As I look back on 2014, I realize that God is always up to something.
A year ago today, my family was in Austria. As a send off to the kids during their graduation year, we had booked a crazy Christmas and New Year’s trip to Rome, Venice, Munich, and Vienna. The locations were chosen based on what we each wanted to experience if we were only able to go to Europe once. Let me just say that every location was a great choice, and we had great seats for most of it.
As others are thinking about changes and resolutions, I have no time for that. I have had my share of changes for a while and look forward to some stability in 2015. So – as I think back on 2014 and look into 2015, I thought I would share the top things that I learned this year. I hope that they resonate with you and encourage you in some way.
One: Transition is a good teacher. Although I have experienced a lot of transition in my life, I have not experienced so many transitions all at once like I did in 2014. I had three different jobs, lived in two different houses, watched my kids graduate from high school and then leave for college, and experienced a huge shift in the huz’s ministry. When I thought that my brain might explode from keeping all of the details together in August, I took deep breaths, thanked God for His sustaining grace, and woke up each day ready to conquer it. I learned so much about myself, my parenting, and my marriage.
Two: I love my family. The four of us book-ended 2014 with time together as just the four of us. This was slightly intentional but also just happened. It’s hard to spend time with others when you fly off to Europe! Although we love our extended families on both sides, we also love time as just the four of us. We like the same games, the same television shows, and the same food. We finish each other’s sentences, laugh at ourselves (and each other), and work hard as a unit when necessary. I am very aware that these times may be fewer in the coming years, so I am holding on to 2014 with a firm grip.
Three: Empty-nesting does not ruin your life. Several friends who have gone through this stage in front of me told me that I would be just fine, and I believed them…but I still doubted and mourned as well. Once I returned from my trip to see the kids in October, I knew they were really fine at Baylor University. And shortly after that, I realized that I was not only surviving but thriving. While I looked forward to their return for break with great anticipation, I am not crying as I realize that they leave again in just over a week. They have their lives to live; we have our lives to live. When all of the lives intersect, we are super happy. But I refuse to stop living during the times in between.
Four: God is good. I could re-count some of the thoughts that I have shared over the past few months on the blog, but I won’t. To summarize: God is good all the time. He turns my mourning into dancing. He leads me beside still waters. And He restores my soul. Without God’s action in my life and the hope that comes with knowing He desires for me to live abundantly, I would not know where to begin. In the dark times of doubt and chaos, I know He is there. And He brings me clear reassurance to show me that I am in His will right now. That is amazing.
I have no idea what 2015 will bring. I have some guesses; however, based on 2014 and its life-changing events, I think I might be willing to say that I cannot control 2015 with any certainty. The one thing that I do know is that I cannot go wrong if I look to God as my guide for what to do and how to do it.
As we ring in 2015, let us all remember to be still for a moment and acknowledge God’s goodness to us – whether in the small things or in the big things.