A Year of Intense Growth

IMG_3380I’m currently curled in a blanket, drinking chamomile tea with honey, and listening to jazzy renditions of Christmas songs. It’s a chilly,  but not cold, Monday morning. This Southern weather gives people something to talk about with its highs currently reaching up into the seventies. I’m looking forward to the cold. I also can’t complain. This is helping me ease out of the Caracas weather and into winter here in the States.

After a whirlwind almost five months, I made it back to the States Saturday evening. I had to leave for the Caracas airport at 1:45 a.m. By the time I reached Houston later that afternoon, I found out that my grandfather had passed away as I was preparing to go to the airport in those early morning hours.

To say that I was anxious to be home is an understatement. The last week of school, teaching felt like nothing short of a countdown. My heart anticipated Christmas with my family and the comfort of home. My heart continued to wrestle with the fact that I wasn’t there while my Papaw was becoming sicker and sicker. I wanted to spend a little bit of time there with him and my family.

This whole past year, these past almost five months, and the passing of a loved one has taught and is teaching my heart some very valuable lessons.

Multiple times, the weight of decision and fear of indecisiveness pressed on my heart and clouded my mind. I needed answers, I needed solutions, but it seemed as if those answers and solutions could not be found. Each time, God whispered to me to be still. That’s it. Be still. Yet, I continued to allow emotion and confusion to clog my ears and my heart. In truth, He never fails to lead and to guide. One who is running left to right and out ahead cannot easily be guided.

To be still sometimes means letting go of our need for answers. This does not mean that the answers will never come. Some of them will, and some things won’t make sense until we stand in Heaven with the Father.

I don’t know why loved ones become so sick when we are so far away. A wise friend once said that time is one thing that God keeps to Himself. Do a trust in His sovereignty, or do I bow my knees at the altar of answers and solutions?

As I look back over the course of this year, I know that my life has not been exempt from the challenges and heartache this human life so often holds. This has been a year of intense growth for me, as I hope and pray it has been for a lot of people.

This year has also been filled with blessings. I am beyond blessed by the people God has placed in my life, both here and overseas. Relationships are gifts that are worth fighting for.

If I don’t have a chance to write again before the start of the new year, let me say that I am so, so thankful to be home for these next few weeks. I pray for rejuvenation for these next five months. I also pray for the ability to be, as Jim Elliot put it, “all there,” no matter where I am. Anticipation is a joy, but lack of focus and motivation because your heart is someplace else is an absolute struggle.

Here’s to growth, and a year filled with it. Here’s to a blessing in exchange for every challenge. Here’s to remembering His faithfulness and to comfort in the midst heartache. Here’s to the love and light of the Christmas season never growing dim.

Merry Christmas!



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