Reflections and a New Year

2014 started in a wonderful way. Roy and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to Myrtle Beach. We had a lovely time simply being together and God led us to a quaint little church by the shore where we renewed our commitment to Him and each other. It was perfect! If only it could have stayed that way! Within mere weeks our world began turning upside down with changes, heartaches and brokenness we weren’t prepared for.

You see the previous year (2013) had been an incredibly difficult one for Roy. He suffered with both physical and emotional pain. We sought answers from God, doctors and alternative medicine. It’s not my story to share but suffice it to say it was TOUGH! REALLY TOUGH!

In early 2014, he received the diagnosis of fibromyalgia and I at least thought we knew what we were up against- we were wrong! The physical journey is tough but the spiritual journey is THE HARDEST thing we’ve ever been through. I can’t speak for Roy and my job isn’t to be the Holy Spirit in anyone’s life so I will be speaking in first person from now on.

This year has given us:

  • Roy’s diagnosis and physical challenges. This is no small thing for either of us as it is life-changing.
  • I’ve had some physical challenges for me after a nasty fall in June and will have surgery in January to help with the results.
  • I turned 50 and had this big “girlfriend” party planned that didn’t happen because I was sick after the bad weather in February. I’m a big girl and I can deal with disappointment but turning 50 and being sick just STINKS!
  • There were career changes for Roy as his long-term care patient died in the summer. He began Clinical Pastoral Education courses in August to prepare him for the path God has called him to- that of a Chaplain!
  • In addition God has given me some professional challenges in the way of adding to my duties, delegating some of them and reorganizing our team. It’s caused me to question myself, my abilities and truly struggle!
  • We shared in the joy of two amazing weddings this year of close friends- Sonia & Dan Mitcham and Beth & Danny Orr.
    • I was also thrilled when a team member and friend, Kim Hall marry Dan Millwee in November. She’s waited a long time to find happiness!
    • My sister Ami is also dating a man named Danny so we’ve donned 2014 “The Year of the Dannys!”
  • We have suffered unbelievable personal hardships and hurts! They are personal so we bear them in private but I’ve learned so much through these trials!
  • My mother has gone through great difficulties as a result of a fall she had last year. As a result I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with doctors, officials, etc. and we still face what her problems will lead to. It’s a lot and I openly admit I wasn’t ready for this. She’s only 74 and I just wasn’t ready. But while I’m not, I know that God is! I’m trying to catch up!
  • We lost the first member of my mother’s sibling group when my Uncle Herbert Rasnake passed away earlier this year. It’s hard and it makes you face more changes.
  • And the biggest change was leaving our beloved church and places of service. But God had been calling and we know He is at work in our lives for a new work. But it’s hard and we miss our friends, our church and our places of service!

Tonight is New Year’s Eve 2014, my 26th wedding anniversary and I am spending it soul-searching, SICK (and tired of it!) and watching the movies Fireproof, Facing the Giants and Courageous! As I sit here in the dark crying my eyes out, I am thirty minutes before a new year begins. Through these messages, God has certainly gotten my attention!

Through Fireproof, He has reminded me how precious the covenant of marriage is, how fragile it is if we don’t work at it and how I must commit daily to trust Him to be the wife I need to be.

In the movie Facing the Giants, God challenged with a hard question- Have I given Him my all and my best? The harder answer is “No!” I’ve gotten complacent and focused on the challenges that I’ve faced this year- GIANTS, REALLY BIG GIANTS, GREAT BIG SCARY GIANTS!!!! And because I am a “good, Christian girl” I have convinced myself that I’ve somehow done enough. BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH FOR GOD!

It’s hard being disconnected as we search for our new place of worship. It’s hard not knowing where we “fit” anymore. It’s hard not having a purpose right now. It’s hard just being still and “waiting.” As I listened to the words of the song tonight in the movie Fireproof, I was reminded that I need to “Trust Him while I’m waiting…”

I haven’t done that very well. This journey we’re on isn’t easy. It’s hard! Really hard! And we don’t have that soft-spot of our church to rely on but I know that that’s because God is teaching me that He’s the soft-spot! And as my sister would remind me right now, the problem with that is about 12 inches- that approximately the distance between my head (knowledge) and my heart (which needs to really grasp onto that Knowledge!)

So my friends, sisters, and others, tonight I am beginning my new year with obedience. God has been on me for some time to write my story. I don’t know why and I’ve put it off – not sure why, maybe it’s because of fear, ridicule or just the reminder that I’m nothing special. But I am special to God and He is definitely at work in my life. I don’t know when, why or what is next. But this blog begins this phase. It will be the things that He impresses upon me to share publicly. I don’t know how He will use it but I know I’m supposed to begin. 2015 seems like the right time. I think part of it is because I know He’s pulling back the layers, He wants real dialogue and not the “church-going, good-girl mask” I’ve been wearing for so long. He wants honesty and He gives hope in the midst of terribly dark days!

So, Father, thank you for this journey, this sickness on New Year’s Eve that kept me home watching movies that had a message for me and for your unending mercies!

Bring on 2015!