I’m not sure I did a very good job writing blog posts about courage last year; but as I look back over the year I do see glimpses of courage amidst all the major life changes that took place.
My husband stepped into full-time ministry taking a job at our church. This was a courageous move for both of us because of the significant pay cut that comes with a transition like that. I’ve heard people say that if following your dreams means you make less money you are unlikely to miss the money you lose. In our case, that has been 100% true. Stepping into ministry has been a huge blessing for Brian and I have enjoyed watching him grow into his new role.
Then, God blessed us with our first child. If becoming parents isn’t an act of courage I don’t know what is! I feel like I was pregnant ALL YEAR, and when you look at the months I kind of was. I conceived in January 2011 and gave birth in October 2011. In my world we like to “round up” so yeah I was pregnant for a year. Its kinda scary to be pregnant for the first time. You have a human being INSIDE you and its your job to make sure your body is as healthy as possible for the child to grow and eventually come out. And lets face it, the literal “coming out” part is REALLY scary the first time you do it. Thank God for giving me courage to carry and deliver a child.
Another huge step of courage is one that I have not really blogged about yet… I plan to go more in-depth about it in the future but for now let me just say that the biggest “leap of faith” requiring courage for me personally was quitting my job. Through a long series of events including much prayer, scripture reading and discussion with our godly counsel, Brian and I decided that I would stop working full-time after LucyKate was born. I am still working, just not in the same job. Ill be working part-time in a different job but still working at my church. My job as communications director was a big one that came with a great deal of responsibility and I knew that I couldn’t do both my job as a communications director and a mom and do both well. I am not saying all women should follow my lead, I am just saying that for me there as no way I could do both well. One would have suffered and I knew in my gut that choosing to put my new baby girl first for this season of life was the right decision for our family. This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I love my job. I had an amazing boss and I adored the team that I led. Not to mention, Ive worked in this field for nearly 15 years and was finally in my “sweet spot” professionally. Courage definitely played a significant role in my life during this season of professional transition.
Finally, our theme of courage rounded out 2011 as we rented our 1 bedroom condo that we own and moved 20 miles west into the real suburbs. When you live in DC, you consider anything across the river the suburbs. But when you live across the river, you still feel like you are in the city if you live in or just outside of “the beltway.” Well, after 5 years living in the District, we moved to Tysons in 2005 and lived there for 6 years. So after 11 years of essentially living IN the city, we now live in Leesburg, which to me is the country. I know its not *really* the “country” but the change has felt like that for me. Although there was no way we would’ve lasted long in a one bedroom as a family of three; I have still really struggled with “letting go” of our old place. It truly was a “home” to me. Its the longest I have ever lived in one house. It was the first “house” (condo) that I ever owned. Its where we started out as husband and wife. We have so many great memories in that place. Its hard to let go of that. On the other hand, our new apartment we are renting in Leesburg is AH-MA-ZING and the best possible living arrangement we could have asked for given our budget and circumstances. Brian’s commute is practically non-existent. We live in a cute little town center and can walk to shops, restaurants, a bowling alley, a movie theater, and our new gym. Which by the way, we both said goodbye to Gold’s Gym where I had been a member for 10 years and Brian had been a member for 15 years, to join LA Fitness which is the gym within walking distance of our place. Random side fact but still worth sharing.
Needless to say LOTS and LOTS of change on all levels this year. And you have to have COURAGE to face the music and make changes. Despite all the courage talk, unfortunately my body had had enough change by the end of the year and in December I came down with shingles. Shingles is basically chicken pox reactivated. When you get chicken pox the virus remains in your nerve beds and when your body endures physical stress to the point of weakening your immune system, the virus can “break through” and it re-emerges as shingles. Thankfully we caught it early enough and I started taking the anti-viral within the first few days of the outbreak which contained the spread of the actual rash. And, PTL, LucyKate did not “catch” the virus (which would have emerged as chicken pox in her, you can’t catch shingles, you can only catch chicken pox). In any event, shingles is impervious to courage and ravaged my right eye, forehead and scalp. The rash is gone now, but the nerve pain is still there and its excruciating. I have lots of meds I am taking for it, but they mostly just “take the edge off” they dont get rid of the pain/burning sensations. I have no idea when this will totally go away for good, my doctor says it could take up to 2 months. I sure hope not!
Anyway, thats the basic update for 2011. God definitely showed up in all kinds of ways relative to my “one word” for 2011.
Now for my one word 2012…
It didn’t take long for me to figure out my word for 2o12. But it did take me a while to say it out loud. This is the scariest word for me. This is the word I’ve been avoiding pretty much my entire life. This is also the word that has the power to transform me in ways that are LONG overdue. Yet simultaneously, this word is essential to our survival in 2012.
My One Word for 2012 is: DISCIPLINE
I’ve paid A LOOOOOOTTTTT of lip service to discipline in the past. This time its legit. I am asking God to teach me everything there is to learn about discipline. I am ready to reorder my life and do whatever it takes to allow discipline to do its work in me. I have resisted discipline for far too long. Its time to face the music and get this show on the road.
As I did last year, I’ve been tuning into Passion 2012 online via the live stream. Ive already been so moved by the teaching and the themes there. But the message that the Holy Spirit keeps pounding in my heart is that this year the work and the action and the change that God wants from me is internal. This is SO hard for me to admit, because alot of the talks are challenging us to DO SOMETHING about the unthinkable injustice of human slavery in our world today. Usually I hear messages like that and the activator in me immediately starts dreaming of leading a group to action on some level or in some other way jumping into the action. And this is an issue that makes me want to jump to my feet and rush to help. Yet the Lord is saying to me NO, the action and the change and the transformation and the leading I want from you is INTERNAL. And DISCIPLINE will be the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in me this year.
So I invite you to hold me accountable! Ask me how its going and if you don’t see alot of blog posts going up ASK ME WHY because keeping up with the writing here is part of the discipline that I need to follow/act on this year.
So there you have it. Courage carried me through 2011 and Discipline will, Lord willing, work out some long over-due things in me in 2012. Its going to be a TOUGH year. But I just had this thought…
If courage carried me through last year, and discipline refines me and secures my foundation this year, what in the world could God have instore for 2013???
I am positive it will be immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine…