Mark and I spent another wonderful New Year's Eve with my grandparents in Ft. Worth, Texas. The drive there and back always gives us several hours of time to talk about all kind of things with no agenda. On the way back we were reflecting on our 2012 and looking forward to what is to come in 2013.
We noted how interesting it is that Mark's year and my year were both very different, even though we are married and experienced the same year. Mark got a new job that he loves this year that allows him to work from home, and he started teaching in a ministry in the church that he loves. He had a big year for good reasons, and it was awesome.
My year was very different. My year was the year of sickness and conflict. Ha. I started out the year with a toothache that led to a crown in January, which two months later led to a root canal and another crown, which led to a reaction to my antibiotic that nearly crippled me, which led to about six months of on-and-off joint pain (really it still lingers to a small degree), which led to a cold, which led to a six weak-ish long sinus infection, which led to another cold, which finally led to a corneal abrasion to round out my year of good health. I had one hour of sick time left at the end of the year. It was also a year of internally working through a recent relational conflict and ending that was just really tough. I told Mark I felt like a lot of the year I was just going through the motions. Lots of really hard things happened. All of that on top of working full-time and going to grad school full-time. Yikes!
Mark said the hardest part of the year for him was watching me be so sick. I'm sure my periodic meltdowns over my lame sauce immune system didn't help matters. He's so sweet. But thankfully, I am healthy right now. I am even going to a nutritionist now. I am trying to strengthen my immune system and have added more cardio to my workout routine to get that blood flowing more.
Of course, I can't end this blog complaining about my year, because we all know I really don't have anything to complain about. I was trying to think about what the highs were for the year. I didn't have any big accomplishments personally this year or any big personal events. Now that I'm married, working, and in school, there's not room for much else! I've gotten most of the big things out of the way.
And so as I sat and pondered what my highlight was, it finally hit me. I realized it wasn't an accomplishment, it wasn't a new purchase, it wasn't an event - it was a new friendship. This past spring my mom had asked me to consider being a mentor in the women's mentoring program, because she is the director of that ministry at our church. I basically said, "No way, no how, leave me alone, I don't have time for that." But, as the Lord always does, he began working on my heart. He showed me that in the midst of my current life turmoil, perhaps the best thing I could do would be to get my focus off of my miserable existence and onto (gasp) someone else. My mom kept pestering, and finally I told her that if they ran out of mentors and needed more, I would consider being a mentor.
Well, lo and behold, they didn't have enough mentors. After the program had started, a young newlywed emailed my mother and told her she wanted a mentor. Amazing how that works. And so I got a barrage of "you would be a perfect match with this girl" and "everyone thinks you should be paired with her" (which at the time was somewhat obnoxious). This time, I told my mom I would pray about it, and to please stop asking me. It hardly took any time before I contacted my mom and told her if that girl still needed a mentor, I would do it.
You guys. I do not even know where to begin. The Lord knew exactly what I needed. Alex and I began our friendship and mentoring relationship and we quickly realized that we were kindred spirits. We connected from our first meeting at Starbucks and our friendship has continued to grow. We read a book on marriage together, we had fun together, we shared our joys and our hurts, and we prayed for each other. We even hung out as couples. Alex is a sweet and tenderhearted person who has helped me see the importance of being compassionate and has inspired me to always be looking for ways to share the gospel with those around me. She is a complete joy and the biggest new blessing I experienced in 2012. I am so thankful that the Lord gave me a kick in the pants to do something outside of myself, and so amazed at the abundance that resulted. I am looking forward to our friendship growing in 2013.
All of the time I spent with Alex was worth it and then some. It's amazing how the things we "don't have time for" are the things that we need the most.
Sweet Karlie and I had lunch today and we were looking forward to 2013, and talking about what would happen. We are going on a family cruise this month and are so excited. This should be the year I graduate from seminary, and should also be the year that we are debt-free (outside of our mortgage). I have a feeling this year will be a year of better health, a year of growing closer in my friendships, a year of loving Mark even more deeply, and a year of becoming closer as a family.
Above all, may this be a year of serving the Lord with our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Bring it on, 2013.