Not as many "exciting" things have happened this year as last year. I was so focused on preparing for Ellerslie and then going to Ellerslie in 2011. And obviously in 2010, I had Lily and was dealing with grief a lot. So, this was the first year that nothing really "big" happened. After I graduated from Ellerslie, I figured I'd come home and something life-changing would be happening...whether a new chapter in my life beginning or something happening. I am not even quite sure what I mean by "something." But none of what I thought may happen did. Well, that's not entirely true...
In the spring, I made an announcement on my blog that I was going to be the assistant to a young woman who is a Pro-Life speaker. There is a lot to the story and I must be careful in what I say because I don't want to dishonor the Lord or anyone else in my sharing. However, I feel it is time to write about what happened and what God has taught me through it this year. I had become friends with this young woman through both our stories. She contacted me in March and asked if I would be her assistant. It felt like a dream come true and I was beyond thrilled. I had come home and was asking God, "what next?" after Ellerslie. I didn't want to do anything until He showed me that's what He wanted me to do. I know with all my heart that He wants me to share my story, both in speaking and writing. And this opportunity to be her assistant was going to "open the doors" for me to get one step closer to this dream. A dream that I believe God has placed in my heart because it is His dream for me.
I have been praying and thinking about how much of the details to share and I have come to the conclusion that I don't need to share many. A lot of things happened. The assistant position ended up lasting for only a month and a half. By the end of April, it was over. I was devastated when it didn't work out and literally cried my eyes out the night I found out. I was angry, with this girl and with God...I asked Him why would He let it all happen just to end so soon after, before it all truly even got started? I was angry that I was treated poorly and felt totally disrespected. Was I not good enough? I was crushed because it seemed like my dream was finally coming true. It seemed perfect. Then, it all came crashing down so quickly.
I was saddened by it all for a while. I thought I was about to have the opportunity to share my story on a broader scale. I was going to be traveling the country, with the opportunity to share my story with many people in the Pro-Life movement. I was crying out to God, asking Him why, when He began to reveal things to me and spoke gently to my heart...
He has shown me at least partly why He allowed it all to happen. I realized I needed to surrender my life and future into God's hands afresh and trust that He knows what's best for my life and future. He has the plan and timing all figured out. I need to trust that He does everything for a purpose, even all of this. And He promises to work it all together for my good and His glory!
The biggest thing God has taught me through this has been a really tough lesson to learn, but so very necessary. He basically showed me that too much of my identity was becoming my dream of being a Pro-Life speaker and writer. I was literally becoming wrapped up in it. I am not saying this desire in and of itself is a bad thing because it's not. As I said, I know this is a God-given dream and desire. However, anything in our lives can become an idol if we place it above God in our hearts. I knew that I needed this to happen to learn these hard lessons. Was I pursuing the dream or the dream-Giver?
God has shown me I am not to be a "Pro-Life writer and speaker" but my calling is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My story just so happens to be one about unborn life, unplanned pregnancies, and abortion. However, the central focus of my story is JESUS. The only reason standing for LIFE matters is because of the Author of LIFE! Without HIM, none of this matters! What a lesson this is!! I am not to run with all my heart after this dream, but run after my Jesus and trust Him to fulfill those dreams in His own time and way - not mine! And if something doesn't work out that I think seems pretty great, I need to remember that He can see things I cannot.
Before all this happened, I was naive about the "Pro-Life movement." After this experience, I learned a lot about it and realized that just because people say they are "Pro-Life" doesn't mean they love Jesus. And because I share Him, I will be rejected by some. But, I know that I am never to change the message of my story, depending on who I'm sharing it with/where I'm sharing. Maybe my ideas of where I will speak or the type of speaker I thought I'd be are not God's ideas and I need to be okay with that.
A couple other highlights from this year...
In April, I spoke for the second time at Ellerslie Leadership Training in Colorado. I was out visiting my sister at the end of her Basic Ellerslie Semester and God just worked it out while I was there. I am so thankful for that opportunity!
On New Year's Day, I gave Luke Shiloh his name. On February 6th, it's been three years since losing him...so that means it was his first "Heaven Day" that I knew his name. It was the first Christmas that I knew his name. And the first year I knew what his official due-date was. It made it a lot harder in ways because I have made that connection in my heart. I put together a memory box for him and got his name in the sand photo written by Carly Marie. Giving him a name and seeking out ways to honor him has been extremely healing and necessary.
I met my dear new friend named Brittany, who has been such a blessing in honoring Luke with me!
I am now a nanny part-time for three different families. I love all the precious kiddos that I care for! I know that this is not what I will be doing for the rest of my life, but it's where God has me today and for that I am thankful...
Though things didn't happen this year the way I planned, hoped, or thought...I now see that seasons such as the one I'm in are necessary. Sometimes it may feel like big things aren't happening, but that can be the time that God works the most...in our hearts, in our lives. These times are for a purpose...to prepare us for a future only He can see. Instead of being disappointed, sad, or upset about where He has us, may we trust He has a reason for each season. May we cling to Him through the storms, the valleys, the mountaintops, and every place in between.
What about you? What has God done in your life this year? What has He taught you? ...I'd love to hear about it!
I want to say thank you to everyone who reads these words of mine, who loves me and my babies, and supports me. I would love to know that you are here - just leave a comment saying so! :)
Happy *almost* New Year! :)