You know what would have been nice? December 31, 2012. Me and God having a nice little chat over hot chocolate in which He tells me His plans for the upcoming year. I visualize Him outlining some proposed highlights for the year, mixed in with some moments of pain and joy, and then asking my opinion of it all. As we would begin to see the bottom of our paper cups, we’d come to a comfortable compromise on the occurrences of my life for the year ahead.
Much to my dismay, this conversation never took place, and instead, I was launched into 2013 like a shot from a cannon, and for lack of a better reference, I came in like a wrecking ball.
My journey through this year has been comparable to that of a voyage at sea. The waters have tumultuous and difficult to navigate. The winds have been fierce and loud. Some days I’ve felt nauseous, longing for stable ground, and other days it feels like I’ve rammed straight into a rock.
Exhaustion is the word at the forefront of my mind as I reflect on this year. It has been a great struggle balancing a full time job with the stressors of personal life, all while attempting to maintain some semblance of sanity through relationship with God and friends. It has proven to be the ultimate balancing act, and it’s only a matter of time before priorities begin to tumble. Yet I realize that I know now only a fraction of the difficulty and exhaustion that awaits me in adulthood, so that’s… comforting.
Aside from life’s hardships and being frequently bushed, this year has been packed full of happy little moments as well. I paid off my car, which was a goal of mine going into this year. I frequented several coffee shops where I visited my sister at work and had scads of hard talks and heart talks with a variety of people that I love. I logged a lot of miles in my little Honda civic, and about 4 miles on foot at the track, because I decided for a day that I wanted to be a runner. I spent a lot of time at the Metzinger’s house getting filled with delicious food and Godly wisdom, and even more time at the Leitterman’s home babysitting for 3 of my absolute favorite little girls in this world. I’ve regretfully spent far too much time perusing through Anthropologie and far too little time on my knees. I cried a lot, but I laughed a lot more, and hugged more individuals than I was comfortable with.
It’s been a pivotal year not only in my growth in my relationship with the Lord, but also in my understanding of His heart and character. Though it’s easily been the most arduous year of my life, I’m learning to glean what I can from the difficult times, and through them I’m learning a gratefulness that I haven’t had before.
Looking back on all the lessons I’ve learned this year, I’m grateful for the rough waters. Because of them I’ve learned the extent of my great weakness and of my utmost dependence upon Him for daily sustainment. I’m grateful for the sad times. Through them, He has loved me and fed me and filled me through so many people that care for me deeply. I’m grateful for the hard times – the grit producing ones – that have taught me to stake myself to truth and hold tightly to the hope of the cross. I’m grateful for the violent winds through which He teaches me to listen only for His voice, and the nauseating moments in which He is constantly reminding me that in my weakness, He is strong. I’m grateful for the moments when I feel like I’ve hit a rock, because in them I’m learning that once you collide with The Rock, earthly collisions quickly lose their impact. Finally, I’m grateful for exhaustion. In it I’ve learned that true peace and rest are found in Him, and it’s in a strength not of my own that I am able to wake up and live each day.
As I stand on the threshold of 2014, I’m eager. I am ready and willing to risk the ocean in search of His will for my life. Though the controlling part of me wishes that God and I could deliberate over the approaching year, the trusting part of me looks to what’s ahead with anticipation of the unpredictable. If this year is anything like the last one, I expect it will be full of growth, laughter and change. Year to year, the Lord continues to be faithful to His promise not to change, yet in His infinite grace, He’s changing me.
So here’s to 2014! May it be full of love, life, and lessons – coated with blessing and covered in grace.