In this last week of 2011, I’m thinking about the year, and my mind is tempted to focus on the disappointments. In early 2011, I was scheduled to speak with Women of Faith in 14 cities, including my hometown, Washington D.C., and several other east coast cities. I was pumped because many friends and family members were planning to come, and I’d be able to see them. But as it turned out, I only spoke twice—in Des Moines and Columbus—and had to tell my east coast friends that I wouldn’t be speaking in their cities. I was no longer with Women of Faith.
Another great opportunity came my way in the spring, brought by my publishing team. I worked for two or three months on the first few chapters of a novel for a proposed new series that we were excited about. But ultimately, we didn’t get the approval we needed. The great opportunity fell by the wayside, and I had to rework the novel entirely, under deadline.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of where I could go when I think through the disappointments of the year, and it doesn’t touch on issues that affected my family. But I refuse to allow those things to define my year. I choose to define my year by God’s goodness and faithfulness.
In those disappointments—both personal and professional—He took me to deeper levels of trust and humility. He clarified my priorities and His purpose. He revealed the relationships that were true and ones that weren’t. And He gave me you. You have encouraged, comforted, prayed, laughed, cried, and everything in-between on this blog—and not just with me, but with one another. My heart overflows with thanksgiving as I think through this year, and you’re a big reason why.
I’m also thankful about where I was able to think through the year—Hawaii. Many of you know that one of my absolute favorite things is talking to God against the backdrop of ocean and mountains. So I can’t thank God enough for the blessing of spending such special time with Him and with my family as I put my year in perspective and prayed about the next.
I’m praying for all of you too, a prayer that’s been on my heart from Philippians 1:9-11:
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Have you put your year in perspective through God’s eyes? What are you thankful for about 2011?