2012 was a year I was more than happy to kiss “good-bye.”
Overall, the year was a bit of personal insult…full of trials, physical set-backs & injuries, financial frustrations and found many of our kids hung-up in various battles, feeling defeated by apparent lack of clarity and vision.
To make matters worse, we got a gut-kick as the holidays approached with realizing we may have been dealt another blow: No more child support. I had to eat some bitter herbs over the ungratefulness I’d had towards receiving “so little,” to receiving nada. Ouch!
I had spent much of the year trying to get physically healthy. Suffering a rotator cuff tear, 2 labrum tears, developing frozen shoulder and debilitating sciatica found me in excruciating pain, confined to bed at times, and physical therapy seemed to be my new part-time job…hard to feel strong or hopeful when coping daily is a struggle.
Every one of our kids suffered injuries, also resulting in physical rehab. It turned into a “family affair” with sometimes three or four of us being worked on together. It did bring on a few jokes and laughs, but the physical reality just spoke to the greater truth; we were all struggling to fix and heal some broken places.
All our cars got damaged, ironically most were in our own driveway running into eachother, appliances quit working, all these unexpected medical bills and copays…it just seemed to go on and on.
One of those tough years that didn’t produce a whole lot of inspiration with all the challenges. For me, it was just a messy, messy year.
There were a few incredible highlights. First, our oldest daughter successfully completed her 11 month commitment to The World Race, and came home safely and in good health. I’m forever indebted to those who journeyed with our family in prayer and support of Britni’s amazing adventure. Her arrival is one of those precious moments I will go to my grave smiling over!
Another stand out, Barrett already had to undergo hip surgery with a 4 inch titanium screw holding his left femoral capitol in place, when he began to show symptoms of the “good hip” also beginning to slip. He was at school one day and froze without being able to support his weight. “Here we go again” I thought. But we went to prayer on this and asked God to deliver and heal him. After meeting with his surgeon, the doctor remarked, “Well, interesting. I’ve never seen this before. It appears that his hip ball indeed was slipping, but if you look closely, see that ring? That indicates that the body began to heal itself of an evident slip. He won’t have any further worry of this happening again.” We witnessed a bona fide miracle of healing and all credit belongs to Jesus!
And another, which seemed to kick-start some hope for me: I’d offered to help at church since Christmas was approaching and had just started to feel better. Though, I wasn’t fully confident I could actually pull off the commitment if they needed something. Since Britni had just gotten back, she also wanted to take part in serving. What started out to be a very minimal need, turned into a full scale staging event for the entire month of December. The freedom to plan, dream, and create with this team was incredible! I had no idea what I was getting myself into, it was scary, challenging, intense, exhausting, exhilarating, extremely humbling, and just the thing God used to open my eyes and draw me close.
And Provide…I’m not saying God didn’t provide along the way, every day. But when you are wrestling face-down in the dust of life, it is often difficult to see the Son is Shining.
I saw incredible things through that difficult season. Leadership came together to facilitate as a team exampling diligent, passionate servant-hood. Our entire family got involved and served with hours of time and energy. My heart grew to overflowing in gratitude for the opportunity to serve, celebrating Jesus grew all the sweeter! The lives that were touched and blessed changed my year of challenge to end with a focus on what matters most. My disappointed, disheartened spirit was truly blessed. HE is Faithful!!!
And then 2013 took off with a wild gallop!!
It seems like ten years of fighting battles has finally broken through with a flood gate of answered prayers! And not just our prayers, but prayers of the Faithful who’ve stood in the gap for us and for our children. Who’ve pounded the Gates of Heaven on our behalf, to bend the ear of our Father to our soulish need, and HE has answered many….!
I want to give Him ALL the Glory for it!! And share the breakthroughs of 2013!! Someone out there needs this as it blesses me all the more to recount His Goodness! He is SO SO Faithful.
While I was recovering at home I was considering what else I could do that wasn’t as physically demanding as design work can be. I decided to get all my coursework done to renew my real estate license. I’d been impressed to take needed time off in 2011 (the worst market locally in recent history) and prayed whether this was something I should reinvest my time in? In the past, I’ve managed to do both design and real estate as they compliment the other.
The prayer went something like this: “God, I don’t know if this is the direction I should go. I don’t have time to waste! I’ll put my hand to anything you ask of me, what is it? I will take the first step, from there I ask you to lead me? If I succeed, it will be because you have knit and orchestrated my path. Also, I don’t want man-made success, I want to see You. You bring me opportunity. You connect the people you want me to work with and serve. I want it to count. I want it to be meaningful. You open the door, I’ll walk through it. I’m trusting YOU to maximize my time. I choose to honor You with all my gifts and talents and trust YOU to make up the difference. Help me. I need You. I will know, without shadow, it is YOU alone who has done this, and I ask You help me to make You known and shine Your Light to those I meet. In Jesus’ Name.”
How much I’ve leaned on the knowledge and intuition of the Holy Spirit in the variety of scenarios and challenges that came my way could fill volumes of corporate minutes! I have so many stories where I was at total loss as to what to do next, where God Divinely showed up to give me solutions to ridiculous problems and issues, where He gave me peace to just walk it out. Where His wisdom came shining through. I have been learning so so much, and have just scraped the surface! He’s protected, sharpened me, challenged my thinking, allowed me to see Him move, instructed me to either act or refrain. And this is amazing since I’m so hard-headed and slow to learn. I don’t have time to stall out. I need to be a first-time listener!!
I’ve watched people take notice of Him. Those who don’t know Him, have become curious. He’s opened doors to share with others who would otherwise have no interest except to how deals affect them, and God showed up anyway. Acting towards their good and favor. It’s been so awesome! He’s taken it to the HNL! I’m just tapping into what He’s trying to teach me on a new level of life that maybe I was blind to or maybe too afraid to invite God into?
The more I grow and know, the more I realize I know nothing.
And it’s such a relief!
Here’s are some highlights from 2013. Many dynamic, powerful miracles and God had everything to do with it!
When on The World Race God called Britni into medicine. It seemed outrageous to imagine how He was going to come through on that one! If fact, the onset of this dream was filled with only challenges and a little hope. She interviewed for the whole person scholarship at ORU and God began to piece His plan together which concluded with her acceptance into the Nursing Program and a fully funded opportunity. There are so many miracles within her story, but it is hers to write!! She is passionately and diligently succeeding at what she is called to do!!
Taylor won a missions trip giveaway to go to Uganda, her hearts’ desire came through in a miraculous and Divinely appointed way. Her name was drawn on a ticket she entered and she was reluctant to hope she’d be picked! She went to Nigeria and Uganda this summer with a team from 99 Balloons. She lost her heart there to ministry and helping special needs children. God led her to change her major and enter the 5 year Elementary Education Masters program at University of Arkansas and is currently working for a special needs program in Fayetteville, diligently pursuing this dream. So many awesome things have grown in her heart!!
Lucas. This one is a whopper!! When Lucas entered this world, he came out performing a somersault. But the umbilical chord was short and caught him mid-flight, securing him in a surrendered position in our doctor’s skilled hands. I have seen the tethering anchor of a Loving Heavenly Father holding steady all along. God has made a way, where there is no way. With a college GPA of 1.something, a highschool GPA of a little better, an opportunity missed to quarterback for OU, and a myriad of other life challenges, what Lucas still had going for him was a hope that only GOD could see him through! Lucas has finally begun living his dream! God is so amazing and so good!! School had already started. Another year apparently missed to turn a new leaf? And then October came. Within a week’s time, Lucas was being invited to attend a D-1 school through their extremely limited “late-start” program to play rugby for a coach who believed in him and wanted him there. Obstacles, mountains, impossibility, were knocked over. Goliaths. Brought down by the Favor and Power of Almighty God. He went from starting school on Monday, to walking onto Notre Dame’s Rugby field by Saturday. By the next Saturday he was playing at OU and we got to see him start. By the next Saturday, he was moved to Varsity. By the next Saturday, he was invited to play on the Nationals team. It just so happens, Lucas’ stint with semi-pro Tulsa Men’s Rugby playing “Sevens” primed him for elite status amongst the traditional “Fifteens” players. The speed to which God has propelled him forward is mind-boggling and breathtaking. Lucas has worked diligently and has done all that he said he would do, including making almost all A’s this semester!! He has been promised a potential full-ride scholarship as a Level One athlete if he keeps up the good work. It’s not about rugby or education, though those will be impacting as well.
It’s about watching God unveil His Goodness in the process.
Olivia. Precious Livie-Lou! Who would have ever imagined this? She announced she wanted to go to YWAM just weeks ahead of school starting. What?? Where did this idea come from? And God just kept coming through with provision. Divine Provision. We found ourselves boarding flights heading to Kona Hawaii before we hardly knew what we were doing! (Also a huge miracle and blessing to get to celebrate our 10th Anniversary together that was simply Divine and a much needed break!!) Who would have dreamt the most powerful global storm ever was about to hit her destination? Who would have thought she’d be willing to go?? Or for that matter, determine she would go straight to ground-zero without a flinch. I’m still taking it all in. So amazing. So miraculous. So God!! Can’t wait to see what the next few months bring as she concludes her journey to the Philippines!!
The rest of the kids and family, especially my Mom, are the support system for us that make this a well-oiled machine that rolls some days at lightning speed. We’re watching Barrett & Cherish thrive and invest time in their gifts and talents as new opportunities begin to come forward. They are just true-blue good kids that have compassionate and giving spirits. We’re so proud of who they are becoming in their young adult lives!! Braeden continues to be such a Light and blessing. A precious, beautiful soul that is like having our own mini-ministering Angel in the house!
And so so much more! This isn’t about accolades, awards or “financial successes.” This is bigger. It’s about watching God extend Himself in a broken area of struggle for me and proving Himself Faithful. Within a few months beginning this year, I capped in sales at my brokerage Keller Williams Realty Preferred. By June I’d made top 10 in sales. What? God. When I thought this locomotive would slow down for the fall, it’s just pummeled straight on through. Defying all odds, I’ve experienced a “spring” market in the dead of winter. Impossible. Yeah. GOD. The most closings all year came in December. What?? God. There’s so much more to share, but the point is, I know my limitations. I know my insecurities and fears. I KNOW who is responsible. It’s ridiculous. And He does it anyway. And the greatest business testimony is this: I have successfully closed every single transaction for the year. 100% success rate. To not have a deal go “bust”? If you don’t know anything about real estate contracts or working with people, (sometimes very difficult people) that is phenomenal. Miraculous. God. And how awesome to partner with Him to facilitate people’s dreams!
The needs of our family are unending and expensive. The load and pressure financially can be defeating and overwhelming. Having new opportunities for our kids has stretched us beyond our capacity. When our kids are called to these things, it’s easy to have doubts and wonder if it’s really from God after all. How amazing that HE comes through anyway.
We understand there is much more to learn as we go forward….
There must be a greater purpose to all of this! Our stories are not our own.
There was a moment of realization when I asked our kids, “What do you think God could do in our family if we all got on His page, trusted Him, and together, prayed that His Will would be done in our lives and futures?”
Here’s what is at stake. His Kingdom. What is HE all about? What is HE trying to do? What part am I supposed to play? Just get in the flow and GO with Him.
I have NO earthly idea what 2014 will bring. I just know this, Living on the side of Resurrection Power is so much more awesome than living on the side of Repentance at the foot of His Broken Cross. Without the first, the second is impossible. I’m learning what this means. Sometimes I’m on both sides, sometimes one or the other.
I believe our Great Hope, is where Jesus is everyday, all day, and forever.
Empowered. Resurrected. Glorious. On Purpose. Fulfilled. Victorious. Where Love and Hope Reigns, Always.
I want to make this daily priority, to be crisply reminded, how short time is, and how important it is to make every moment count. And to fulfill the Call of God, whatever that may be moment by moment.
Love Him. Love Others. Shine His Light. Grow. Mature. Live beyond ourselves by truly living In Him.
Let 2014 be defined by “Jesus Reigns!”
He is Lord of the Harvest….
Happy New Year and Live Your Dash!!