In a nutshell, 2009 was a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year.
However, I learned alot, felt alot, observed alot, absorbed alot, reflected alot, and lived alot this year. If you read my blog often... you know I like lists... so here goes a few thoughts in each of these categories:
What I've learned: Oh so much... but ultimately, I keep coming back to the lesson that everything I have is not mine. God has blessed me with each and everything in my life... and if He wants it back... it's His to take. I should never be so dependent on the things in my life that I don't depend on the One who gave me life. Also, God is also a heck of a lot smarter than me... and His plans are generally much better than anything I could come up with.
What I've felt: sorrow, anger toward God, the grace of God, the physical and emotional pain that comes from losing someone you love, the amazing support and friendship from SO many people that makes me smile and weep at the same time. I've felt loved... I've felt that I mattered... and I've felt that I have impacted the lives of others... all because of the reaction of other people at the worst time in my life. I've also felt an amazing amount of gratitude this year... for so many things.
What I've observed: You can never know what or how a kind word or small action can influence someone else's life. Being yourself is the best thing to be because you allow others to see you as God's creation, how you are meant to be, rather than what you may pretend to be. There's no point in trying too hard for anything... Do your best, and be your best... that's all God asks, and that's all we should ask of ourselves.
What I've absorbed: I don't really know how to describe this one. If you ever watched the Care Bears... do you remember the Care Bear stare? Here's the explanation from Wikipedia: The Care Bears' ultimate weapon is the "Care Bear Stare," in which the collected Bears stand together and radiate light from their respective tummy symbols. These combine to form a ray of love and good cheer which could bring care and joy into the target's heart.
Now I know this may seem rediculous... but this is truly the best way I can think to describe how I have absorbed the love and support of some many people this year. God put alot of amazing people in my path this year and with a word, a prayer, hug, smile, letter, email, FB post, text message, and a million other ways I have basked in the glow of that care... of the love they have shown to me. I've had alot of dark days over the last six months... but those little things brought light into my dark days... and I will forever be greatful for those small acts that made a big impact.
What I have reflected on: Once again... so much. I think the biggest thing can be described in one of Daddy's favorite analogies of the Valley and the Mountain. No matter how deep you are in the Valley, there is always room and opportunity for improvement and moving up that mountain. No matter how deep you are in YOUR valley, someone else's is deeper. No matter how deep you are in your valley, God will send someone to help you up. No matter how dark your valley, God will shed some light, some clarity, some direction... if your eyes are on Him at the top of the mountain.
Through the loss of loved ones, I have reflected alot on the ones who are still around. God blessed us with a great family. I've never said it to either one of them... but the strength my mom and Aunt Lanell have shown over the last 18 months is so inspiring to me. Yes, they have cracked... but they have stood together and supported each other and led our family and dealt with all the red tape stuff that the others of us are clueless about. My mom is the matriarch of our family at 54 (Which is way too young to be in the position)... and she amazes me all the time. She once told me a quote: "Pressure breeds strength, just ask the diamond," and I think she's lived up to that this year... even though I don't think she realizes how strong she is. Please pray for her that she will see her strength and independance and that God would give her the strength to use those things... There are also several children in our family that just make me smile when I see them. Anna Catherine, Wyatt, Cassidy, Will and Savannah... even on the darkest day to see those sweet children brings a smile to my face and they are such an example of the simple joys in life and how you can love with no limits... I feel like I've grown closer to my brother and cousins this year... even though I live far away from them... I think our shared grief has caused us to recognize how lucky we are to have each other in our lives...
Family, if you are reading this... I love you, I pray for you, and I am incredibly thankful for you.
God has also blessed me with amazing friends... Liz, Kristin, Russ, Ryan, my small group, the GAP class, my RA's and coworkers... we all have our own celebrations and struggles and we can share them with each other. These people have put so much joy in my life this year that I just don't know how to express it... but I thank each of you for it.
How I have lived: Well that changed about mid year... I've quit worrying as much, started loving more (and telling people I love them more), I try my best to live every day with no regrets, not to get mad at myseld so much, I've lived through the Valley and started climbing my way back up... I've lived thankfully, I've lived realistically... I've lived through alot of tears and faced alot of fears. I am trying to live as Daddy theorized, "To be a success at Life, you have to be a success at Living."
I guess in any year end review I should make some comments about goals and hopes for 2010...
- I can't start this without expressing my excitement for the Guatemala trip which take place in just a few short days. I trust that God is putting everything in place and that we will be blessed as a result of our work in showing His love to children, and I'm really looking forward to the love and joy we will receive from them.
- I hope that God will present me with a new opportunities professionally.
- I want to say "I love you" more to my family and friends... I at least want them to know how much I care for them and love them... no matter how far away I may be.
- I want Mawmaw Cole to teach me how to make a pound cake.
- I am going to Bull Riding in NOLA with mom and Shane Easter weekend... so excited about that!
- I want to be healthier...
- I want to save money and possibly take a class on investments?
- I want to show God's love to people each and every day.
- I want to celebrate Daddy's life instead of always being so sad about his loss. I want to smile and laugh instead of cry.
- I want to visit with my out of town friends more often...
- I want to really learn from the Bible... not just read it. I would love to be able to understand the bible like daddy did... and be able to glean daily lessons off and explain them simply.
- I want to live the Serenity prayer on a daily basis.
In fact, I want the Serenity Prayer to be my final prayer of the year...
God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Goodbye 2009... and I'm not sad to see you go, but I'm looking forward to 2010 and all the things that God will show me and teach me this upcoming year...