Some people mark successful years by milestones that were achieved or great events to be reflected on. By that standard, we had a pretty quite 2011. I’m quite o.k. with that.
At the start of this year I made this post, naming my goal for 2011 to be an inward evolution. On the eve of 2012, I can call the year a success. Did I stick hard and fast to my ‘goals’ of limited T.V., meal planning, and work outs??? Without cable it does help the T.V. goal, although if I were counting Hulu time, maybe not. As for workouts, meal planning, and bible cover to cover, those are rolling into the 2012 goal column. If I focused only on the goals I did not accomplish, I would find myself starting 2012, as I’ve started many New Years in the past, believing a lie I’ve held onto for a long time…. I can’t do it, its too hard, I might as well not even try. However I’m not the same person I was on the eve of 2011, not by a long shot.
January 2011 marked the first Fast I’d ever tried…. Going in my prayers were for healing from Caleb’s seizure and for my best friend to conceive a baby after 2+ years of trying. Over the course of 2010, Caleb had 9 seizures from Sept. 1st – Dec 31st. In 2011, he’s had 2, not having had one since May!! On my birthday (April 7th) I found out my Best friend was ~12weeks pregnant, they waited to tell people because of the years of attempts not panning out. When I asked her when she found out, she told me at the beginning of February… our Fast ended on Jan. 31st!! I had started the year leaning more toward the skeptic column, seeing his faithfulness in these two areas alone gave me such a monumental push into the faith filled column!
In July, Kevin and I found out we were expecting, only to learn 2 months later it was not meant to be. Historically, in the midst of trial, I throw up the defenses put on the happy face and let the world know, hey it didn’t phase me. I’m not gonna lie and say I was miraculously vulnerable this year, but going through it in the community we’re in was such an eye opener. They didn’t push, or pry, or judge my lack of feelings, but they also didn’t just accept my statements of being fine at face value. They showed up at my house with dinner without prompting, and sent gift cards for dinner out…. I am so proud and awe inspired by my church that actually DOES church well. Not only do they aspire to help those out in the community, and in communities abroad, but they help their own in anyway they can.
November started our Church’s Thrive series, and I wrote before, and am just realizing now that I never revealed the totals for their efforts. We set out to raise $500K in a one time offering, with commitments for $5M over the course of the following year. Would you believe me if I told you that in the one time offering they collected $501K?!? You should, cause they did…. talk about chalking another testimony up to the faith filled column! For the $5M, we didn’t reach that goal, but they did reveal an even more impressive number in my book… As I mentioned our church is currently hovering right around 1200 members, out of that number 987 members gave what they could towards the offering?!? 987 people stepping out in faith and giving towards a cause they believe in…. guess I’m not the only one convinced my church rocks!
Over the course of that series I had ventured into my second Daniel Fast, believe me when I tell you I didn’t START it joyfully… I’m no saint…. but after the amazing results from the first one, I thought I’d give it a shot. My prayer request this time was to feel God’s love in a more powerful way. I had the Sunday school understanding, I knew “Yes, Jesus loves me the Bible tells me so”, but I could see a difference in people at church… they had a deeper understanding of it, one I couldn’t quite grasp. All I’m gonna say about this one (right now at least), is that God answered it in a very powerful way again. He reveled and then removed a block I’d had, and its exciting to start 2012 with it out of my way for good!
I learned SO much about relationships in general this year. My relationship with God, my spouse, my kids, my family, and my friends. I learned its o.k. to let relationships go, I learned that relationships you’d thought were lost can resurface in an instant, I learned it takes two to make relationships work, but you have to accept when someone isn’t ready or doesn’t want to work on it. When its a relationship you cannot let go of, I learned you need to give them space, knowing that space is not the same thing as turning your back on them, its meeting them where they are and not pushing for more, or resenting not getting it. I also learned that relationships that aren’t honest and real, that don’t run deep, simply flounder on the surface, and generally aren’t worth our precious time to nurture. I learned that time is very much like money, it is a finite resource, and where I invest it is equally important, so I need to choose wisely.
Finally, I learned the difference between knowing your not perfect and using it as an excuse not to change. Not a single person alive today will attain perfection, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be striving for better in every facet of our lives. I know I will continue making mistakes, I’ll continue falling off resolution wagons, but at least as I head into 2012, I can do so with the knowledge that falling off the wagon does not mean it was derailed, and I can learn to lean on the relationships around me to cheer me on at getting back on board!