2013, Oh how I loved you!

Every year I try to do a year round up blog post. They’re normally lengthy and require popcorn, a coke and a fire to read through. I don’t actually expect others to read them, it’s really more for me to chronicle a year of events in my life. No matter how old I get and how much I WANT TO DO BETTER, I’m the world’s worst journal-er ever.

2013 was like none other for me. A first of its kind and the best ever. In other moments, it was the suckiest of sucks.

I started the year off with little expectation. I know, sounds depressing. It kinda was. Sulking, whining, and complete disapproval of my life as-is, especially compared the world of marriages, pregnancies, babies, and job promotions that seemed to monopolize my life and money. Blah. Disappointment and disapproval are such life sucks. A few weeks into 2013, I knew I was either going to need to snap out of it or I was on a fast train to the worst life ever.

I felt the questions start flooding in. Was my life REALLY that bad? or was I just unwilling to accept reality as the ways the Lord would flood my soul with both joy and fulfillment? Was my disappointment because I had done something wrong? A few rounds of digging deep in my soul led to me taking 524 deep breaths and agreeing to embark a new kind of trust walk with the Lord. I knew he was calling me out, but I really didn’t know if I could handle it. To be honest, I really didn’t want to find my reality fulfilling – I wanted it to change.

I have always trusted the Lord from season to season…. or at least up until then I THOUGHT I trusted Him. This was a new kind of trust, though. I could sense its unfamiliarity. It was a trust that had camped out in the corners of my heart previously marked off as uncharted territory refusing to move until acknowledged. It was a trust that said, I am acknowledging what I don’t have is ok and what you have for me is where your peace, presence, and joy reside. It was trust that said I will CHOOSE to love today. It was a trust that said what I view as lack, you view as the breeding ground for building soul muscles. It was a trust that said it’s time to move on.

It’s been the most invigorating trust walk of my life. Never before have I seen, met, experienced, indulged, encountered and needed Jesus like I have in 2013. There are really no words except I thought I knew Jesus, I thought I had experienced him, I thought he was real to me prior to this walk – but I had really just settled for shallow waters wading in tiny splashes of his presence instead of the oceans he had set before me. With my eyes fixed on missing out on what I thought I wanted, I had completely missed what I was REALLY missing out on was the fullness of Jesus’ presence and relationship – both which are far more fulfilling and steadfast than anything my heart could desire in this lifetime.

I don’t believe the Lord is one to withhold or dangle things our heart desires in front of us, but I do believe after this walk with him, he would rather us experience true soul fulfillment than temporary satisfaction. My trust walk has changed me forever.

The lord has used singleness to lead me to this trust walk with him. It has been refining. It has been deep. It has been healing. But, for you it might be a broken marriage, a sick child, a death, family struggles, financial ruin, etc. No matter how we end up with the chance to walk this walk, it’s never one we will regret taking. Loving and living beyond our circumstances with grace and peace is only something Jesus can teach us to do.

It was this trust walk (really it felt more like a UFC fight in moments) that brought me front and center with my first assignment. Sometime in January the Lord said to start house hunting.

I said, no.

He said, yes.

I said, for real?

And he gently reminded (and challenged) me to trust him and let him take care of me. Sigh

I started the most ridiculous, humorous and testing home buying experience of my life. I worked with a college best friend who has his own real estate company now to find “our house” (me & God’s – remember we were in in together). Jonathan (real estate agent) and I searched for a while within the perimeters I gave him, but I didn’t love anything. And really every house I looked at just looked like a big reminder I didn’t have a built-in handyman-as-a-husband to help me turn it into a home. {womp,womp}. One morning I was a bit frustrated and reminded God that he had promised he’d take care of me and this hunt was really turning into a fun sucker. (Sidenote: God is totally cool with my candid conversations with him) I immediately heard respond and tell me to call my real estate agent and expand my search to a different area…..so I did. Jonathan immediately responded he had the perfect house in that area, but we had to move fast. Fast forward a few hours and I was drafting an offer on what I knew was MY HOUSE. The second I walked in, I knew. She’s delightful and warm and cozy and didn’t need one thing done to her and had every extra my heart was too afraid to ask for.

She was a short sale – which really means long, inefficient sale because banks are slow as heck. It took 20 weeks in total but when I signed those papers July 26, 2013 I was again and again and again reminded that Jesus was faithful to do exceedingly, abundantly more than I had even dared to dream up. Not only had he moved so many mountains along the way, but he provided for every single cent I needed to buy her and furnish her. Amazing.

I’m still in awe. Every day I walk into my house and can’t believe Jesus reserved the best for me. Buying your first house isn’t always so dramatic, but it was truly the biggest test Jesus used to teach me from moment to moment for 20 weeks that he was in control – not institutions, not banks, not people, not politics. He was in control, because I gave him the reigns.

Since closing on my house in the summer, he hasn’t stopped but has continuously laced my days with moments to remind me that he is moving, he is busy, and I can trust him to order, align, and fill my days with his presence, provision, and purposes.

2013 has been full of life moments – some great and others not good.

I watched my brother’s worlds shatter in two horrifying moments this year, but I also watched the Lord redeem and answer their heart prayers in ways I never thought possible.

Our grandmother turned 80. She’s more fabulous than ever.

I travelled to NYC for the best vacation with the best girls ever attending the coolest conference ever.

My wedding business was packed with sweet brides. 10 weddings and not one single marketing piece went out. But you know what, those 10 weddings helped pay for my house and fill it with things to turn it into a home. Thank you Jesus for your blessing and provision.

We buried our grandfather.

My bestfriend got engaged.

Two of my sweet friends had the most yummy babies who I got to cuddle. Is anything better than baby cuddles?

I decluttered my closet. Over 150 pieces of clothing taken far, far, far away. This was a major task, people. **I am not proud I had so many articles of clothing to even clear out, because obviously that means I have plenty left in the closet. Goal of 2014 – shop less!**

I refinished my kitchen cabinets. Lord have mercy THIS – TOOK – FOREVER.

I prayed for new guy best friends. This is not a joke. I got them.

I decided to wear lots of headbands. They are my favorite. I buy them from the cutest little shop with the sweetest owner. Get some HERE

3 of my bestfriends turned 30. I know this isn’t technically my milestone, but let’s be honest, when you’re bestfriends turn the big 3-0 it means you’re not that far from joining them.

I read the book The Secret Place. and then I read it again. You should read it – get it here

I made a list of goals and heart desires that I gave to Jesus. 19 in total. He’s been checking things off the list – left and right.

This year was full of the supernatural, redemption, new dreams, deep satisfaction, and overwhelming joy that Jesus has my life in his hands. I don’t have to be a person’s priority, because I am His and he is truly the only one in full control.

The work he has done in me has rooted my heart in a steadfast faith and sense of joy and fulfillment I had never experienced.  I don’t know what these new soul muscles will be used for 2014, but I do know they will get stronger, grow deeper and I will – not for a moment – regret the walk ahead.

I have deeply loved this year not for what it gave me on the outside, but for the way it transformed me on the inside. I cannot even fathom what’s to come in 2014, but I do know this, it will be worth it and he will take care of me.

2 thoughts on “2013, Oh how I loved you!

  1. So let me just say I’m so happy that you’re blogging more already this year (even though this post is technically from last year)! You truly have a gift, Renee. It’s an encouragement to hear about the things God is doing and has done in your life. 🙂

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