Wow. It seems like yesterday we were celebrating 2008. I spent some time last night before going to sleep asking the Lord to help me remember the good things of 2008. Here are the things I can remember so far — there was so much!
1. Won tickets to see Shawn McDonald and got to go back stage with my step son to meet Shawn McDonald and get our picture taken with him. My step son won the tickets and he asked me to go with him. I was so blessed by that.
2. Was given tickets by a friend to see Jeremy Camp and Toby Mac. Met some friends there and had a great time.
3. Won a big screen television and DVD player! WOW! This is something we would have never purchased for ourselves because its so extravagant, but the Lord gave it to us just because!
4. I got a significant pay raise, several bonuses through the year, and more paid time off. Thank you Lord!
5. A partially paid for trip to San Diego to be alone with my hubby.
6. Got to sea kayak in La Jolla, CA for the first time ever.
7. Got to body surf at Mission Beach in California in warm water! What fun!
8. The Lord brought three new friends into my life that have been such a blessing and encouragement.
9. Took all kids (all 5 teens!!!!) to Ocean Shores for vacation in Summer 08, and had a blast.
10. Got a new dog Ruby, who is a funny little hoot and such a blessing to our family.
11. Grew closer as a family. The kids tell me they love me. They hug me. They confide in me. It's not easy being a step-parent, probably harder than being a parent of your own bio child.
12. Got to hear God's audible voice in a dream tell me "I love you." Was the most amazing dream I've probably ever had.
13. Got completely out of debt for the first time in years, well besides our mortgage.
14. Watching healing in my step-daughter's life, and all the kids growing in the Lord.
15. Took up knitting again.
16. Watched God heal one of my friendships – RG. Thank you Lord.
I wrote down the things that were hard about 2008, and they really paled in comparison to the blessings the Lord has given to us as a family, and me personally. So, as Deborah said, I shake off the dust of 2008, and embrace what 2009 has for me. God called me to be an encourager, and I'm going to continue to do what He has called me to do — no matter what the circumstances are around me — no matter the hurt in my heart at times. Some times it just takes time for that healing to come in my heart, but I embrace the process and praise Him for the work He is doing in me.
What I've realized is that the pain and hurt I've experienced this last year has made me more humble, less prideful. That's a good thing. Paul asked three times for the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh, and God said that His grace was sufficient for Paul. Through all of the bad junk I've continue to praise the Lord, seek Him, continue to pray for the healing in my heart, both received forgiveness and given forgiveness, and it is all good. I can't wait to see what God has in store for 2009 because no matter what it is — He is in control and He says He will never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you Lord!