Here I am, basically re-kicking-off my blog due to the interference of life last year. I called a penalty, gained half the distance to the goal and am back at it again. Last year had it's ups and downs, but over all, I think it was a good building year for me. I know that I was definitely convicted of certain "gods" that I allow in my life, and while I like to blame my addictive personality (I really do come by it honestly... it's genetic, I swear), I know that I need to own up to my deficiencies and allow God to work on me. There will probably be a blog on that aspect of my life later, so for now I'll just say 184 books in 365 days is NOT a healthy habit.
We had a really great sermon on New Years Eve at my church that really challenged me, and I'll pass on the gist of it really quick.
(You were supposed to have read that in the iconic James Earl Jones voice of Mufasa from the Lion King, by the way.) As the years fly by at ever increasing speeds, we need to take the time to be still and remember what God is doing. We are to remember the Wildernesses, the Works, and the Words.
The wildernesses (or struggles) that I've experienced over the last year has mostly been in relationships. There are a couple of people in my life that I honestly have a hard time loving. As a Christian, God has called me to love everyone, but it's much easier read than done. The cool thing that I discovered is that we don't have to be pros at everything right away, not only that, but I found a verse that totally changed the way that I approach my struggles. Philippians 2:13 says that God is working in us, giving us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. I've recently started praying that God will give me the desire to love those I struggle with, and I know that He is faithful.
The works of God that I've seen in my life is mostly blessings that have been poured out over the last year for our family. Firstly, God opened a door for my hubby two years ago to a new job that allowed us to purchase a house last year and really has just been more provision than we could have dreamed of. The other major work has been the developmental progress of our youngest daughter, Adelyn. She was diagnosed with an Unspecified Neurodevelopmental Disorder in August (previously it had been Global Developmental Delays) which is just as vague as it sounds. As hard as it has been over the last four years since we first noticed her delays, she continues to confuse doctors and educators everywhere with steady (albeit slow) gains, and audio recall that still freaks me out - especially when paired with her echolalia (a nearly compulsive parroting of speech). This last year, I have seen such wonderful progress in her comprehension and coordination as well as a very distinct and strong personality. She'll be five years old on the 21st of this month, and I feel like this is the year that God is going to do something really amazing. It's important to remember that all good things come from Him - they are not something we've earned or are entitled to. "'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 4:6
Finally, the words that God has spoken into my life in 2017. The two verses I've listed above have really been strong themes, but the verse that got me through the year was Psalm 46:1.
"God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble"
Some of you may know that I have a pretty dark past. If you want to hear my testimony, please feel free to comment or e-mail me and I'd love to share it with you. I still struggle a lot with my go-to sins. From what I've gleaned from conversations with other people, I think we all have one or two temptations that are the most natural thing in the world to fall back in to. Unfortunately, my times of trouble tend to be self-inflicted, but it's been amazing to me how God can give us power over our temptations if we let him. Even though I slipped up a couple times, having this verse committed to memory and on post-it notes all over my house kept me from stumbling every time something triggered me.
I hope you take a little time to look back and see God's faithfulness through your wildernesses, the works he's done in your life, and the words that he's written on your heart. I'd love to hear about it if you do.
I wish all of you a wonderful 2018!