It is hard to believe that it is already 2013. It has been a long, long, long time since I have blogged. Suffice it to say 2012 was not always easy for me. To be honest, I stepped away from blogging because I needed to process what God was saying and showing me and I simply did not have the words to put down on paper or online as most of the processing was between myself and God. I would consider myself a person who has a hard time opening up with my innermost thoughts.
Another thing that kept me from blogging was job searching, (a seriously fulltime job!)finding a job and starting work in ministry, which kept me busy! to wrap up the events of 2012 for those of who read my little blog I am going to narrow it down to 12 words/lessons of 2012 that were meaningful and impactful. I have noticed many other bloggers do this after I had already started processing what I wanted to say. I am in no way trying to "copy" or jump on some unspoken bandwagon! In no specific order...
1. Blessed. One of my favorite and most meaningful songs reflects my heart well for 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM
I have SO many reasons that I feel blessed of which I will be reflecting on more depth but the greatest reason I am blessed is because I have a heavenly Father who is Faithful, Loving, Forgiving, He is the Jehovah Jirah-the One who Provides, He is the One Who took my place(and your place) on the cross so that I may live eternally in heaven and not hell, a place that I deserve so much more than heaven because of my sins. you can know Him also. Ask me. I would be happy to introduce you to Him, He is pretty Great!
2. Humbled. In early 2012 I was largely under/un-employed which greatly challenged me financially, emotionally and spiritually. Through this time I had to learn to depend wholly on God to provide. More than once I was reduced to tears in utter humility as I saw Him provide in His timing and in His way. Honestly, I am tears as I recall this time in my life. At one time I thought that my jobless position may be moving me to going into ministry fulltime with a organization out of state. I pursued this for a time but God moved me in a different direction. In His timing He provided a job that I have loved from the very moment I started. I am (again) a nanny. This job is beyond what I could imagine in greatness. I am so thankful for this time to give(and get) cuddles, kisses and hugs! My days include the aforementioned along with diapers, bottles, playdates, library visits, playtime and the opportunity to share Jesus with a little girl who I pray will be a Daughter of the King someday!
3. Transition. I know myself enough to realize that I am a person who does best with a few close friends and one-on-one times rather than large groups and many aquaintances to bare my soul to. Two of my close friends have lived in Minnesota and Pennslyvania, respectively. Two of my other close friends lived here in Wausau, that is until this fall. Both moved, one to Minnesota and the other to China(yes, China!) These friends were the friends I found I could talk to and know I wouldn't be judged. I could depend on them, enjoyed the time we would spend together and knew I could tell them anything. Well, I can still talk to them, thanks to technology but there is distance and time differences. To say the least, I found myself lacking close and dear friend time. Yes, I have other friends that I have spent time with but I had not known that deep friendship that I had with others. I missed the chat and tea times, going to events together and so much more.
I realized that the void I was experiencing was an opportunity to know my Best Friend (God) even more because I could and needed to talk to Him even more and that I could and should seek out friendships with other women. I knew I needed to be more out-going and intentional in reaching out to others. God provided in His own timing, as always. A renewed friendship with a friend and a new friendships with 2 new ladies in town has given me someone to hang out with and enjoy local events with.
Other transitions include another move to a new apartment. I now live in town, closer to work, the gym, church and downtown. I have enjoyed the closeness of my location and what it offers. I also switched to a different church, not for major issues or reasons, rather I felt that this church was a better fit for me.
4. Creativity. This past year I have been enjoying my creative side by attepmting to learn to sew and make as many gifts and home decor myself as much as possible. I have been using what I already have/own to upcycle and recreate new things. This past Christmas I was able to make 985 of the gifts with my own hands and resources. I enjoy doing this and plan to continue doing so. This winter I hope to become more proficient in sewing. Pinterest and Hobby Lobby have become my friends in this endeavor:)
5. Discipline. This word can evoke groans of dread and guilt to many, myself included. I have been working on not having a legalistic view of many things that I do each day but rather finding enjoyment and challenge in the things I do. I committed to a healthy 2012 and plan on continuing to do in 2013. I have also aimed to be better on time management and being more organized. To read and be in scripture daily and be more intentional on spending time in the bible study materials I am part of.
6. Joy. I have found joy in the little and big things this year. I think is largely in part to God's work in my life. Having lead me through the challanges of earlier this year I find joy in the early morning sunrises, the smell of rain, time with my nieces and baby giggles. I plan on documenting more of the joys that see each day, the things I am thankful for in future blogs.
7. Peace. With God and Joy actively in my life I have peace. If you are looking for peace, get to know the One Who offers Peace. My life is not perfect, I have many moments of fear or insecurity over many things. I have experienced stress and discouragement. I have also tried to find peace on my own volition, which doesn't work, friends. True peace is not temporary. True peace is sourced from the hope of and surity of salvation for those who have accepted it.
8. Ministry. Along with a wonderful job, God in His great timing provided the opportunity for me to serve Him in a way that I had sought for many years. As you will see in previous posts I have wanted to be in missions in a global way. Through His Ways and a friend who knew my passion for missions, I am now planning and organizing mission trips for a organization that ministers through music, orphan and widow care and sharing the Gospel. Don Shire Ministries takes several teams to many different countries throughout the year and I work from the start of the trip(applications, flights, lodging etc.) to the end of the trip in whatever way is needed. At some point, there may be a chance for me to visit the main countries that DSM works with Honduras, Haiti and India. Of course, I will have some challenges to meet being gluten free but I am so thankful that the leader of the trips and organization is really familiar with Celiac so travel may be easier with his knowledge on it.
I have also had the opportunity to be part of a minsitry reaching out to young girls, grades 7-9, encouraging them to be the women God desires them to be. The ministry is based off of Titus 2. This is a parachurch, ground roots endeavor started by a friend. It has been incredible to see God work in this ministry!
9. Sharing from life. I struggled with a word/phrase to express this. Three, nearly four years ago, when I was diagnosed with Celiac and had to drastically change my diet and also realized the ramifications of my allergies and its impact on my health I was over whelmed, scared, stressed and overwhelmed. I was on a meal-to-meal survival mode. This lasted for quite some time. I relied on a few people I knew, blogs and websites I found and my Chiropractors and Nutritionist to get through the first few years. This year brought the opportunity to walk along side a few people who were in my same position as I was in not that long ago. I have realized that something that I thought was a curse and a black cloud in my life has been used to encourage others. I have been called on by a few near and far who are struggling with food allergies/celiac who need suggestions to survive. I look at this as an opportunity to use what is ugly in my life to be a blessing in anothers.
I am starting to be more confident in being gluten free. trying new and different recipes and food options. I have been discovering more of God's creation in food products and have been enjoying it!
10. Part Of But Not Defining. Along with #9 I have been striving to not let being celiac and the issues it brings to define me. It is part of who I am but I don't want it to control me. Friends, this is not easy to do. Food is central in all societies, so when one cannot take part of this at parties, events or even communion in church, I and others feel a seperation or disconnect from society. I strive to focus on fellowship, conversation and creating new dishes that I can introduce to others. I have failed at having a right heart attitude in this at times and by God's help I have accomplished this at times. This will be an ongoing thing for me.
11. Family. Oh, family, I love them! This year it has been a joy to spend time with them and get to know them more. My nieces are growing into wonderful girls who I pray know Jesus someday soon! They are all girly girls who love to dress up, twirl in tu-tus and play with their babies, give and get hugs and kisses and I will soon have a nephew to love on also! I love being Auntie Rachael!
My sister, Ashley, recently married so our family has grown with adults also. This Christmas, all of the adults spent some great time sledding, playing Wii and target-shooting,fun! My youngest sisters are growing up to be wonderful and lovely young ladies. They are now 12 & 14 which makes me feel old but also blessed to see them develop interests and excel in them(and benefit from their creations);)
12. Defining who I am. The year of 2012 has been a challenge, as I have noted. I have seen God work around, in and through me. I have been learning who I am and who I find my identity in. It's not what I do or not do, my singleness, my looks, size of jeans, time spent at the gym, what I say or keep to myself, or the depth of my organization or cleaning. It is my identity in Christ. Redeemed, saved, loved, meant to love, serve, encourage others, minister, worship and share christ with others. This living out of my true identity has been a challenge for me in 2012, one that I have experienced great growth in and I praise God in working in me in this and I have no doubt He will continue to challenge me in this! :)
Well, thanks for sticking with me in this recap of 2012, I know it was a long one!I encourage you to take some time to reflect on this last year and ask God what it may be that you can work on/change with his help in the new year. I have no doubt that it will be a blessing in your walk with Him!
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His merceis never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.