2013 Reflections: Learning Joy


Another year gone by. 

Every year I sit down to right a post like this, amazed at how I am already writing another one. The older I get, the more children God blesses us with, the faster life seems to zoom by.  Tomorrow starts a whole new year with more of God’s promises in store, things to learn, life to enjoy, friends to make connections with, and family is cherish. I can’t wait!

But before I move forward, I love to reflect.  I love to sit in God’s goodness and remember His blessings and promises from last year and measure the growth. As 2013 approached last year, I claimed it to be the year of Joy and God has been taking me on this journey since. I am no where near to my destination, but I have learned so much and I have felt the touch of what life can be with the joy God has intended. What freedom joy has contained in it. If only I could bottle that up for moments when joy is hard to chose!

In 2013, the biggest event of the year was Ashlyn‘s birth, born in the water surrounded by our loving team in our bedroom. It was a monumental moment for me in so many ways, a bonding moment for Mark and I. One filled with so much joy as a result of our hard work, both the physical labor journey to bring her to this world and the emotional journey strengthening our marriage in 2012. It was a promise and blessing come full circle, a reward from the Lord.

In 2013, God showed me what joy can look like, what it can feel like. A taste of what is to come, what I know will come more often in our family’s future.  He’s revealed more of how He made me, how I tick inside, to know how I can easier chose joy and give myself grace. He’s shown me things to improve on. Things to let go.  Things that have been weighing me down. Freed me from my mask (most days). He’s placed people in my life when I have needed them for encouragement. He’s strengthened the bond with my children. He’s given us many tangible moments showing His provision and answers to prayers.

Every year I like to claim a new theme for the year. I feel God gives me these “themes” for a reason, as a promise to look forward as He builds onto what He has done in the past.

2012 was healing.

2013 was joy.

2014 will be grace.

The Lord has been showing me lately how I don’t truly understand grace to its full capacity. I struggle with knowing His grace in when my past choices come to haunt me. I struggle with feeling His grace at this very moment, in a daily life of selfish sin. I struggle with giving myself grace in my many daily self-perceived failures.  As 2014 approaches, I want to discover and embrace that grace bond.  I want to feel how deep, how wide, how long, how high that knot of love and grace is once and for all.

Of course, I know He will continue to heal me from my past hurts and help me to chose Joy just as He has these past 2 years! In these 2 years He’s given me tools for the desires of my heart, now I move forward in applying them. I feel so grateful that I am standing on a mountain top in life at the moment, where I look back at the valleys in 2013 and see the beauty of those storms in the valley. I can now see the growth it caused, the steps it lead me to take. I look forward to what is in store for 2014!

How was your 2013? Is it one you look forward to leaving in the past, or is it bittersweet to move forward? With Ashlyn’s 1st birthday quickly arriving in 19 days, this new year is very bittersweet for me.  It has had its challenges but there have been many good memories as well, especially watching her grow!

Happy New Year, y’all! See you in 2014.

Leave a Reply