I entered 2010 with a feeling of expectation. It felt a bit to me, like 2006, the "God called us to Swaziland" kind of big. I had no idea what it was, but God was preparing me. I am so glad He did. I am so thankful that I wasn't "blindsided" by the events of 2010.
The words I would now use to describe 2010 are "loss" and "transition." It was kind of a painful year. Our church family experienced some big losses this year. Many loved ones died, from newborns all the way up to grandparents. I went to more funerals of people in my age range than I ever have. It was painful to experience and to journey alongside our friends.
In February, Rick was able to go to Swaziland. It was a great trip and opportunity for him to touch base with the ministries we are supporting and build further relationship connections.
In March, we put our house on the market with a timeline of 6 months. That was all I could tolerate with 6 children. Those months were really exhausting, but there was a goal in mind so I pushed forward. The 6-month mark hit, and our house had not sold. We took that as a confirmation from God that it was not His timing for us to move.(We weren't moving out of the Springs, just hoping for a house with a better floor plan to fit our family.)
In June, we had our BEST family vacation EVER in California. It was most of the kids first time to the beach, and they LOVED it! I loved that they loved it because that means we can plan more beach vacations in our future. It was just what our family needed, and we felt so blessed to be given a place to stay.
In July, Rick led the Vanguard team to Swaziland. This was our first team trip that I did not go on. That was hard. It was a great trip, and God did some amazing things.
In September, Vanguard was facing some huge budget cuts. Rick was under a lot of stress. In mid-September he had what I affectionately call a "fake heart attack." It was actually Esophageal Spasms, but it mimics a heart attack and is totally stress related. It is the first step in a pathway of health problems. He needed to make changes or the next time might actually be a heart attack. It was a wake-up call for us. God made it very clear to us that after 10 years, our time on staff at Vanguard was complete.
It has been a painful loss in my life. You see, I don't like change. Sometimes, I don't even like good change. It shakes my world, it threatens me, it makes me very uncomfortable. Let me just give you an example. I have used the same toothpaste for many years. Recently, when I went to the store, they did not have it!! I almost freaked out. I carefully chose a different flavor. Honestly, the new flavor was quite refreshing, but I was not happy about my toothpaste being gone. So, you can only imagine the trauma I have experienced in my heart over this GIGANTIC change.
God is teaching me a lot about my identity, about my value, and about my calling. I am still way "in process" here. I have cried many tears. I have had many sleepless nights. I have felt very alone. I know that is exactly where He has wanted me to be in order for me to hear His Voice.
So, I move forward to 2011. I declare this a year of Simplicity, Gratefulness, Forgiveness, Grace and an all around Fresh Start for me and my family. I have grieved my losses and it is time for me to move forward. This doesn't mean there won't be moments where grief once again ambushes when I least expect it, but I don't intend to stay there anymore!!
I am expecting God to show Himself in big ways this year. It will be necessary for us to survive. He is already doing it, and I am writing each moment down as a record of His provision in our lives. I want my kids to come away from this year with a deeper understanding of God's provision. I am excited each time I get to share with them how God meets one of our needs unexpectedly.
There you have it. I can't say this post fully expresses my heart, but it is about as expressive as I can get right now. I want to end with this quote from the book "Bittersweet." It expresses perfectly how I feel about these changes (so why try to share it any other way) and how I am determined to approach them in 2011!
"More than anything, I know now that I never want to live that way again- I don't like the person I became and I am not proud of the contagious fear and ugliness I left in my wake everywhere I went. Again, this is my confession and my promise: I want to live a new way, the way I have always believed, but temporarily lost sight of.
I know now that I can make it through more than I thought, with less than I thought. I know better than to believe that the changes are over, and I know better than to believe the next ones will be easier, but I've learned the hard way that change is one of God's greatest gifts and one of his most useful tools. I have learned the hard way that change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we've become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I have learned that it is not something to run away from, as though we could, and I have learned that in many cases, change is not a function of life's cruelty but instead a function of God's graciousness." ~Shauna Niequist
"If you dig in and fight the changes, they will smash you to bits. They will hold you under, drag you across the rough sand, scare and confuse you. But if you find it within yourself, in the wildest of season, just for a moment to trust in the goodness of God, who made it all and holds it all together, you'll find yourself drawn along to a whole new place, and there's truly nothing sweeter. Unclench your fists, unlock your knees and also the door to your heart, take a deep breath and begin to swim. Begin to let the waves do their work in you." ~Shauna Niequist
What has God done in your heart in 2010? Where do you plan to go from here? Those are my questions for you to ponder as you think about your own journey.