Archive for December, 2011


Once again, life has gotten in the way of writing about life. My mom asked me for pictures of my kids the other day. She said, “You know, since we all use digital cameras, I don’t get pictures from y’all anymore.” I told her that I actually have fewer pictures this year that I’ve taken myself. When I’m in the moment, I forget to capture it for posterity. I try to be “all there” with whatever I’m doing, and the result is much fewer pictures! It’s been the same with writing. When I’m fully involved in what I’m doing, then I write a post in my head, but once the moment is over, the post has lost the luster and it ends up in my mental draft folder, where all good stories go to die.

But today, right now, I need to speak my mind on 2011.

It will go down as one of my least favorite years, ever.

It has been pockmarked with grief, of which I had experienced very little of in my 34 years. Losing my Papaw in April made the reality of losing my Mamaw more acute and for months, and even still now, I find myself feeling covered in a sadness that I cannot explain. My tears fall more frequently, and for no reason. There were many, many days that I found it hard to breathe. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I used to be skeptical of girls in junior high who would hear something sad and try to get attention by saying, “Y’all! I just can’t breathe right now!” and I was afraid I was being trivial. The truth is that grief is a weird process. It affects everyone differently. It can bring about physical problems. It hurts. It takes a long time to deal with.

I had no idea about any of that.

This year has also been littered with disappointment. We have been waiting for a change in our circumstances for years. We’ve prayed for God to change our lives, for God to change us, for God to change our perspective, for God to change whatever He wants to change…and things are still the same. Because I’m a pleaser, and I try so hard to always do the right thing, I keep feeling like there is some sort of puzzle piece I’m not finding. I feel like there’s something I’m missing with God, that maybe He’s waiting on me to do something or say something that will cause Him to say, “You got it! Now I’ll answer your prayers!”

That is so far from how the sovereignty of God plays out in our lives. Following Jesus is not a game show. I heard a sermon a few months ago that talked about this time of waiting. The preacher spoke about a time when God is not speaking or seems to not be working. He said the greatest time of testing was also the greatest time of trusting. It’s ironic, one of my strongest spiritual gifts is Faith, yet I’ve had the biggest crisis of belief during this time than I’ve ever had. I’ve had moments of asking my heavenly Father if He cares about us at all. I’ve wondered if He was too busy bringing about good things to other people that He has overlooked us. I’ve found myself overcommitting, hoping that my actions will please Him enough to get His attention and help us out.

What I was NOT doing was trusting.

This year has also been full of my own personal growth, which we all know is painful. I struggle terribly with comparing myself to others, and I’m learning that doing that will kill me on the inside if it doesn’t stop. I struggle with confidence in my abilities. I have a fear of working hard on something that matters to me, and finding out that it wasn’t good enough. As a result of this fear, I don’t try. I don’t work hard on things that I could excel at if I put forth the effort. I paralyze myself with untrue thoughts that people with my gifts are a dime a dozen and anyone else could do what I do. It’s a debilitating process, and my creativity is slowly getting buried under a mountain of self-doubt, comparison and insecurity. I settle for mediocre, when I know God has created me for extraordinary. I read the words of others, hear the songs of others, see the influence of others, and assume there is no room for me. I tell myself that God has used all the people He can use right now, and I just need to keep doing my everyday life.

But God’s word tells me that His plan for me is for a future. A hope. An abundant life. A life beyond what I could ever imagine.

If I believe that, I have to believe there is room for me there.

So it’s been a rough year. I’m ready for bedtime on Saturday night. I actually think I might feel relieved to see the calendar change.

I have big hopes for 2012. I have goals. I have things on my calendar that I’ve looked forward to for years. I also have prayers that need to be answered. I have talents that need to be honed. I have words that need to be said. I have lessons that need to be learned. I have pounds that need to be lost. (It IS New Year’s, after all.)

Before I hit “publish” on this personal confession of my weaknesses, let me say that there are things from this year that do stand out as some of the brightest moments, not only of 2011, but of my whole life.

Like when my friend in England got on her knees and prayed the most heartfelt prayer asking Jesus to take control of her life. I was with her and held her hands. I’ll never forget it.

Also, while in England, Michael and I ate dinner with some of the best families I know. We ate a Jamaican meal at the home of Tony and Audrey and I will never forget the love and laughter at the table. All because of Jesus. We ate at with Andrew and Wendie, and their boys and I saw a family who is striving to live like Jesus in a community that is not. They are beautiful people and I am encouraged even today by their faith. Every night, at my friends Bethan and David’s house, we would sit at the kitchen table and eat a late snack and share our thoughts about life with one another. My friend Michelle, who made the trip with me the year before, would sit there in her sweatshirt and pajama pants, looking all of 16 years old and make us laugh. Those pictures in my mind, as well as so many others from that week, are more precious to me than gold.

My parents took my family and my brother’s family to the mountains for the Fourth of July weekend. We made a trip with two vehicles, six adults and six kids. It was monumental…and so much fun. We laughed at the kids the entire time, and they were wonderful.

My kids have grown. They are best of friends and truly love each other. They are bright, funny, creative, and have a keen sense of right and wrong. They are exactly what I prayed for, and I love being their mom.

My marriage has grown. Dealing with grief and disappointment has taken a toll. Thankfully, I’m married to one who doesn’t give up. His faith in God is unshakeable. He is such a gift to me.

2012, I’m ready for you. I’m ready to see what God is going to do this year. My expectations are high, and I’m trusting. Yes, I’m trusting and I know He’s working. And we will go where He says go, and do what He tells us to do.


December 30, 2011 at 7:14 pm 1 comment

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