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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What I Learned in 2014

I haven't had the opportunity to join in with Emily Freeman and the "What I Learned in ____" monthly posts in a while.  So when I saw this link up for what we learned in 2014, it made me so happy! We are with family for the holidays, and I actually have enough time to do this without making myself feel crazy.  I'm going to back and pick out something big from each month to recap 2014 lessons learned.  Sometimes I had time to blog about it, some of these things are still too personal to write about, but have just been lived.  I hope this helps, encourages, or teaches you something!

1.  It is possible to have a totally natural birth, in a car, and everyone turn out healthy, and this be the most unexpectedly beautiful answer to prayer of my life. (January)

2. I didn't know if I could love my baby girl as much as I loved my first child, the boy.  I discovered that I could. Having kids 20 months apart wasn't easy, but totally worth it! (February)

3.  A "little" allergy to wheat when I was 20, turned into a HUGE allergy after my hormones switched up and I had my second baby.  Now I can't eat anything with wheat, or I violently throw up. However, there are so many gluten free products out now, that it's not that bad! I have to mostly follow a gluten free diet, and it's helped me lose a lot of baby weight and resist most of my biggest food temptations, and get creative with meals. (March)

4.  We can search and pray for months about a ministry position, and apply to hundreds of jobs online, but when God wants us to go somewhere, He orchestrates it. (April)

5. Seeing my kid turn two was crazy.  I had a kid TWO whole years ago!? What?! I love him so much! I think I love him more now than before, and I didn't think that was possible the day he was born.  I can't believe I am blessed to be the mommy of this two year old! (May)

6. Ministry life is crazy hard.  We love serving, but it's so much harder, full of spiritual warfare, and doubt, and troubles, and temptations to run away, than we ever expected or prepared to encounter. (June)

7.  Getting to experience life alongside people is amazing.  I prayed for years as a child to have friends.  Now, I have more genuine friends, people who love and care about our family, than I have ever had before.  We are so involved in our community that it feels like we see someone we know every single time we leave our house.  Most days, I absolutely love that level of connectedness.  Some days, it's a little overwhelming, until I just put it right back in God's hands.  "All these people you've brought into our lives, God, help them, bless them, show us how to love them better." (July)

8. I miss teaching first grade. School was fun.  I did like it.  I hope to go back someday. (August)

9. Even when life seems upside down and inside out and messy, difficult, and disappointing, God is still working, and Jesus does all things well. (September/October)

10.  You should NEVER take a stroller on an escalator traveling up, and then chicken out after you've started, and try to jerk the stroller back down the moving escalator.  Sometimes it turns out OK though, and everyone survives, and life goes on. :) (October)

11.  I participated in the "Write 31 Days" project, and am glad that I did.  I attempted to get up early each day because I thought a routine would naturally fall into place from that early rising point, but it didn't.  I discovered that the time I get up does not determine how good of a mother and wife I am going to be that day.  The more I constantly renew my mind through scripture (Romans 12:1-2), and prayer (Philippians 4:6), and praise and music (Psalm 134:2), the better wife and mother I will be that day. This was my closure post. (This took the entire month of October, so it was really learned by November)

12.  Worldwide statistics on human trafficking are the most sickening things I've seen in a while. Over 36 Million people in captivity, forced to work in manual labor or sex trafficking or both, are all over the world.  International Justice Mission (IJM) is an amazing organization that seeks to bring FREEDOM for the captives, and JUSTICE to the perpetrators!  Dressember is a neat campaign that asks women to wear a dress every day of December, in order to bring awareness to human trafficking and the plight of women in bondage worldwide.  I am so honored to have been a participant this year! I wore a dress for almost the entire month  in order to remind myself to pray and to bring awareness to all those I come in contact with via real life and social media.  I attempted at the beginning of the month to raise $300, and I actually made it to $525!  I am so thankful for generous family and friends!  You can read about all 4 weeks here. (December)

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