Things 2014 Taught Me

2014 was a year of learning. The best ones always are. Some of the lessons were new, and some were strong reminders. Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the things 2014 taught me…

  • I can survive winter without being completely bummed the whole time. Get out of the house and keep moving, even if it means wearing extra layers and braving time among sick people…it’s worth the risk.

  • Stress over illness can be more harmful than illness itself.

  • Communication is critically important in relationships, and that is not as simple as it sounds. Keep talking to each other, even when it hurts.

  • We can survive far more than we can imagine, but only when we rely on more than ourselves. My own strength, Dustin’s and my strength together, your strength, isn’t enough to brave the trials of this life. And that’s okay.

  • Humility goes a LONG way. It is one of the most important elements in a healthy relationship.

  • Marriage can survive a separation.

  • Not everyone is going to be happy when you succeed. Sometimes your success will hurt another person, because they don’t understand how you have what they don’t. Because of that, you might feel guilty about the happiness in your life.

  • You shouldn’t be ashamed at how far you’ve come or how much the LORD has given you. Walk in humility and gratitude, and recognize that not everyone is where you are in their journey.

  • You should give more grace than you think people deserve. That’s one way to be like Jesus.

  • Not everyone is in the same place in their spiritual walk, but that doesn’t mean they love Jesus any more or less. Everyone is learning.

  • Good girlfriends are precious gems.

  • Life is best lived when you choose to be grateful for the unexpected. And there will always be unexpected things. Don’t hold too tightly to your own plans, because God’s plans are always better.

  • You cannot just show up and expect everything to fall into place. You have to work hard and then work harder. Life will not hand you success.

  • Two tall adults and one little boy can live a very joyful life in a 500-600 square foot second floor apartment…even if those two adults hit their heads on the surprisingly low ceilings and door frames.

  • You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do.

  • Going to school gets harder with age and more responsibility, but you appreciate it more.

  • There is a much greater sense of accomplishment when you pay for things with cash, especially if that means waiting a long time to get them.

  • Sometimes dreams coming true looks a lot more like hard work, sweat, and tears. Also, you rarely feel the way you expect to when things happen, for the good or the bad, but it’s so much better to take chances than to sit back and always wonder what could have been.

  • You don’t have to be a slave to debt. Whether you are just starting out or starting over, you can have freedom. Again, that means working hard and sacrificing.

  • Judging between right and wrong is far different from being judgmental. The first seeks to be right in the eyes of a Holy God. The latter places oneself in the throne of God, and pride certainly leads to a fall. And oh, how far I’ve fallen.

  • Potty-training is rough.

  • Your children will become just like you. Be someone you’d want them to become.

  • If you have a will as strong as an ox, you’d better gear up to raise a strong-willed child. No joke.

  • I married an incredibly patient and loving man.

  • Time alone is good for personal reflection and growth, but should not be a constant in your life.

  • If you seek opportunities, you will find them, especially opportunities to serve others. There is need all around you.

  • Cliches exist for a reason. It really is more blessed to give than to receive.

  • You can allow people to make you feel bad for just about anything, but don’t. Once upon a time, I let someone make me feel like less of a mother because I only have one child instead of many. How silly.

  • You can be miserable doing something you love, and you can be happy doing something you don’t. A lot depends on your attitude and the people around you.

  • Painting murals makes me very happy.

  • You cannot do everything, so ask the LORD to guide you in how you spend your time. And on that note, you can’t go wrong spending time with Him.

  • Prayer is the most powerful tool a person can use. Miracles happen when you hand control over to the LORD. He can heal hearts and repair relationships. He can and will do far more than you could ever ask or imagine.

  • I firmly believe the entire Bible, but sometimes God uses life to highlight verses in our hearts. If I could use a verse to describe this year, I think Ephesians 3:14-21 would be fitting…

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Advertisements

Un Frozen

I’ve been spending a lot of time “crock-potting” these days. I’m pretty sure my sister-in-law, Leah, coined that phrase. It essentially means that I process things over an extended period of time. The slow-cooking version of the mind and heart. Some people like to hash things out right away, but it takes me time…

I have spent a lot of my life thinking, dreaming, and reading, but rarely to never doing. I’ve always wanted to be someone who helps other people. I even got a degree in a “helping profession”, but as I reflect on my twenties, I am ashamed at how little helping I actually did.

A few months ago I started praying about this. Prayer is a dangerous thing, you know. Prayers get answered, and out of your comfort zone you go. I prayed that God would give me opportunities to serve Him by serving others. I know there are needs all around, but in the busyness of life, I often feel like I don’t get the chance to make a difference.

As I said, prayers get answered. I was given quite a few opportunities to minister to others this fall, and I feel like the tiny bit of change I’m making in the world is making a major change in me.

I’m not going to claim to be a completely selfless person, but I will say that the reason I haven’t been helping people over the last decade isn’t about selfishness. It’s about fear. I have had gobs of dreams and ideas about how I would offer my living sacrifice to God, but I ultimately always turn away in fear.

What if what I do doesn’t make a difference? What if I get sick? What if I don’t have time for my family or the activities that I enjoy? What if I don’t have the resources? What if I fail?

Fear is not of God. Fear focuses on self and self’s limitations.

I spent many years frozen in fear, but as I answer “yes” to the small opportunities I’m given, God is showing me that He can make something out of my nothing. I need only show up. If I keep my eyes on Jesus, and not on myself in all my shortcomings, He will make the difference. And I’m the one who receives the blessing. This “crock-potting” heart is slowly, but surely, warming up to His kingdom work.