Hi all! I remembered I have a blog! Unfortunately, it really has become something that I no longer have an interest in maintaining, so this will most likely be my last post indefinitely. But, I’ll try to make it a good one!
Let’s do a 2014 recap of the awesome and not so awesome things that have happened in my life!
The biggest thing that changed for me this year was leaving my teaching position after 12 years and accepting a new one. I felt the Lord leading me in a different direction, not only in teaching, but in how many hours I worked. Once I committed to accept this leading, He provided a new job for me in a matter of 3 weeks. It was fast, overwhelming, terrifying, and exciting all at once. Naturally, I over-analyzed the decision to death and spent a couple of months prior to the big change (the job was offered to me in June, to start in August) in abject fear and anxiety. But, His still small voice led me forward, and I can look back and see that it was for the very best. I am so happy to be where He has brought me.
A major catalyst in my consideration for a new job was to step back and focus on my art. The hours I have been provided have allowed me to devote more time to painting, submissions, and building my portfolio. I had a piece on display at the SD Fair during the summer, I made my first international art sale, I experienced my first ‘rejection’ of submitted work for a national show, and I was contacted by an art scout seeking new talent. As of now, I have put the submission for the scout on hold, as I do not feel that the Lord has given me a green light to proceed. It is an honor, and it would be a huge step forward, but I feel very strongly in keeping the commitment I made to Him, which was that if He saw fit to move me ahead in the art world, I would strive to seek wisdom and discernment before taking any steps, and that my art and art relations would glorify Him above all else. In doing so, I have ruled out galleries, shows, and organizations that promise immediate exposure, but I move on in trusting His ultimate plan and goal in this area of my life.
I am still trudging along, slowly but surely. At the end of 2013, I injured my foot while running, and subsequently the doctor ordered me not to run for a minimum of 4 months while my foot recovered. At the beginning of 2014, I started hitting the pavement again, very cautiously. It took a number of months to get back to where I had been, but I have since exceeded those small milestones. I will never consider myself an avid runner, and certainly not a long distance runner, but it is my primary source of exercise and stress relief. Recently, I began trail running, which I absolutely love. Additionally, I go to the gym regularly and hike one to two times a week. The progress has been steady, which is all I really want.
After a sabbatical from attending church that lasted for several months, and nursing a deeply wounded heart, I have returned to a church that I love. I have made some new friends, reconnected with old ones, and am finally experiencing healing. It isn't something I've shared here, but my close friends and family know that over a year ago, I had my heart broken in a profound way. The direction of my life seemed to come to a screeching halt, and I walked away from it questioning my faith, my decisions, and even my worth. My parents, my close friends, and my mentors came alongside me in ways that still make my heart ache with gratitude and love. And God used them to nurse me back to health. This past year especially, though it actually happened in 2013, was pivotal, for it was in 2014 that God moved me out of a place of pain and bitterness and showed me that the spring would come again. It has been through this season of healing and restoration that I have been able to reflect on how He has carried me, and has been my strength, in my brokenness. However, I've recently been made aware of some baggage that I carry from that hurt…namely the walls I have built around myself. I tend to sass and joke around, but I had my ‘ah ha’ moment a few weeks ago as to why that is: if I am keeping you laughing, or guessing, then I won’t have to be vulnerable. I use dry humor to deflect from transparency, and it is obviously something the Lord wants me to work on, otherwise I am sure He wouldn't have brought it to my attention. Right? Vulnerability is painfully difficult for me. I was vulnerable once, I let my guard down…and I was hurt. And yet, in spite of my trepidation and stubbornness, it seems to be the area that God is moving me to grow in. I apologize, I have gone off on a ‘self-awareness’ rant…all of that to say, I am loving this new season, my church, my church family, and how He has been moving in my life.
Anyway, that pretty much sums up 2014. It was quiet, in many ways, but good overall. I am looking forward to what 2015 will bring, the lessons I will certainly learn, the people I will meet, and the seasons of life I will walk through.
I hope your year was filled with great things, and wonderful experiences. Enjoy the last few days of the 2014!