2010 was a year of growth. I can look back, as I finally emerge out of a life season that has lasted just over a year, and say that it is the most difficult season of life I’ve experienced to this point. Although it has been tough, I’m thankful for what God has taught me through it, and I think it’s important for me to share (as much for the me of the future as for any of you who might wander upon it ). I realize, too, that more challenging life periods will come in my life; some with much more seriousness and gravity, some with more sorrow, and, likely, some that include more times of uncertainty. 2010 wasn’t the end of my world; I knew it wasn’t even in the depths of uncertainty and confusion, but it was hard.
2010 started in a whirlwind: StoneWater was getting ready to move into Texana Plaza, a quick 2 month preparation and move in turnaround. Needless to say, as with many of the staff & volunteers, that was the craziness of life for the first six weeks of the year. At the end of this time, I figured out why I had been so overwhelmingly tired: despite a tubal ligation in 2004, I was pregnant. After about a week of adjusting (read: crying) to the new situation, I began miscarrying, and thus started a whole new period of adjustment both physically and mentally. This same life event sparked renewed questioning of what to do about my teaching career: continue or place on hold for a while. Mingled in, for good measure, Jeremy and I felt the urge to move to the family land, but really struggled with whether it was the right thing to do for the church, for us financially, and for the family. I found myself on my knees crying out to the words of the Third Day song “Revelation,” prostrate in prayer for direction, and realizing that I was in the middle of a desert place.
In the middle of all of this, as I continued to teach part time, God blessed my humble photography business in a way I couldn’t even dream would happen a year ago. When I registered my business, it was really more because I’m a rule follower, and I knew that it was a rule to have all the papers filed if I accepted a penny. So I did. I hoped that I could see 4 babies a month in a effort to keep my skills growing. In November, I had 24 full sessions. The teach vs. not teach became critical because it was overwhelmingly clear, I could not continue to do everything.
Enter Misti brain: but I’ve always been able to do everything. I took 21 and 24 hours a semester in college (and worked and kept a 4.0 average). I taught full time, finished graduate school, and had two babies in a two and half year time period. I taught full time, mothered a 1 year old and a 3 year old, was wife to church planter, and co-led the children’s ministry while keeping the books for the new church. Why CAN’T I keep all the balls in the air any more?!! And, I’ve always had a PLAN – A then B then C. Why can’t I do it all & what’s the plan! I don’t have a plan! I can’t keep up with everything! HELP! Help! Mayday! Mayday! I’m going down. (enter more melodramatic musings – the feeling of going over the cliff & clawing to keep from going).
As I read & re-read this condensed version of the last year, it doesn’t really seem like a big deal. But I can tell you that my perfectionistic, OCD, life-planned-out self has had a bit of a shaking, and there were some dark times in there. That’s how God works, I think. He humbles us by shaking us to our very core, and then when He brings us through it, we sometimes wonder, “what was the big deal?”
The number one lesson of 2010 in my life is that God is the God of my life, and I am not. I like to have a plan (you might have gathered from the above). I like to carry out the plan & check the item off of my to-do list. Check. Done. Complete. Success. It’s easy to rely on what you know and find comfort in, but that’s not always how He works.
Number two lesson of 2010: trust God. Logically, it still doesn’t make sense that I’m leaving a part-time teaching job with steady income, the ability to impact lives, and a job that has been my passion for 13 years. In a short 18 years I could retire with full benefits. But, I’ve asked God to reveal His plan, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that includes leaving teaching. He may lead me back, and He may not. I don’t know what all He’s going to do: grow photography? give me contentment as a wife & mother? lead me deeper into ministry? I don’t know, but I trust Him.
Number three lesson of 2010: I worship the idol of busyness. I like being busy. Busy makes me feel important. Busy makes me feel powerful. I have a hard time understanding and giving grace to those who don’t worship the little god of ‘busy’ like I do. Ouch, I just admitted that. I’ve heard stories of people who got caught smoking & their parent made them smoke the whole pack to the point of sickness, and they never wanted another. November, with 24 sessions, teaching, a full week away from home, being a wife and mom, and all the other things in life was God’s lesson. I broke.
I am so thankful for God’s promise in Jer. 29:11: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Tomorrow (or soon), I’ll have the Anticipations of 2011