Summing up 2016 -
Well this is new for me. I've never been a writer... I think I have owned probably 10 journals in my whole life and have only completely filled the pages of one of those journals/notebooks. And that was in 2016... proof that 2016 was a year of growth for me. I have always enjoyed prayer journaling because it makes me feel organized in my prayers and helps me remember all my prayer requests and just pour my heart out to God. Maybe a blog post will help me reveal my heart to all of you. I'm not an open book and often feel uncomfortable with deep, intimate conversations. My husband always jokes that I don't talk about substance or go below the surface. Which is something I have thought about a lot lately.
2016 was a great year for me and my family. We welcomed our second child, our beautiful baby girl, Ember. God stayed true to His promise of His presence those first few days as we had a a short stay in the NICU while Ember's lungs developed. Our son Cove is 2.5 years old and brought so much joy to us in 2016. He's the more challenging of the two. He's so smart and often tries to outwit us. God showed His favor over us in 2016 with health for our children and wonderful childcare providers. 2016 also brought us new friendships. Moving to small town Kansas was a little lonely. I have a huge family of 8 siblings, and 4 of those siblings and their families live in the same town as me. But I still had a strong desire for Christian friendships. God answered my prayers by building awesome friendships with families at our church.
Spiritually I grew closer to God in 2016 than I have ever been. I felt more conviction than I have in my life, but I also felt more love and more of God's guidance and direction. God really revealed to me that I need to deny myself of things of this world. Some things that I used to think bring me pleasure, God showed me how they were not doing anything to benefit my relationship with Him. I took a three month fast from Facebook. Not only did this allow me to be more present at home with my family, it also opened my eyes to how much excess I had in my life. I dedicated the Facebook fast to a specific prayer request and saw the miracle of the prayer request be answered. That put a fire in my soul that made me want to give more of myself to God. I have denied myself of material things that I wouldn't have thought twice about in the past. Five years ago, I would have always had my nails perfect, my hair colored regularly, and my make up done before seeing another human being. 2016 was a year of loving myself in the image God created me to be. I don't have to look perfect when I leave the house anymore because I have found contentment in this life God has created for me. My husband makes me feel beautiful without a face full of make up, and I thank God for a relationship that doesn't have to be picture perfect. Our family has since decided to rid ourselves of the excess of cable TV. The more excess we have removed from our lives, the more God has revealed to me of what is important. In 2016 there were two specific times that for the first time in my life I felt like I clearly heard God's voice talking to me just as clear as a person standing next to me talking. And that's probably the coolest feeling. I also stepped out of fear and into faith in 2016 by starting Thy Word Apparel. The devil really attacked my weaknesses during the first few weeks of planning and organizing. And he still attempts to throw insecurities at me. But my God is stronger. I've heard many times "If God can use (me), He can use anyone". And I've really found that to be true in 2016. If God can use ME, a Kansas wife and mother who works at a dairy farm as a full time job, God can truly use anyone.
Welcoming 2017 -
At church yesterday, our Pastor's wife spoke. She talked about instead of focusing on New Year's Resolutions that can be discouraging, maybe we should focus on some Promises for the new year. Promises of God. God promises His love, His presence, His provision, and He promises Heaven. All of these promises are found in the Bible multiple times. These promises don't mean bad things won't ever happen to us (John 16:33), but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). And that is something to be grateful for.
I saw on an Instagram post yesterday a challenged to choose one word that would sum up your hopes, dreams, or goals for 2017. I think my word will be intimacy. I want to be more intimate with God. I recently completed "Perfect Love" by Lisa Harper, a video Bible study. She outlines just how much God desires us and is patiently waiting for us to draw closer to Him. Last week I read an article by Heidi Baker. In this article she talks of a vision where she was given a key to a room with Jesus in it. She says she didn't want to leave that room. She wanted to stay with her head on his chest and never leave. I am envious of that intimacy with God, but I know it's available to you and me as well. I must spend intentional time with God daily. I must study His word and be obedient. God wants that intimacy more than I do and He's just waiting for me to take that key and be intimate with Him. I want to be more intimate with my husband. I see so many social media posts about #Proverbs31wife where's the hashtag for a Song of Solomon wife!! I want to be more intimate with my children. As they grow and develop in this next year, I want our relationship to be special and intentional. I want to be present at home and have lots of conversations, cuddles, and sloppy kisses! And lastly I want to be more intimate with my family and friends. I want my relationships and conversations to go below the surface and have deep substance. I want to let people in.
I pray I will be open and obedient to God using me in 2017.
Thank you for reading this blog! I'm afraid it was a little all over the place as the first time spilling out my heart. I pray God uses this blog as a witnessing tool, as a testimony, and also as some exposure to the awesome ministries that have been placed on the hearts of my family and friends.
I cannot wait to learn God's Will for 2017!