I sit in the stillness of my living room this morning, sipping my coffee and reflecting on 2012. I’m so thankful for the many blessings it brought, and for the lessons learned in the hard places. Most of all, I’m thankful for God’s presence and power, and for the fresh understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role in my life as a believer. The reassurance that He lives in me and equips me for whatever life brings my way enables me to face 2013 with courage and confidence.
Yes, life brought many blessings in 2012. There were also difficult times, some of which present ongoing challenges mostly with health and relationships. While I’d choose not to have to deal with them, God has chosen otherwise. And so I’ll take them and let Him to use them to refine me as He deems necessary. Not fun, but all good. I’m sure you can relate.
In the midst of ongoing challenges, I feel as though the Lord lavished His love on me. Here are some the highlights 2012 brought my way:
- Multiple speaking opportunities allowed me to meet countless women. Many drew me aside and shared their stories with me. Some stories warmed my heart; others broke it. I count it a privilege to be trusted with others’ private pain, and to pray for those who hurt.
- February—hosted my first annual weekend getaway for businesswomen. Doing this was a major faith step for me, and God honored it. Thirty-six women came, and we had a great time! The second annual getaway takes place in March 2013.
- February 11—my third grandson was born! Welcome to the world, wee Simon. I love you.
- February 20—celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Grateful for a solid marriage and a godly spouse who builds into my life.
- Also February–Harvest House released Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for Busy Women. It’s a revamp of 10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women, but repackaging it meant reaching a whole new audience.
- March—my husband and I attended our mission’s annual staff conference in Poland. I feel blessed to be part of an organization that gives its staff the freedom to use their giftedness in creative ways to share the Good News. We have some incredibly passionate and gifted people on board.
- May—taught at the Seattle Christian Writers Renewal Conference. Love that conference! My Bible study, Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation, won the Selah Award of Excellence for Bible Studies!
- May—an unexpected health challenge. Symptoms mimicked a heart attack, and I seriously thought my time on earth was over. But God spared me, and doctors have puzzled over me. Follow-up procedures are scheduled for this week, January 2 and 3.
- June—interviewed with Moira Brown on 100 Huntley Street. Was MC at the Write!Canada awards ceremony in Toronto, and taught at the Write!Canada writers conference.
- June brought the blessing of a new book contract with Harvest House Publishers. This devotional—Good Morning, Lord—will contain 180 short meditations and will be released in December 2013.
- July—led short-term ministry teams to Romania and Poland. Saw God work in people’s lives in amazing ways! Wanna join us next summer? In the midst of our summer ministry, I received word that Harvest House issued a second book contract and that the North American Baptist denomination women’s ministry chose to make “Moving from Fear to Freedom” their 2013 theme!
- August—family vacation. I’m so grateful our kids enjoy spending time together, and that my 80-year-old mom could join us.
- Also in August, our family finances dipped to an all-time low due to several huge expenses (car and house repairs, physiotherapy). In the midst of wondering how we’d pay our month’s mortgage, God rushed to our rescue. Interest levels dropped, and we received funds from my in-laws’ estate that enabled us to refinance our townhouse. Amazing.
- September—a third book contract from Harvest House! Overwhelmed (in a good way) by the new doors God is opening.
- October-November—a whirlwind of women’s retreats and conferences in BC, Alberta, and Ontario. Enjoyed a five-day retreat with our International Messengers mission leadership team in Centennial, Wyoming.
- December—rented a local guestroom for two weeks to write, write, write. So thankful for my supportive husband who suggested doing this, and who brought me mid-afternoon lattes. In the midst of my writing marathon, the Newtown tragedy rocked the world and made me realize anew how desperately the world needs Jesus.
Today we stand on the brink of 2013. What will it bring? No one knows, but God is in control. He holds us in His right hand, hides us under His wings, and surrounds us with His promises. He guarantees to direct us, give us wisdom, and provide for our needs. He promises to give us strength, comfort, joy, and peace.
We don’t know what 2013 holds, but we can smile at the future knowing God holds it in His hands. Happy New Year, my friend! May 2013 be filled with blessings and joy, and may it overflow with opportunities to experience God in new and unexpected ways.
Question: What was a highlight for you in 2012?