Wednesday, December 31, 2014

God with us



I have drafted a post similar to the one you see many other bloggers publishing this time of year. It’s the post where I take a look back at 2014. The post does not share my top viewed posts because I have no desire to look at numbers. If I were to look at numbers, I think it might be more fun to share the least viewed posts. Maybe those posts were simply over looked.

Instead of the top viewed posts of the year, or least viewed posts, my intention was to highlight the most profound moments from 2014. Calling them moments doesn't sound accurate as they are not singular moments. Maybe they are more like themes?

The year came with many challenges. It was a different kind of year. Yet, still a good year.

As I look over the various themes I have captured from the year I see one primary theme which encompasses all the themes.

God is with me.

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalm 139:7-10

That’s a pretty wonderful theme. Do I need bother sharing the others? This one . . . it’s what matters most.

It was a year of trials but God is faithful.
There was still much joy because of God. 
He is the source of our JOY.

His Spirit dwells within me.
He’s always present.
Immanuel, God with us.

My cup runneth over.
It is well with my soul.

At the same time, I find myself somewhat melancholy as the New Year approaches.

I find myself stuck between two new normals: the new normal I found without my husband and the new normal I teeter-totter on with him now home.

The season of waiting continues on. I am waiting for God to reveal His plans. He might be waiting for me to move.

My mind is a jumbled mess. It feels a bit like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle scattered about and I have never been good with puzzles. I cannot stay focused long enough to make the first move.

I need to give God more credit for the way He moves.
He's revealing where change is needed.
Some things will stay the same.
But mostly God’s in the business of transformation. 

And He does not work on my time schedule.
He has His own and it’s far better than mine.

My previous new normal included lots of time and space for writing and connecting. I grew as a writer. I believe our friendship grew too. I hope you see me as someone who sees you and someone who shows up. I hope you know you can count on me.

I desire less and less time on social media these days though.

I want God.
I want time with my husband.
I want time with my family.
I want time with friends . . . more tangible connections.
I want time just to be.

But I miss connecting with you too.
I am trying to find a balance.

And I still want to create. Oh, how I want to create.

The waiting happens here because I sense the creating will be different.

Donald Miller tells us in his new series, Start Life Over, that we are designed to change. He writes, “Every healthy thing God created changes.”

I realize I’m not so much between two new normal; I am still navigating to a new normal. I am changing.

This is okay.

God is changing me.
And I’m glad.

Not really the post I intended to write to wrap up 2014 but God’s ways are always greater. How great is our God!

Happy New Year, friends.

“Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19 MSG)

46 comments :

  1. Beth, what a beautiful post. I have so enjoyed sharing our journey of JOY this year. We have both learned so much about God's *definition* of the word. I just this week posted my *recap* - and in looking back, I can see how God brought me joy, taught me joy in a very painful and difficult year. I used the acronym - Jesus, Only You - as a focus. And indeed, just as you have mentioned here, He is that one thing that is the source of all joy. Jesus - God WITH us. No matter the hard lessons learned along the way, joy is found in the knowledge that we never, ever walked even one step alone, nor will we ever have to.

    I don't know if you've already picked a new word for 2015, or even if you're going to, but the word that leaped off the page as I read your post was BALANCE. I see your heart striving to find it, and I know that God is leading you to it. But even if it's not *the* word for you, I know that He will bring you to this place.

    I am also a jigsaw puzzle at the moment, but I am taking my lessons on JOY forward into the new year. And, I am wondering, pondering what God will teach me with my new word. It will surprise me, I'm sure. But in the process, I just want HIM. It's still all about Jesus, Only You!

    I cherish our friendship, and eagerly look forward to walking out our faith journeys in 2015.

    Happiest New Year, and GOD BLESS. For you do indeed bless me!

    (P.S. The big *reveal* on my word will be next Monday!)

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    1. Sharon, I keep pondering our word JOY and how I would recap it and so far the words are not coming. I know the word was so much more than a word. I know I can look back on 2014 and see all the joy God brought to me, even during a difficult year. Even the times when I felt I was ready to give up, I can see joy for he brought me through. Maybe a post will eventually come. :)

      Thank you for your friendship, Sharon. I cherish you too and so love journeying through life together, even if from afar. But I do hope we can meet SOON!

      Much love to you, friend.

      God bless.
      xoxo

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  2. it's been such a joy to get to hear your heart, to share life together, to spur each other on this year, Beth. you are an incredible blessing in my life, and I thank God for bringing you on to my path.

    just can't wait to see what He's going to do in us, through us, for us.

    hugs, dear friend. and new year blessings, too!

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    1. Oh, Linda, I thank God for bringing you on to my path too. Your friendship is a blessing to me. And I am also so very grateful for the ways you have been a sounding board when I needed it. You are when good blogging coach!! You bless me in so many ways. Much love to you, friend. xoxo

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  3. My beautiful friend Beth! You are precious to me. You are such a gift in my day when I read something you share or see your comments all over the place...because YOU have a gift of encouragement and faithfulness that is rare in so many avenues of life. I love that about you. I love that about how you share and how you write and how you willingly..tangibly ...touch a heart even if your fingers do not make contact with my own in reality, what I know... I KNOW is that God is connecting hearts tangibly through the connecting.
    I am excited to see the changes He brings into your normal, but yet, as I think about it, I realize I don't want ordinary any more. I want God in it all and that is extraordinary and for that, God with us... Immanuel in our normal, there is no NORMAL as we see it. It is transcendent of anything our earthly measuring can convey and that is exciting.
    He has blessed you with a big heart, Beth. I can see Jesus in you extending into others in lasting connections. I look forward to another coffee date with you, soon!

    Bless you much!
    Dawn

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    1. "I realize I don't want ordinary any more. I want God in it all." Oh, sweet friend, that is so it. With God, there is no normal. And I love that with God there is always more. There is always so much more He has in store for us. You just made me think of this song, "Here am I, all of me, take my life, it's all for Thee." I think I may be humming that all day now. :)
      I can't tell you enough how thankful I am that our paths crossed. You have been such a tremendous blessing to me, Dawn. What joy it was to be able to hug you in real life. I look forward to more together times with you.
      Love you much.
      xoxo

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  4. I love seeing your heart come through your words. I'm grateful you've invested in connecting, especially while your husband was away, because it meant I was blessed. You bless me, Beth. I'm grateful for you and your words - whether they show up here, on Facebook, or in a Vox. Love you dearly. xoxo

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    1. I just love you and I am so grateful for your friendship. You bless me in more ways than I could properly express. Much love to you, Kristin. xoxo

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  5. I think we bloggers all struggle with balance, staying connected and striving for Godly priorities daily. You referred to Psalm 139 and that blessed me because I read it in my quiet time this morning! Thank you for visiting me and leaving such a loving comment. The promise calendar I referred to is sent to me from World Challenge, www.worldchallenge.org I've added you to Google+ and hope to keep current with your blog. Happy New Year and may God's grace sprinkle your year with His favor.

    Hugs,
    Mary

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    1. Thank you for your visit, Mary. I look forward to getting to know you through your blog in 2015. And I am off to check out this calendar. I added you to Google+ too. Many New Years blessings to you.

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  6. Beautiful writing here, Beth. God does always know best. I do understand the less social media, but wanting to connect. God has been making changes in my life also. I think the connections now will be deeper, just not as broad. Time will tell. Happy New Year, friend. XOXO

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    1. Yes, time will tell. But I have so loved journeying through 2014 with you, Kim. Your words have always been inspirational to me. I would love to have a chance to connect in a deeper way with you. Happy New Year!! Much love. xoxo

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  7. I am glad to have met you in the year 2014.
    May God be with you & yours throughout 2015.
    Thank you for serving!!

    Happy New Year! xoxo

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    1. The feeling is mutual, Michelle. Thank you for your kindness. I look forward to continuing to get to know you better throughout 2015. Much love. xoxo

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  8. So glad to have found you this past year...you are a blessing to so many!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Me too, Jill. It has been a joy getting to know you. Much love to you and yours. xoxo

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  9. You are such a blessing...thank you for this. I feel like I'm in a similar place...desiring depth and connection and just living the life in front of me well. Still figuring out what that looks like though! :) Blessings and hugs, friend...happy 2015!

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    1. Mel, I do hope 2015 will bring us the opportunity to connect more and get to know each other better. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing. Many blessings to you. xoxo

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  10. Beth, your love and encouragement have been a blessing to me this year as I have seen the Lord work wonders through your trials. No matter what you were going through you always had a word of love for another. It's been a blessing getting to know you better this year. I think there are several of us seeking God's direction for balance in next year and where the writing fits in.
    Have a Blessed New Year.

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    1. Janis, thank you SO much for your kind words. I have been blessed by your friendship and the words you share too. I love how God brings us together in this online world. It's a beautiful thing. And I think you are right . . . I sense many of us are in a similar place of seeking a better balance for 2015. God is good! Many blessings to you friend. Happy New Year!

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  11. Beautiful and perfect in every way. I love your heart, Beth, for Him first, your family second and those around you next. You have encouraged my heart on so many levels, and I am so grateful I get to journey alongside of you. I understand the lack of focus, the lack of desire and motivation to write. I am wrestling with that now. But, I hear God saying to cease the wrestle and just allow Him to move through me -- whether that's once a week, once a month or whatever. You are a beautiful encourager and I am so thankful for you. Looking forward to diving deeper into His presence with you in 2015!

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    1. That is exactly it, Barbie. We need to stop wrestling and give the words back to Him. Oh, how He blessed us for our obedience. For I do know that once I stopped wrestling the words came with more ease. They may be less frequent, but I feel they are deeper and more real. I love you, Barbie, and am so very grateful for your friendship. You have truly blessed me in so many ways. I thank God for you. Much love. xoxo

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  12. I so related to your words today, Beth. I'm in a bit of a stuck place too - feeling like 2014 is a bit unfinished in my eyes but desiring to see the brand new through His. For me, I guess that means lingering a bit more on the lessons rather than the days and trusting that He'll keep moving me forward. Wishing you a year ahead of continued growth in the grace and knowledge of Him.

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    1. Thank you for your visit and for sharing. What jumped out for me in what you shared is that word TRUSTING. We need to keep trusting Him. He knows what He's doing. There is such comfort in knowing that is truth. Wishing you many New Year's blessings.

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  13. Beth,
    You ARE the real deal...I've always loved that about you. And, as the real deal does, you are being honest with yourself and with us. I pray for you my dear friend that God would give you direction and that you would be brave enough to walk in His ways. God is always transforming us and I look forward to seeing the new and beautiful ways in which He is going to use you!! Happy New Year, Beth!!
    With much love and of course, ((Hugs)),
    Bev

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    1. You bless me, friend. I am forever grateful God brought us together. You have been such an encouragement to me this past year. I just love you. Thank you for being YOU. And we much connect over the phone SOON. It's been too long. Happy New Year, Bev.
      Much love.
      xoxo
      (((hugs)))

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  14. Beth,
    Oh, yes, God is with you and I can see evidence of that in your writing and your life...so blessed to have met you online...may God bless you with His love, peace and joy in this year of growth :-)

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    1. Thank you, Dolly. It's been a delight to connect with you more these past few months. I look forward to continuing to get to know you better throughout 2015. Much love. xoxo

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  15. Sweet Beth, you are such a beautiful example of God with us, molding us into His perfect shape. Every moment of 2014 that you've shared has blessed me. You mentioned a jigsaw puzzle, it's always easier to put the puzzle together if you can look at the picture on box top. The Bible is our box top. God's word to us, read, taken in and meditated upon will reveal the perfect place of each piece of our lives. I can't wait to see how the pieces fit together - blessings, my friend!

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    1. Okay, I just love what you shared about puzzles. "The Bible is our box top." Such beautiful truth. As I keep seeking Him, I know He will begin to help me put the pieces of the puzzle together. He is good ALWAYS. Love you, friend. Your friendship is such a blessing to me. Thank you for all the ways you have encouraged me. xoxo

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  16. Happy New Year, Beth! You've had some wonderful changes over the past year...and you are right - God was with you every step of the way! I love that He is continually changing and growing us, always for the better! I'm welcoming His hand on my life, too!

    Blessings & love, Joan

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    1. Me too, Joan. Me too. Love that He is never done with us. Love you, friend. xoxo

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  17. I wish I had perfect words to say to right now but you stated it so beautifully-God is with us! When we travel through life the biggest truth of all is that God is with us and that is what we need today, tomorrow and yesterday. I love being on this journey with you and will pray for you as you listen, obey and act on all that God is planning. I also feel like I am on the edge of something new and bigger but God's timing alone will reveal when that happens. I'm so glad to call you friend and I love hanging out here with you!

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    1. Oh, Mary, I am so glad to call you friend too. And I love journeying through life with you. And I pray 2015 is a year we can spend some time face to face. It's wonderful hanging out together in our online words but I want to HUG you!!! Thanks for all the ways you encourage. You bless me so much. xoxo

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  18. Hi Beth, thanks for sharing your heart here. I often find myself melancholy between Christmas and New Year's too, but I enjoy the time of being a bit quiet, keeping activities to a minimum. Back to regular life next week. May the Lord bless you as you grow in your new normal.

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    1. Yes, I do think that melancholy is a bit normal as we transition from one year to the next. The New Year also come with such hope. And I'm feeling so much of that. Blessings to you, Betsy. xoxo

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  19. I love this post, it perfectly says where your heart is. I'm so grateful every time I visit you here. I am so glad we found each other in this cyber world.

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    1. Grateful for you, Lisa. I am so glad we found each other too!! Loving your new website. Love YOU.

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  20. Thank you for always being authentic. I find myself in an in-between space as well as I have gone back to work. I too am finding it hard to find time and space to create. Thank you for the encouragement.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jen. I tell ya, that finding time to create can be challenging. Especially once you add work to the mix. This year I am trying to be better about staying focused on work while at work (good idea, don't ya think?) but it's challenging and it makes finding that balance hard. Thanks for your visit and for sharing. xoxo

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  21. I'm constantly trying to find the right balance too, Beth. Praying for guidance for all of us to hear the Lord's leading.

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    1. Praying for us all too, Lisa. Blessings.

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  22. The season of refining, it seems to never end :) I get glimpses here and there but still waiting for God to reveal EVERYTHING NOW. It would make life so much easier wouldn't it? But then He reminds me it's about the journey not the destination and having everything all figured out.

    Looking forward to seeing what God reveals to you, I think He has big plans for you in 2015! :)

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    1. "But then He reminds me it's about the journey not the destination and having everything all figured out." <<< So that! Thanks for the reminder, Alecia. Love you. xoxo

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  23. I understand those two normals - but definitely not to the extreme you do. Whenever my husband would travel - the re-acclimation to the family was directly correlated to how long he was gone. It was hard when he was gone for a week and home for a weekend (one semester) or for 2 years when he'd travel for a month and be home a week. I think the key is never giving up and remembering the good things - and faith. I feel like a mismatched puzzle right now, too - change is coming and I so want to make sure the change chosen is God's change. I downloaded the book you mentioned - as much as I don't like change - it seems God's children are designed for it on earth. Praying you find peace and rest in the stream God is sending you down, that maybe we both don't fight the currents of this journey He's sending us on !~Maryleigh

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  24. Happy new year to you, Beth! Praying for you as you continue to adjust to your "new normal." I took a month away from writing recently to focus on my family. I think we can never go wrong there, but I'm so with you on the absolute need to create. I missed writing and even more, I missed this beautiful writing community. Many blessings to you and your family in 2015 and beyond!

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Much love to you.