At the beginning of 2017, I was convicted to challenge myself to live life engaged. I can be an avoider, and that typically comes out when things get difficult, confusing, or uncomfortable. I realized how much I was missing out on by avoiding tension instead of embracing it, so I committed to myself to be engaged in the present, with whatever is happening, and experience it fully and head on. With that being said, 2017 has been a year with a great amount of growth. As I look back, there’s so much to be grateful for! Here a few highlights:
For the first 3.5 years of our marriage, James and I lived by ourselves in an apartment, which was great and exactly what we needed at that time in our marriage, This July, we moved into a rental house…right next door to some of our best friends…and to add to that, we also got two roommates! For an introvert like myself who values alone time, this sounds like a recipe for disaster, and I feared it would be, but it has turned out to be a huge blessing. We literally ALWAYS have people in our house (sometimes I don’t even know them) and our house has become a hub for hospitality and ministry, and it is so fulfilling. I love when my roommates have girls over for discipleship, or when James has 5 guys working out with him in our garage gym, or when we get to have neighbors over for dinner. It is a revolving, open door, completely void of isolation, and I love it.
Fighting the Good Fight
About a year ago, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. In line with my commitment to myself to live engaged, I promised to be there, good or bad, for as much of it as possible. This year has been full of ups and downs; way too many visits to MD Anderson in Houston, the complexities of chemo treatments, the long, drawn out uncertainty that comes with a terminal illness. Through it all, God has taught me to live daily, trusting Him, not to worry about the future, and to be thankful for the day He has given us. Most of all, it has been so encouraging to see my Dad have hope in God. He knows Him and trusts Him, and there is nothing that can shake that. Also, he has only become more involved in ministry; serving as an elder at their church, passing out meals to the poor, leading the FCA ministry for their entire region, meeting with coaches for Bible study, and so much more. He lives daily in an attitude of victory, along with surrender, and it is so hopeful to watch.
Oh yeah, a baby!
On September 7th, those pink lines appeared and told us we were going to have a baby! I compare pregnancy to engagement; it is a season of waiting and preparing for a big event in your life, but having zero clue of what it will actually be like. I have also been fortunate to have the easiest pregnancy of all time, so I forget I’m even growing a human inside of me a lot of the time. I love this season though – the anticipation of what is to come, but also savoring what is right now.
Church and Ministry Changes
In October of this year, James was voted in to serve as an elder for our church, which is a huge honor and responsibility. With that has come the weightiness of overseeing the flock of God, which is no small calling. I have loved watching him thrive in this – learning to trust God more, bearing the burdens of a church, and leading in a way that is honorable. To add to that, he is also a full time teacher and a full time seminary student. I always knew I married an extraordinary guy, but I have only become more convinced of that the past year. He stewards his life well.
Also, we successfully passed off the community group we shepherded for 3 years off to some of our best friends to lead so James could focus more on eldership. It felt a little bit like giving up your favorite child for adoption, but it has been so fun to watch them own the group and lead in their giftings, which are completely different than ours.
All the People
I often say that the best parts of life are people, and I mean than sincerely. We have some good people around us – amazing friends, family, and co-workers. I’m sure there are fantastic people everywhere, but I am a little biased to think that we somehow snagged the best ones. I could live in a shack with no income, but as long as I have good people around me, I’ll be happy. I am a relationally driven person, and I thrive with good friendships, which I like to believe I have the best.
Here’s to 2018!
Until next time,