So, like many of us, I’ve spent some time both looking back over the past year and forward in anticipation of the year to come. And when I look back, while there were a tremendous amount of things to be grateful for, there were definitely parts of 2018 that were pretty challenging and hard.
One of the biggest things for me was that we spent half of the year without another pastor at our church. And for some reason, I took this really hard. Because I knew the impact it would have on my marriage, our family and on our ministry having gone through such transitions before (we’ve now had five Senior pastors since we started here). There were many days that I felt so down about everything and it really did take a bit of a toll. Maybe it was also a bit of burnout after serving 15 years in ministry with Jeremy. Or maybe there are just seasons of life that are harder than others. Whatever it was, I know that I spent some good chunks of last year just trying to make it through my struggles and emotions.
But, on a happier note, I did survive. And thanks to Facebook, I learned that people are doing this thing, where they pick a word to be their theme for the year. And after a few days of reflection, I decided that my word for 2019 is THRIVE. Looking up a dictionary definition of the word, I found that thrive means to grow or develop well or vigorously. It also means to prosper or flourish. And that is what I want to do in this coming year.
Even though things were challenging at times last year, I absolutely love our church and the ministries that we get to be a part of. My heart, of course, belongs to Hangtime, which is our church’s K-6th after school program. I’m excited because I know that God has laid it on my heart this year to continue to grow and develop well this program.
I will also continue to serve along side of Jeremy in youth ministry. This year we are looking forward to many youth group activities, including Breakaway, NTS Camp and an in-development Missions oriented trip this summer. I absolutely love my husband and though it is exhausting at times, we continue to feel God calling us to minister to teens and I want to look for ways to THRIVE as we serve this coming year.
Last Saturday, Christian threw me a surprise as part of my Christmas present this year. The surprise was him getting together this amazing group of girls, each one being a dear, dear friend that I’ve been able to invest in at different times over the years. It made me cry to have them all together and so thankful for the ways they’ve blessed my life. I’ll continue to love and support them and cheer them on to doing great things for Jesus in this coming year. Because I truly think that a big part of thriving is doing what you can to grow those around you.
This year, I also want to continue to THRIVE in connecting with our extended family. It’s a bit hard since between Jeremy’s family and mine, we are all literally spread out across the United States. But they are a blessing and any time we get in this coming year will be a great blessing as well.
Another challenge that was quite great this past year for me, was accepting the fact that our kids are no longer little ones with little problems. And there were parts of the year that I spent trying to survive the fact that we’re now parenting teenagers (well, one officially, and one close behind). Friends, parenting teens is NOT easy, or pleasant at times, or frankly all that enjoyable when the going gets tough.
But there are many, many ways to THRIVE in doing so, and this is what I want to find in the coming year. I have a daughter that is moody, but absolutely delightful and this year, I’m pursuing the good while enduring the bad and the ugly.
And last year, while there were times when I thought this kid and I wouldn’t actually make it… this year, I am trusting God as I get to watch our son pursue so many great things. In addition to family things and church things and school and his club volleyball, he also picked up a job busing tables at Trumpets on the weekends and we are so very proud of his hard work. Raising a teen to love Jesus and to do the right things seems impossible at times. But this year, I want to find ways to trust God and to THRIVE in it.
Last year, this incredible man rode over 8,000 miles on his bike. And it wasn’t my favorite because it’s terrifying to think of all the possibilities of what could happen while he’s on the road. But thankfully, through lots of prayer, I’m realizing that loving him and supporting one of his passions is a beautiful way that we can THRIVE in our marriage. We’re also taking a trip in April, so that will help too ;). In all reality though, I do adore this man and am so very glad to get to do life with him.
Yes, when looking forward to 2019, I truly want to find many ways to THRIVE. And part of thriving will include a bit of self-maintenance. So for that, I’ll look to Hot Yoga and my goal to read through the entire Bible in this coming year. And being transparent, I learned last year that it also helps for me to connect and talk with a great counselor that I started seeing. She’s incredible and every time I left a session, I felt lighter and more at peace. It was something that helped me tremendously and something that I want to continue to utilize this year.
So friends, hold me to to it. My word for 2019 is THRIVE. I’ve shared a plethora of ways that I’m going to try to accomplish this, knowing of course that some days will go better than others. But I’m good with that, and ready for all that God has to show me in this coming year and I strive to THRIVE and serve Him.