I started doing this post last year and resolved to make it an annual tradition. I think it's important (more for me than for you), but I do think it matters to recall, count blessings, take inventory and look forward. A few days late, but better late than never…
- joy: finding out WE'RE HAVING A BABY!!!!
- peace: knowing that during a really yucky season of crazy migraines and a bit of a health scare, God never, ever left us. He was our peace during a hard season with work and health. We weathered the storm knowing we were in good hands - with our doctors, our community and our God.
- grace: marriage is still the greatest picture of grace I've experienced. How and why he keeps loving and forgiving is beyond me. Grace upon grace upon grace.
- mercy: a new job that I said yes to this fall. So much mercy. The timing was perfect, the need for change was evident, the schedule is so fitting for having a baby on the way and I get to do what I'm passionate about - a combination of student ministry and missions - nothing better. Thankful for God's mercy in a job with Students International and all that this season of ministry will bring for our little family.
- discipline: this is kind of funny, but I actually think my best discipline was in the kitchen. :) I love to bake, but I don't love to cook and this year I've learned the discipline of cooking and the importance of providing nourishment for people I love. I'm hoping that 2014 makes this more of a joy and less of a discipline… wishful thinking.
- growth: holy leaps and bounds… leaving my job with IMPACT and the crazy process that involved for me - mentally, spiritually and physically challenged me and grew me. So much. I also saw HUGE amounts of growth in the college gals that I do life with. We learned to follow Jesus with more integrity, to become a family, to be real and genuine and to love each other unconditionally. It was phenomenal and I can't even deal with the fact that 1/2 of these gems will graduate in June. Can't talk about it. Tears.
also… this is what happened when we told the gals we were preggo :)
- answered prayer: our friends Chuck and Holly have been battling what was said to be terminal cancer in his body for the last year. We fervently prayed for them and for healing every single night. We got news right before Christmas that CHUCK IS CANCER FREE!!! This is such a sweet gift for them and their twin babies. We love it.
- friendship: I alluded to this in my last post, but good gracious, Jesus brought us friends this year -he literally just plopped this incredible group of friends into our lives and our town and we are so grateful. I needed a solid group of girlfriends so so badly and I sit here amazed at the answer to prayer in Cheryl, April, Nicole, Kristi and Blair to name a few. So thankful.
- beauty: I think that new life is such a beautiful thing. Because I'm pregnant, I may be appreciating it more these days, but we got 2 new nieces - Ellie and Liza and a new nephew - Jack this year. They are little miracles and such delightful tiny humans. Three of my closest friends had babies this year too and sweet Jesus that is beautiful. Bringing life into this world is beautiful.
- rest: rest for us this year came in the form of little getaways. We LOVE living on the central coast where it's easy to take mini-vacations and have a life time-out. A few of our favorites this year were Napa in January, Sonoma in February, Vegas in March, Palm Desert in May, Carpinteria in June, San Diego in July, Carmel in October, and Solvang in December. Just a few :) These much-needed breaks provided rest - for our bodies, our souls, our brains and our marriage. We are so grateful.
- perseverance: I saw more resolve in myself during the hard months of July and August than I've ever seen in my 33 years of life. All I will say is that it was hard, I wanted to quit, I wanted answers, I wanted to wake up and have it all be over with. God saw me through it. Life is so different now. So much redemption came from persevering through the suffering.
- pura vida (true, full life): I think Jarred and I find this most on mission. Whether local mission with Young Life, our church plant crew, the homeless shelter or overseas. This year for us, we found "pure vida" in our church community here - people knowing us well and loving us anyways. We also found it in our trips to Haiti and Costa Rica - beautiful pure life. We have much to learn.
- love: my sweet husband has gone above and beyond this year. From my health issues in August to getting pregnant in September, his job has not been easy for the last 5 months. This man is a rockstar. I can't tell you how many pesto chicken sandwiches he's delivered to the couch. I see Jesus in how he loves me unconditionally and without cost.
- the Gospel: our new "church" community has been the living, breathing gospel. The time we spend with them is real and honest and full of both grace and truth. These people have become our family here in town and we know that life with them around makes sense. God is present and revealing himself through this beautiful community.
2014 is about to bring SO much change - more than we could ever dream up. While we have NO idea what we're getting ourselves into with this little one, we have so much excitement and anticipation of how this year will go and are thankful for each day that this baby continues to grow healthy and strong. Bring it on… we expect great things.