have also begun a new endeavor of going to the Sunday night service at church and leading a Bible Fellowship as well. We love the new schedule, new worship music, and the class is moving along pretty well. It's always a challenge to develop community with a brand new group of people so we are just trusting God as He keeps us in this place of leadership. And we just hope some fruit comes of this step of faith we are taking.
6. We have had a 1st grader and a 5th grader start school in the fall of 2009. Faith (our 1st grader) is sailing through her reading. She is very artistic and truly loves school. Hannah (our 5th grader) has been dealing with an overabundance of homework and has struggled for the first time in her 5 years of school. It has been a new experience for her and for us to see our smart girl get so overwhelmed. But we're working through it and she is still a great kid nonetheless. We are very proud of her. She is also becoming an excellent volleyball player. She just finished her 5th season of playing. Her coach this fall was very instrumental in her growth. We wish we could have this same coach in the spring but she had to retire from this league after the fall. We hope to see more great games and growth in Hannah this spring in whatever team she ends up in.
Here is the category of "same ol', same ol' (everyone's gotta have those):
1. Though God is still very real, so is an enemy who doesn't give up. Through some of the past blogging I've done, it's no new news that there are still many hurdles that I still grapple with...and the enemy tries to throw them at me daily. Pride, selfishness, confusion, apathy, condemnation, and the great question "Is God really enough"?, And there's also the other big question of, "Is my life really reflecting what I say or what I want to reflect"? I pray 2010 will bring some new freedoms with it as the enemey tries to use these things to try to run my life in the day-to-day. God is a big God and is into doing more than we could ever ask or imagine. Our youth pastor challenged us last Sunday to stop depending on ourselves for change, but believing the big things that God can do in 2010. I'm still working on my list. My prayer right now is, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief". That's about as far as I've gotten.
2. In 2008, the economy began to hit us pretty hard. With Tim being in sales, it can always be a gamble when the economy is struggling. Sure enough, 2009 has turned out to be no different, in fact has been one of our toughest years yet financially. But in the midst, God has taught us to simplify some things and really lean on Him completely. And He has helped free me of some control issues I've had over finances. I just THOUGHT I had control...ha! Yeah right! We have also gone down to one car, we don't eat out as much, we are budgetting more, and I've taken on a part time home child care job to help a little. Needless to say, selfishly, I would hope for this year to bring some relief in the area of finances, but we know that God doesn't always work on our time clock, nor does he always use comfort to show Himself more. We shall see what this year brings. I've come to the conclusion that I know nothing...and He knows everything, including what's best for us..much more than we know.
This was long so I'll stop here. But my heart's desire is to see God and know Him more than ever before. So whatever He needs to do to accomplish that, bring it. Please Lord, ignite the fire. Rekindle the passion that I once had. I'm looking forward to the journey ahead for 2010...