A little over a week ago marked three years that we have lived in North Carolina. I do this thing all the time where I look back at the last year. It happens at random times, but often when we hit a milestone, like the anniversary of a move, or the birth of a child, or a career change in your late thirties.
This time last year I was one month into signing my contract to have Seeking Christmas published. I was celebrating the one year anniversary of my blog (now we are at 2 years), and I had never considered speaking in front of groups of women or attending a writers conference.
I find my joy increases when I focus on celebrating growth and progress rather than always looking to where I want to go. A thankful heart replaces a discontented heart. I’m a long way from what I dream for a writing and speaking ministry, but at the same time I’m further than I ever imagined. I’m not the person I want to be, but God tells me He’s not through with me yet. I’m a work in progress, and the progress is reason to give thanks.
In the last year God has opened doors, closed doors, blessed opportunities, revealed areas of sin that were hindering my personal growth, taught me how to fight fear with trust, and most importantly how to be thankful.
Now I stand on the brink of what I feel is a new year beginning. Spring reveals new growth, new life, new beginnings, and fresh starts. Where bareness once resided, new life begins to sprout. At this time last year, I was so excited about the start of my “real” writing journey. Today, I find myself in awe over what God has done. How he is always revealing Himself to me.
I attended She Speaks last summer and looked around at the amazing women with thriving blogs and books on the bestseller’s list. And I started to panic. Then Lysa TerKeurst made a statement that stuck, “Get better before bigger.” That one sentence gave me the freedom to focus my efforts on doing what I loved, releasing me from the pressure of growth. More importantly, that sentence shifted my focus back to God off of myself and results.
This blog has grown more than I imagined over the last year. Yet, it’s still so small. I like small. I crave intimate relationships that are fully transparent and completely authentic. I have that here with you. And I treasure it.
Thank you for allowing me into your lives. Thank you for the way you speak into my life. I’m so blessed by this community of readers and friends who desire to honor God with their lives and open up with each other to spur us on.
I felt the need to share this because the next few months are going to be very busy around here, and my posts may decrease to once a week rather than twice a week. More details to follow soon. Briefly, I’m attending 2 writers conferences, I’ve written a third of my next book, my sweet munchkins will be home all day, every day, and we are hosting an orphan for 5 weeks again with NHFC. In the midst of all of that, I’m committed to maintaining simplicity and celebrating the small, slow, and sacred life that summer brings.
This summer I want to celebrate growth daily.
If you look back over your last year, where do you see progress and growth worth celebrating?
Is there an area in your life you are still waiting to see growth happen and change take place? Me too.
I have a little practical application for us today. Write a letter to yourself describing your situation. In that letter, describe how that situation would look if you had your choice. Paint the picture you dream of. Then do something radical. Pray. This will accomplish 2 things. First, you will bring it purposefully before God. Second, in your own mind, you will change your focus. Rather than focusing on what isn’t, you will focus on what could be if it aligns with the will of God.
Is there a relationship you wish looked different? Is there a ministry you want to start? Is there a new job you want to explore that better uses your gifts? Is there something your heart aches for that you’ve stopped praying about? Is there an area of sin you know God is calling you to fight?
Today, write that letter to yourself. This summer commit to praying daily, thanking God for His blessing and boldly requesting His blessings. Thank Him for the opportunity to see growth take place. Then prepare to celebrate that growth. Summer is for growing. Summer is for celebrating.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”