This holiday season has had it’s difficulties for me and I’ve watched myself get a little lost. I quit being able to see the forest for the trees. Why am I so broke? Why can’t I just get over some the challenges I face when I’m with my family? Am I a bad parent? Aghh! But, looking back over this last year helps to put things into perspective for me. 2014 was an amazing year.
I had some incredible experiences in 2014, like being slain in the spirit. Yes, I too used to think that was just a gimmick TV ministers used to trick poor old people into sending them their money, but it happened to me. I fell to the ground, twitching and crying, over run with the Holy Spirit and filled with a Love so pure it’s indescribable.
I experienced healing, emotionally and physically. Last year God really did do for me that which I haven’t been able to do for myself. Areas of pain and suffering that I thought were a part of my permanent landscape are being reclaimed and renewed. I was given words and visions that let me know beyond doubt that God has got some good plans for me.
Just last week, at the end of 2014, I experienced five whole minutes of freedom. This is how it feels: you love and accept yourself in totality, completely and absolutely, without any shadow side to it whatsoever. You love and accept yourself for who you are and where you are and are delighted by what you see, even though what you see is full of short comings and awkwardness and fallibility. AND, you don’t see any reason why everyone else shouldn’t love you just as much as you do, as God does! That freedom is the gift that Jesus intends for us to have and it feels great.
2014 brought me friends. Through the women’s bible study I now have a circle of friends who I am delighted to be in relationship with. It’s been a long time since I’ve met anyone with the potential to be a true friend and God gave six or seven of them last year! I care for them deeply.
2014 brought me a church family in a church that I trust. I have a Pastor I trust. I would feel comfortable sending anyone I know to my church and wouldn’t worry they would hear something weird or off putting or injurious. My church family is focused on the love and freedom Jesus came to bring us, nothing more. And we laugh a lot.
2014 deepened my relationships with two really important women. They are older, more seasoned Christian women who God has put in my life to teach me, support me, buffer me, and pray with me as I move forward in my walk. They are bricks in the foundation of my life in Christ and I’m so grateful for their presence. I’ve leaned on them and they have met me with a quality of love and wisdom that is a rare gift, indeed. I’m teary eyed now thinking about them. I’m so grateful.
2014 is the year I declared officially that I feel called to ministry and want to pursue it formally. The thing about a ministry call is that it is not a solitary aim. God, the faith community, and your family also have to be on board. I felt like I was sticking my neck out to state the desire in my heart.
The answer I’ve received has been support from my Pastor, who has agreed to disciple me and take me through the licensing process for Foursquare Churches. My family have given me their support and committed to stand behind me, despite some philosophical and religious differences. I’ve received blessings and anointing from my faith community and been given opportunities to lead and be a part of church events. Though it’s definitely more challenging than I thought it would be in a myriad of ways, I’ve been absolutely blessed with the presence of the Lord through it all.
With a somewhat befuddled resignation, I had given up the idea of seminary. After much prayer and supplication, it didn’t seem God had given me His blessing to go. He hadn’t actually said ‘No’, but when God says Yes, you know it beyond doubt and that hadn’t happened. However, God is full of surprises.
2014 is the year that God, a few months after I had given up on the idea and in a way that only He could, provided the means for me to attend school. I will begin the Master of Divinity program at George Fox University next summer and it is only God’s Divine Hand that could have made that happen. I’m still a little in shock. I have the first year of school paid in full through no doing of my own. Amazing.
2014 was also the year I experienced some pain. I was shown many of my limitations like false pride and fear and lack of confidence. It’s brought about a bit of true humility, which is a good thing, but felt like one of the most unpleasant rites of passage. I’ve also had to face health repercussions for bad decisions I made in the past. I’ve been stretched to the limits of my capacities to not take things personally, and for resisting the temptation to indulge in self defeating thoughts. It’s been beautiful pain, designed to bring me ever closer to wisdom, and to living in the truth.
All in all, 2014 was a weighty and dynamic year, far reaching in its reverberations, and filled with movement and miracles. It’s been rich with Love and the opportunity to express it within church, children, family and friends. It’s the year that I fell much deeper in Love with our Lord, with all of you, and with me. That’s what it’s really about isn’t it? Learning how to Love?
I hope, as you look back on your own 2014, that it brings you some pleasant surprises from your reverie. I am not sure how much I’ll write on this blog in the coming year, but, if I do, I vow to do so from a place of love and freedom. I look forward to what 2015 will bring.