I have been somewhat "absent" from the blog and social media for the last month. I have spent time catching up and staying connected through instagram but I have purposefully been taking a little time away to rest, spend extra time with the Lord in prayer and in His word, and with dear family and friends (near and far).
But if I am honest, I have mostly been unplugged. Life throughout the end of November and December was a whirlwind of activity. From finishing a wonderful blessing of lots of orders for the shop to the release of my first book, it seemed non-stop for a while and a retreat was absolutely necessary.
And I have been spending a lot of time thinking and praying.
And marveling again at how God works in our lives in unique ways that we could never have imagined.
This gal who has never liked to be the center of attention and whose voice used to shake anytime she had to speak in front of a large crowd has been sharing her life publicly and voluntarily (at that) on this blog for almost two years now.
And... sharing personal stories and lessons in magazine articles & a second book that will be published soon along with thoroughly enjoying the opportunities when the Lord opens the door for me to speak (and not even getting nervous at all).Honestly, it leaves me speechless. If you would have told me three years ago that this is what my life would look like I would have stared at you in disbelief and thought that you were a little insane. Honestly, I probably would have been scared out of my mind. There would have been NO way I could have imagined all that has transpired.
Put me in front of a classroom full of students who I can live life with any day but other ways of living life "publicly"- absolutely no way. I have said this often-I love people, but I am a "private person" in many ways. But then... slowly and surely the Lord started moving me completely out of my comfort zone, stripped my life to "ashes", and has given me the strength to face each day to fight two serious diseases, and His goodness overwhelms me and the pain. And my heart longs to give Him glory for all He is doing.
And I am in awe of Him.
As we move forward into a new year I am reminded of all of these things in light of what an incredibly difficult year 2014 was. In many ways it was so full of hard times that outweighed the "happy times". 2014 was filled with incredible pain, deep and aching loneliness at points, and countless tears. I don't think that if I had the choice I would want to repeat most of 2014 but in other ways the deep adversity brought about a rich depth of my relationship with the Lord, deepened true friendships, and has taught me in new ways to appreciate the simple things that surround us each day.
In other ways I have never been so grateful for 2014. The Lord blessed me with an amazing miracle of a lovely cruise, the release of my first book, an opportunity to learn an important lesson on History, learning about delighting in the ordinary, starting to grow my buisness, and following the Lord on the adventure of SEEN Gathering.
And the biggest answer to prayer and the most amazing gift... a team of amazing qualified doctors who are helping me beat this disease and gain my life back.
As I look back on the incredibly painful and difficult times of 2014 and remember with gratitude the miracles that have happened. I look to the future year in wonder of what God is going to do next.
In many ways I know that this is journey that the Lord has me on is something that I would have kept very private if it was up to me. Things that I would have recorded in my journal for my little heart alone. (*smiles* Let's be honest- all of you that know me know that if I had known I was going to not only be diagnosed with Lyme Disease, but Cancer too there is no way that I would have even started writing this little blog! *giggles*)
But in the midst of life being all about "me" I see in new and great ways that God is faithful. He shows us the light for our steps each day we are on and tells us to leave the future in His hands. And His word and scripture show us how to be obeying Him in the daily- even when it is scary or uncomfortable. I am reminded of the truth of scripture that states that "obedience brings blessing"... and I see that in so many ways through this growth and stretch of sharing this journey with you sweet friends.
Sharing the pain of illness, the heart-wrenching grief of certain circumstances, and the beautifully answered prayers of ordinary days has changed me in a thousand different ways.
My heart has never known the beautiful love of Jesus so tenderly and personally as this year. This blog has helped challenge me, encourage me, and grow me. This blog forces me to come to the cross anew as I examine what I am learning and sharing with y'all. This little blog gives me one more opportunity to be reminded that Hope is ever present in our lives.
So as we approach not only a new year, but each new day with the wonderment and expectation I accept with gratitude that if we allow the Lord to use everything in our lives for his glory we can't help but be changed by Him.
By His mercy.
By His love.
By His faithfulness.
As I expectantly look to the Lord (Micah 7:7) for 2015, I see the Lord's gentle nudging and love reminding me that He has created me and will lead me on the path that I take. Truly, Yahweh charts the course. And as we look to the new year I am joyfully content to recognize that the Lord has given me an "artsy old soul". A soul that God created to live out the verse that He truly makes beauty from ashes. I can't wait to live fearlessly ("sine-timore") and expectantly with you this year friends, stepping out in even more faith. I can't wait to share with y'all some this next steps of this caravan and cheer you on on yours!
As we say "goodbye" to 2014 I pray the Lord's greatest blessings on you sweet friends. Happy New Year! I can't wait to live life with you in this coming year!
With Lots of Love, Rebecca