What I learned in 2014
Today I’m joining in a blog link up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. Each month we’re encouraged to share what we’ve learned the past 30 days, but since it’s the end of the year, then I’ve taken some time to look back at what I’ve learned in 2014. (Thanks Emily!)
2014 is over and done. Looking back, it’s hard to define in one sentence all that happened and all I learned. The ironic thing is that my 2014 Word was define. My year-goal was to define my life mission, my dreams, my feelings, and my faith. Did I?
Maybe a little bit of it, but even more….
1) I learned defining yourself is a constant, slow and lifelong process. There’s a guarantee that personal definitions will be reworded, revamped, or completely changed as years, months or even days move onward. With my word in the back of my mind, I’ve seen how some of my definitions formed through this past year. I did write a life statement. I did some dreaming but it’s nothing I even had the smallest thought of dreaming in January 2014. Dreaming is a process and God can put dreams in our hearts but often times some of the details are not what we expect or even want – they’re what He orchestrates through us.
Even though I still search for my own words to define my faith, I know The Word nails it. I need the daily reminder that the Author perfectly and beautifully breathed each word together to describe His power and love. The love so deep and wide it’s shown on every page. The perfect definition of love was nailed. On the cross. And everything from the beginning to amen.
Here’s what else I’ve learned this year.
2) I learned I became so busy, I wasn’t as observant of what I was being taught. I know a lot of it is responsibilities to do and kids and family activities to be at, but wasn’t just those that seemed to keep my mind in a fog this past spring. There’s some other *things* that have set up camp in my soul and is hogging the space of normalcy and the ability to remember even simple things. Learning about life isn’t always a simple matter though and that takes time to understand and that’s more of what I’m being taught these days.
3) So, I learned I needed a break. Don’t we all? I needed to regroup, rest or how about take a chill pill. This past winter and spring made my life full of demands, responsibilities I wanted and ones I ended up not wanting. There was even the birth of a dream that I wanted to pursue but didn’t have the time and more importantly, didn’t have the direction yet. So, I needed to slow down and I did. This past summer I didn’t post. I spend many a day at the pool with the kids, took early morning walks with my husband and read books. I learned that’s healthy.
4) I learned of some good books to read – and read them. My favorite and one that spoke to me the most was A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. It’s truly a masterpiece of art that spoke to me in each penman stroke. I also read Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs, Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray, Speak by Nish Weiseth, Restless:Because You Were Made for More by Jennie Allen, along with wisdom from Frederick Buechner. Each of those gave me rest, sweet dreams and wisdom.
5) I learned how to use WordPress. Well, the basics anyway. I still have a lot I can learn but I know enough to help manage a blog for the women at our church home and for this new one of mine I launched this past September. Maybe in 2015 I’ll add a sidebar.
6) I learned what it’s like to welcome your sister’s family home from China as they hold their new son. Feelings of anticipation, joy, unknown, excitement, overwhelm, even though it wasn’t what my husband and I were doing, I could still get twinge of those emotions because it was my sister. She and her husband are an amazing example of living life with hope and obedience to God’s calling to adopt their son from China. Read her story here.
7) I learned that things you think could only happen in your dreams, can really happen. Like having lunch at your friend’s house with your favorite author.
8) I learned some wonderful writing techniques at a day in a barn. The beautiful, fall afternoon and evening was also a wonderful day to hear other writers’ stories and dreams. It was wonderfully, beautiful day.
9) I learned what it feels like to be a mom whose son started high school and daughter left elementary school. It makes me feel like time goes by too fast. It makes me feel nervous because, well, it’s middle school and high school where kids are still so young but think they know it all. It makes me have to begin to let go of some strings to help them learn how to fly.
10) I learned having a monthly dinner calendar plan seems to work for our family. With our son making the high school JV soccer team, our daughter’s Show Choir rehearsals, and small group meeting each week at our house, we needed easy-to-make meals. My husband thought having our dinner meals planned at the beginning of the month will ease some of the busyness. We printed a calendar, filled in the night’s activities and then decided on meals. I have to say, “I love crock pots.” We also make Tuesdays “Taco Tuesdays” and made easy Mexican food meals. It really did help us and I think we’ll continue it in 2015.
11) I learned that the Spanish language is different in Central America and Spain. (Obviously I didn’t take Spanish in school; I chose French in high school – “Parlez-vous francais?”) It’s been a learning experience in many ways for our daughter who has been in the Spanish Immersion program since Kindergarten. For six years, her teachers were from Central America. This year, for the first time, her teacher is from Madrid, or Spain. They are different in many ways and it’s taken some adjustment for sure.
12) I learned I enjoy getting to form relationships with young women. Probably because when I was in my late 20s and early 30s I wished I had a Christ-following mentor. I want to be a listener and encourager to women whom are wanting to live for God’s glory in their every-day, messy, yet blessed lives. I want to spur them on to not give up when the going gets tough. I want to point them to Truth which is what is needed the most. I want to encourage them to listen for their calling, try it, be obedient to it, use their God-given gifts, and not be afraid to. Now more than ever, we need an army of women behind God, who are ready to fight for revival, freedom, restoration and redemption – all for the glory of God.
14) I learned that growing in leadership is still uncomfortable yet if I didn’t try, I think I’d regret it.
15) I learned there are women all over this planet who have become passionate to live out their purpose in the name of Jesus. The purpose to reach out, share, give, help and love by using the gifts God has given them. From it birthed IF:Gathering. This team of women from all walks of life but with the same love for Jesus gathered and felt the Spirit lead them to put on this gathering in complete trust to God. They didn’t know exactly what would come from it but having trust that God will use it to help spread His love and good news. It was an incredible experience even though I was there through a webcast.
16) I learned what it feels like to have a flame ignited in your soul. A holy passion. And what is that? When did I feel it? At IF:Gathering 2014. What is that feeling? For me this year it’s bringing women in Alamance County, NC together to spur each other on to discover and use the gifts and passions they have to bring glory to God. And how? Only by the grace of God. Read here.
17) There’s many other little things I’ve learned throughout this past year that are found here. There’s many others I didn’t write down. And there’s many things I’m so grateful for – most importantly the times with family and friends and how they love, encourage and support me. I feel richly blessed.
So, what’s to come in 2015? I’ll have to wait and see. (Haha…I didn’t think of purposely using that phrase since I did a series with that title.) But my intention is to look around and be observant of the ways God is teaching me as I look up and keep my eyes focused on Him.
Joy to the world, because our Lord has come! And happy new year to you!