Late in 2014, during a horrific year, God gave me this beautiful Psalm:
“I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God” (Psalm 27:13-14, The Message).
He knew I needed to be reminded that He is good. In the midst of my grief and human-ness, I had forgotten.
I thought it a fitting time to recount some of the gifts He’s given in 2015, which I offer in praise of His goodness.
In January, I won Kathy Ide’s “Promising Beginnings” contest; the prize was a full scholarship to Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I attended in March.
You’d be amazed at the soul-healing God can do in the midst of giant redwoods. Not only did I get to learn and connect with some talented and godly writers, I got to breathe in the beauty of God’s creation.
I also attended Oregon Christian Writers Conference in August and filled up on love from some of my Oregon friends. These ladies were some of the first people God used to woo me back into a community of believers after experiencing spiritual abuse. My longtime friends continue to spur me on to greater growth and love of scripture.
Later that month, I attended Christian Communicators Conference and made some fast and close friends. God used them to peel off another layer of hurt and give me more peace. Once again, He reminded me of His call to speak truth and life to those who want to shake off the shame and live like we believe we’re God’s treasured possessions. Vonda and Carolyn gave me more tools to do that; but, most importantly, affirmed my gifts and talents and the need for my ministry.
God’s gift in September was bittersweet. All their lives, I prayed for each of my girls to follow after Jesus. For Katie, answering the call meant attending YWAM’s school in Adams, TN. I have the joy of having her here for a few weeks before she heads overseas to complete the outreach portion of her education. Big adventures ahead for this girl! She always has been one to give me more than I ever wanted to pray about.
One of my favorite gifts of 2015: I’m getting a new son! Chris proposed to Mariah in November, to her great joy and ours. Since his parents live out of state, I planned a birthday party for him in mid-December. I’ve never gotten to throw a boy birthday party before! It was fun.
He’s a godly young man and loves our daughter with all of his heart. Plus, he fits in with our crazy, silly family, so it’s a win/win for everyone. Speaking of more to pray about!
Another huge gift this year: Stephanie earned her associate degree in criminal justice. I’m so proud of her accomplishment, which she achieved by herself, despite massive obstacles. It’s such a gift to watch her face her fears and rise above them–truly an inspiration.
She works hard, graciously forgives, and has such a kind heart. I know she’ll go far in this world!
I can’t forget another precious gift–that is you, my readers. It’s been a joy to read your comments, both posted publicly and in private. I’m always blessed to know that my words encouraged one of you.
I wish I had time to expand on this list–the gifts I received this year are too long for one blog post. I’m blessed with an amazing family, wonderful friends, and a beautiful calling to share God’s goodness with others. Needless to say, I cherished the celebration of Jesus’ birth, the beginning of His redemptive ministry on earth.
In many ways, I feel like His work in my life is just beginning as well. 2015 was a year for reflection, healing, and strength. My word for the year was Dependence, and the greatest gift of all is God’s teaching me that I can trust Him. He’s opening my eyes to see His goodness on the exuberant earth.
Please feel free to share in the comments–what ways did you see God’s goodness in 2015?
Happy New Year! May you and yours fully see God’s goodness in 2016.