Top 2017 Defining Moments, What I learned & God's word for 2018
Can you believe it's January 1st?! Oh my goodness! How am I spending it? Well, I'm currently sitting up in my bed writing and next to me is my son making funny voices as he plays with his toys. This brings a huge smile to my face because just a few days before, he was crying asking me to pray Jesus would take his pain away. As a parent, there is nothing worse than to not be able to make it better for your child. You see, we spent New Year's Eve in urgent care. We showed up together and waited five hours to hear we all had caught the flu. It was terrible, I mean who honestly wants to spend a holiday sick? Then as we were all in the same room waiting for the ER doctor to discharge us, my daughter says, 'Hey, well at least we are all together!' In that moment, I felt the holy spirits nudge and quickly my attitude changed to one of gratitude. I was no longer focused on the inconvenience of being ill and how what I wanted my ideal holiday to look like, but rather I was grateful for my family. I was thankful for the year He had given me, how much he had done for me and would continue to do in the coming year.
Here is my recap of 2017 and the moments that have changed me forever:
MY FAMILY - The beginning of each year is filled with celebrations. First, is the celebration of four birthdays. Mine, I celebrated 37 years and it was filled with so much joy. You can read more here, my aunt in which I see her more like my second mom, my son who turned seven and my sister Leslie's birthday. Most of you know her as one of my makeup models :) see a look I did on her here! Then my love and I celebrated 16 years of marriage. It's a world wind, I know! I'm so grateful for him and how far the Lord has brought us. He is my constant and the one who brings clarity to my heart when I need it most.
There has also been some difficulties and for my family it was illness. This year we learned that my mother has a brain tumor and still in the New Year we are trusting the Lord and believing for Miracles. It seems as though in every family someone is battling sickness. In 2018 I believe God will bring healing and revelation to us all.
HOMESCHOOL - One thing I'm asked quite frequently is, 'How did you decided to Homeschool?' Much to many's surprise, I tell them that I didn't. I mean, the one that decided for me was the Lord. All I did was say, 'Ok, God!' Mind you it hasn't been easy but He has been faithful. I've seen so much growth in each one of my kids heart, especially from two years ago. When I pulled them out of the public school system, all three hated school. They were crushed in spirit and this is what shut them down from learning. I had to pick up the pieces and start fresh, after receiving help from my dearest aunt Susan (she got us off on the right foot) with providing an assessment test and being dumb founded of all that they had actually not learned. I remember feeling overwhelmed and knelt down and poured my heart out to God. I remember asking Him to help me teach them in the way that would build them up. Teach them to love to learn, teach them hard work, teach them to never give up and most importantly to never allow anyone to make them feel stupid. Many times it's easy for a stranger or even a family member to express their opinion but have had no interaction with the journey that my kids have been through and how far they have come. I think that has been our greatest challenge thus far, it is not allowing others to negate our small but steady progress. We may not be where others feel we should be but we are just where we need to be. Our greatest success as a family is that since stepping out in our faith with God and homeschooling, we have each learned the value of our family. We love on each other more, we have learned that our first priority is our relationship with God and that together we will accomplish what He has set before us. We've learned to communicate our wants, needs and dreams. Of course we fight and of course we are far from perfect but we learned that we can't afford to walk away and shut down. We can't isolate ourselves as that is what the enemy wants and we have learned to put God at the center of it all. One thing is for sure, WE ARE LEARNING!
GUATEMALA for IF: Guatemala - This trip came at a very specific time, I wasn't looking for it and nor did I think I'd want it. You can read more about it here and here but God knew it'd be just what I need for my soul. It was the beginning of my YES to God and let me tell you I will forever be better for the opportunity and will never forget how my faith journey reached a significant high. It defined my trust in God and it made real to me that God will use me in my weakness to achieve His purpose and glory.
MY FIRST IF: TABLE - After coming home from Guatemala and bringing IF: Gathering to the ladies there, I had to come back and host one of my own. This year I look forward to hosting more and seeing what God does!
HARVEY - At first when we heard of the storm approaching us here in Houston, I honestly was like most people and thought it wouldn't be a big deal. Maybe some flooding like the month before but nothing like what did come through. So many lives were change during the course of only days. People are still rebuilding, waiting, and taking it one day at a time. We were fortunate enough to not be impacted with any loss. But, my heart felt the ache of so many and as I watched I had to offer some help and that as a family we did. I remember gathering items and along with my daughters taking them to several churches and also my husband and I teaming up with our church to gut a couples home. One thing for sure is the it brought our city together in a way I have never seen before.
UNITED WE ARE STRONGER,
IF: LEAD - It's so funny how this came about, I remember being in Guatemala and we were traveling to the market to buy gifts before we headed back home. As we were heading there the subject of IF: Lead came up and I remember thinking I would really love to go. But you see during this time, my husband had been laid off from work and we were praying the Lord would open up a work opportunity for him. I was in Guatemala also believing and rebuking stress or worry to creep up and try to overwhelm me while there. It was difficult at times and in the back of my mind I didn't see how financially I could make it to IF: Lead, but God! He is so good, and he definitely always has your life handled. I got back from Guatemala and of course my hubby got a job and by September after all the Harvey chaos, I was in Dallas for IF: Lead with my girls again! This trip was Gods goodness, his peace and him telling me, " Lois, I have a plan for you. Don't you see?!' He met me there and reignited so much passion to continue on, even if my physical eyes failed to see.
GOD'S WORD FOR 2018 - Last year I wrote about my word for 2017 and that word was Peace, read more about here. Looking back, God answered my prayer and gave me immense peace over each circumstance. Peace over my husband losing his job, peace in raising money to go to Guatemala, peace in reaching the ladies of Guatemala while trusting God would provide for my family back home. Peace over our homeschool and how God would take care of what I'd miss, peace over what could happen during Harvey and over all my family. Peace over my husband needing a job that provided him benefits, stability, more time with our family and somewhere he didn't feel depleted. Peace over not knowing what would happen with my mom's tumor, getting the right medical team to give us answers and moving forward with a plan to help her feel better. Guys, God showed up big and I now understand this verse:
This year my word is 'JOY!' I want to have God's joy and I know that He will come through for me with my prayer as he did last year. I know that I must put forth my efforts to seek His Joy daily and I have already begun. I love reading, I especially love quotes and in the last couple years I have found a love for His word. I've learned to prioritize my time with the Lord, I know that if I don't do this, I can easily get lost in myself and then it becomes harder and harder to find that peace and now the joy I'm after. I know myself and I have to put my old way of dealing with life behind me daily and put his way before me. It's a daily sacrifice, a daily dying to self to pursue what He has for me. I have started several different books and devotionals for the year and one of them is this one, it's called LIVE WITH JOY, BELIEVING GODS TRUTH and I've also started SURPRISING JOY by C.S. LEWIS (one of my favorite Authors.)
So after the longest post I've ever written, lol! I want to ask YOU, 'What is your word for 2018?' What are you hoping, praying and believing for? Feel free to leave a comment below, I'd love to interact with you!
So for all of you who have been following me, I want to thank you for all your support and I look forward to what's in stored for 2018! I pray that 2018 brings us unbelievable joy, peace, prosperity, new opportunities, real authentic relationships and that the Lord expands our territory to fulfill His promises in us and through us for His Kingdom, Amen!