Years In Review

Christmas passed in a blur and I woke up suddenly to discover that the new year was  upon us. I was totally unprepared: not a piece of cabbage or a black-eyed pea in the house (Jeff was totally fine with that)! 🙂 Many of my PW friends online were writing posts about their verse for the year or the theme that God had laid on their heart for the coming year. I immediately thought “I wish I could do that…too bad it’s already January 1st… maybe next year.” But then I began to think and pray and wonder…If I had planned ahead and prayed and prepared…what theme would God have wanted me to focus on this year? What theme would I say He led me towards last year? My eyes suddenly opened and I realized that God is not bound by our time frames. He is perfectly capable of  leading me towards something new on January second even though I thought I had missed it on January first. I began to pray and reflect, and I noticed a theme from previous years.

keep-calm-the-lord-himself-will-fight-for-you2011 Theme: Faithfulness & Trust. This was a rough year. Our complainers were in full swing and our supporters were dropping like flies. Our church was experiencing no growth whatsoever. Everything we tried was met with opposition. Even our “friends” and leaders in the church began criticizing and undermining even our smallest of efforts. In the midst of the frustration and discouragement God called us to be faithful. And we were. Then the crud hit the fan. We stood up to the nay-sayers one too many times and they were moved to action. They unexpectedly called for our resignation from the church. We were floored. Then God called us to Trust. He Himself fought for us and proved Himself (once again) to be faithful. In 2011 we learned what it meant to be faithful no matter what because God is always faithful and absolutely can be trusted.

2012 Theme: Forgiveness & Healing. Needless to say, after our horrible experience in 2011 it was hard to continue on with ministry. However, God spent over a year gently leading us towards a place of forgiveness and healing. We began the process of forgiveness in the midst of the turmoil of 2011. We had to. Otherwise, the bitterness and anger would have consumed us. But during 2012 we learned that forgiveness is not a one-time event. We had to continually choose to forgive those who had done us wrong: those who had actively worked against us and those who had simply abandoned us in our time of need. God used us during this year to model forgiveness to our people who were left. They, too, had been hurt by the previous year’s turmoil, but were much slower to forgive. By actively forgiving those who had hurt us, we were able to prove to our people that true forgiveness is possible with God. In September 2012 I was able to go to the Leading & Loving It retreat. I had gone the year before and received so much encouragement in the midst of my pain. This year I was determined to be the one offering encouragement to others…after all, I had been through a lot and come through it all extremely well! But then we all began to talk and share our struggles and I discovered that what I thought were merely scars were actually festering wounds. I was still hurting and grieving and dealing with the pain the previous year had caused. God used some sweet ladies along with the power of His Word to show me that being hurt is not the same as being bitter…but it can lead to that. And just because I was actively trying to forgive and move forward, I could not experience true healing in my heart without being willing to let go of the pain. I looked up all the instances that the word “healing” is used in Scripture (Thank you, Biblegateway.com) Did you know that everyone who came to Jesus for healing during His time on earth was healed? Jesus never turned away anyone who asked for healing! I realized that I must not only ask God to help me forgive and move forward, but I also needed to ask Him to heal my broken heart and take away the pain. (As a side note, God sometimes does not say yes to our request for physical healing because He has a greater plan in store…see Paul in 2 Cor. 12… but this is not a theological blog so we will move on…) 🙂 I am happy to say that God has brought healing to my heart this past year. It still makes me sad when I think of what happened but the pain is being used to make me stronger and ready for what God has in store for me next…

What do you think? Have you noticed a theme for your past year? It’s not too late… what do you think God wants your theme to be in 2013?

 

** OK…so my husband just read this post and told me that “the crud hit the fan” in 2010. Has it really been that long? Oh, well…the point is still the same: faithfulness & trust… guess it took me 2 years to work that one out. 🙂

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Years In Review

  1. Thanks for sharing. I had VERY similiar experience in 2011/2012. My faith and trust in God definitely grew during 2011. 2012 ( and still today) I am working on the forgiveness/healing part. Just when I think I’m “over it,” tears and pain creep in. I am looking forward to what God has in store to teach me in 2013!

    Like

    • So sorry you had a similar experience, but so glad God is bringing about healing & forgiveness in your life. It definitely takes time but it’s so great when you can look back on the bad stuff and recognize God’s hand through it all. Praying God’s best for you in this new year! 🙂

      Like

  2. This “crud “you speak of hit this “not so perfect preachers wife “,also… which began in 2011 and my world eventually turned completely upside down in June of 2012 . In the midst of all that chaos another blast of “crud” hit me a couple months later. I have not recovered yet, these major blows have shaken my faith and my personal life deeply. My dear daughter follows your blogs and sent me your information in hopes i would find “healing” through your posts. I’m definitely encouraged by everything I have read. I stand in wonder how two souls can have so much in common and have never met, or known of each others existence. It can only be one of God’s wonders, who never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for being an instrument through whom many will continue to be blessed and encouraged. I will look forward to keeping in touch with your ministry.

    Like

    • Oh, Sandra~ I am so sorry for what you’ve had to go through. It is unbelievable how many women in ministry have been treated badly by those they work so hard to love and lead. Thank you for your comment. It made me glad I shared…even though I debated long and hard about whether or not to write about my experiences. In the midst of my hurt and anger, God showed me that I am not the only one who has been “done wrong” by church people. It helped so much to know that I am not alone. Other, too, have been betrayed, hurt, abandoned…and they have come through it stronger, closer to God, and better prepared for future ministry (even if they did not remain in church ministry). Healing is possible in time…eventually…I think… 🙂 I am glad your daughter connected us- maybe we will meet in heaven one day- kindred spirits who have passed through the fire and were not burned up! I will be praying for you, my friend-who-I’ve-never-met 🙂

      Like

  3. Pingback: Through the Fire- Not Smelling Like Smoke « Confessions of a Not So Perfect Pastor's Wife

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s