I am one of the ones that is a little glad 2014 is FINALLY over. Not that I didn't like the entire year. I loved so many parts easily...others I struggled to find something to like. Really the only thing that I can say about 2014 is that STRUGGLE with a lot of God's mercy, as I walked a valley almost the whole year. It definitely was a year that I learned someone was gonna have control of my destiny...not me however.
I found that I can choose to ask God to guide my steps, or I can sit back in my humanness & believe I'm guiding them. Yes, I said "believe." I might think I'm making the choices, in a way I am, I'm choosing to live for me & my flesh...but the one guiding my steps when I choose to live for me, is really satan. Because when I live for me, it's the farthest I can get from Jesus. He was very blunt about how to live like Him....
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9:23 NIV
In 2014 I learned so much more about what this really means to deny myself. It was a painful but necessary lesson I really began learning.
The beginning of 2014 was bittersweet for me. Our oldest son, Sr, returned home from about 2000 miles away, after about 4 years. I had taken Jr to visit one summer for 6 weeks, but it had been about a year & a half since then. He didnt want to come back here, he didnt want to leave his son...this tore him apart horribly. But financially it was a must. I was glad he was home, after all he's my oldest & I dearly love him...although I did understand his heartache. But God brought him home & then blessed him with an awesome job. Which we had no idea would be part of a much bigger plan to grow not only my trust, but my entire family's.
Within a couple weeks my Sweet Hubby was laid off of his job. We didnt stress it too much because he's a plumber with a local union & they have usually gotten him either right away, or within a few weeks. God had other plans...His plans were not the same as mine, not even close. While this was going on little girl had found out she was pregnant... unexpectedly. Somehow she was blinded by the lies of satan. She just threw out everything she believed about abortion & had decided this was what she was gonna do. But God had whispered to me that this baby would arrive, but not for my Sweet Little girl, but for another beautiful mama He created the baby for. I talked to her about this message I kept getting over & over. The more God told me to "be still" it seemed the more frantic I got. Especially after Little girl told me she had an appt. for the abortion...I just sobbed. I looked up & begged Him to stop this!!! He did a day or two before her appointment. But she had decided to raise the baby with her new boyfriend. I finally heeded my Daddy's whispers to "be still" & accepted the baby would make it into the world, alive.
In the mean time the company Sr was working for hired Sweet Hubby it was a drastic cut in pay, but it was more than the unemployment. He was on with a temporary agency hoping to get hired on permanent with the company, like Sr was. For a few months things went along pretty smoothly, financially. Little girl moved in & out several times. Finally she had sweet Little Feather. This was a HIGHLIGHT of 2014 for me. I got to watch her come into the world, it was quick & beautiful.
Then they laid off Sweet Hubby?? Then the whispers started at the workplace about the company going bankrupt...again I panicked!! I lost my focus so easily it seems. I had finally started realizing that the less I focused on my problems & focused on God & the lights He was lighting in my path, I had His peace. I was content with whatever was happening. But it seems that I was easily lured from that peace.
A few days after Little Feather was born, I was flying off to a women's retreat. My second with this amazing group of women...well most of them I did meet some more amazing women. Which I havent shared my entire experience yet so I will just leave it at this...God healed me in an area of great pain & loss. One I had no idea I had??? But He knew it was hidden deep in my heart & He knew it had to go. The joy He filled it with is UNDENIABLE. It took away some deeply buried regrets I'd had for over a decade.
In 2014 God led me away from a church family that I still love. He moved us quick & swift. We tried another church, several times, but I knew that it was not for us. I didnt have His peace...I understand that some people dont believe that we have to get fed by the congregation we attend. That is ok. But I believe He feeds us & He moves us when His plan is to move us. He tells us to make disciples & when He needs us somewhere else, He takes us there. Until I get where He wants me, I am not at peace. Not in His peace.
For a while I was content just waiting patiently for Him to take me to a congregation He had planned. I missed the worship & hearing His direction. Finally He placed me in a congregation. I love the worship, I can hear His direction in the words He speaks through this Pastor. I've gotten confirmation from my Daddy many times already. After a few weeks of attending every week, I said to Sweet Hubby, "has anyone spoken to you? or asked you about being new?" He said no. I instantly started questioning why?? This was a moment that was a turning moment for my heart. Of course satan started whispering doubts in my head...but instantly I chose to go to my Daddy for the REAL answer. I clearly heard Him say, "I didnt place you here for fellowship for now. You asked for a place to hear worship music & my direction. Aren't you content?" Again instantly I had His peace. I WAS content. It feels good to go & enjoy fellowship with my Daddy.
So the end of 2014 brought a couple of different changes in our house. Changes that I dont think any of us really expected. First Little Girl heard the whispers of Daddy's real plan for Little Feather. She was in a new place with His plan, one I didnt know would come to pass...doubt is such a waste of time. She accepted His request to give Little Feather to the mama & family He created this beautiful little girl for. I have watched this open up & I shared a blog about how amazing it is. It's still blooming & it's a gift to see the joy & love of God in every single aspect of this journey. Little girl is thriving & so is Little Feather with her new family. My sweet princess is doing very well with the whole plan now...which is wonderful. I saw her hurt & inability to understand turn into acceptance.
Then was the biggest question He has EVER asked me. Sweet Hubby had a special dinner for the local union that we had to go to. While we were gone, Sr & Little girl were at a thrash metal concert. The messages started in the middle of the speakers at our dinner. Messages that were about Sr not being able to breathe. I stayed fairly calm through the dinner & we left immediately after the event. Heading home I got the text that they were stopping by the ER on the way home. So I told them to let me know what was happening. Of course instantly I started praying....really begging my Daddy God, "please let my boy be ok!!!" It was a pretty calm prayer, I had assumed it was probably his asthma...then another text, "MOM ARE YOU ALMOST HERE??? THEY ARE SENDING HIM TO THE HEART HOSPITAL!!! HURRY MOM HE'S NOT DOING VERY GOOD!!! HE'S HURTING SO BAD & THEY JUST GAVE HIM ASPIRIN!!!" This text didnt leave me with as calm of a prayer, this text caused instant distress in this mama who was only a mile or so away!!! Once again I lifted up a prayer, "please Daddy dont take my baby boy!! PLEASE DADDY DONT TAKE MY BABY BOY!!" In almost a hushed whisper I heard it, the question that would take me farther...farther from who the world says I am...but another step closer to who I really am, to the One Who I want to be like..."Even if I take your baby boy now, am I still enough?" My breath stopped, "yes, even if You take my baby boy, You are enough LORD, You are enough." I didnt even realize I had said it out loud until Sweet Hubby asked me "huh?" I said it again, with more conviction, "Yes LORD You are enough." While most of the Dr's didnt even worry about Sr's heart because he was only 29, I prayed. Me & Little Girl stayed by Sr's bedside 24/7 for days. In the same clothes. Finally a Dr said he wanted to do a very important test to make sure it wasnt his heart. Little Girl & I prayed so hard, together, out loud, everywhere. God showed those Dr's something that day, I saw it in the Dr's eyes when he came out & said "your son had a heart attack..." he was shocked, he said again, "he's 29 & he had a heart attack!?" I said oh no. He replied "also his main artery on the side that makes the heart pump, is like a branch that splits into 2 arteries, he had cholesterol almost blocking it shut & a blood clot had formed & almost made it to the split which would have caused a massive heart attack at 29!!" I shook my head tears pouring down my face, he went on, "the specialist Dr is in there with him placing a stent now"...Little Girl & I went out to our car where I had my breakdown....after the breakdown I lifted up a prayer of gratefulness....another prayer of gratefulness.
There were many prayers of gratefulness in 2014 for me...I cant possibly list them all off. I dont know if I remember them all honestly. But I do know that weeks we were praying for groceries, or a bill to be paid. I learned what it means to budget with very, very little. But time after time, my Daddy God comes through. Each time He does it changes my heart a little more. He trims away a little more of me & my selfish, worldly ways & fills me with more of His peace. As He does, I find that I'm more & more content with less & less of the "needs" which are really just "wants" in disguise.
Christmas was one of the times He showed me that my "needs" were simply wants. Wants to please people's flesh. Sweet Hubby took a job for a world wide delivery service that hires on seasonal help. We thought it must be from God because this would almost double our unemployment & would make it easier to buy the 3 gifts for each of the kids that we always do. WRONG...instantly I knew it. We had to give up our unemployment for this position. He started on December 2 & was to go through January 1. Well let me just say that in the few weeks he worked for this company, he made less than the unemployment, FAR less. I panicked, then handed it to God, then took it back over & over along with panicking & complaining a whole bunch. I watched my Sweet Hubby sinking...this opened my eyes. My doubt was causing him to stumble in his faith...I was being exactly what I didnt want be...a stumbling block. Worse yet, I was tripping the one I love. This opened up my eyes.
Christmas was beautiful, my best gift was most of the family enjoying Christmas Eve together, laughing & playing games & hugging & crying & it was BEAUTIFUL.
Now it's 2015...it's only 8 short days into it. Sweet Hubby is still laid off & we are waiting for unemployment to kick back in still. Sr is finally released to work & has been hunting. Little Girl moved in with her boyfriend...my princess hasnt come to see me yet since Christmas...but me, I'm here. I'm closer than I've ever been to my Daddy God. I'm still a human made of weak flesh & selfishness. So this year I've prayed for more...again more Him & less me. I say I'm ready & believe I am. I am ready for the changes He has for me this new year. He's already been hard at work. I was invited to join the Biggest Loser challenge & each day I take it one step at a time. I give Him the control & He guides me in His plan. So far I've actually done very well. I have almost stumbled a couple of times...but each of those times, He picked me back up. I am not looking at this change as a "diet" I am looking at it as just what it is giving me...HOPE. The kind of HOPE that only God can provide & live up to.
As I started to listen for the "word" He wanted me to cling to this new year...He shared the verses that I have dubbed "my life verses." Several years ago I saw the first verse in a plaque on a friends wall & it grabbed hard at my heart. So I went home & looked it up in context. As I read this verse, the next 2 grabbed me just as hard & after reading them realized they define the foundation of what my relationship with Him is. So this year He has told me that He wants me to return to those verses. He is gonna live them out with me each & every day...it filled my eyes with tears of joy, my heart with a new found readiness & as I read them again...my "word" for 2015...
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV
HOPE, there it was...He is my HOPE. He wants to be my HOPE. He wants me to have HOPE...of course I added a dash of His GRACE, for the times I stumble out of HOPE...My heart feels so different. He is here, He's always here I only need ask...to call on Him. He will listen to me...He will hear me & I will find Him EVERYTIME...so what's your word for the year??