Monday, December 30, 2013

2013...The Year of Faith

As one year closes and another one approaches, I can't help but think back to this past year.  So much happened in just a year!  And if you had told me at the end of 2012 what was awaiting me this year, I would have laughed at you (or yelled in disbelief)!  Everything that I had thought would happen in 2013, did not.  Yet I'm grateful because the lessons that I've learned this year have dealt with deep things that broke me to the core...but the year is ending with a greater faith and love for God.  God truly knows what He is doing when He does not allow my plans to happen. 

This has been the year of faith.  Right from the get-go.

The very first day...January 1st. 

I was rocked out of what I had hoped for and I was left broken.  What a way to start 2013....broken down.  But when you are broken to pieces, God can sure put you back together the way He wants.  It just takes a little faith that He knows what is best for you. 

Over and over this year God brought me to the story of Abraham.  Abraham went through so much, and he was human and made mistakes...but he had faith to believe the impossible.  Whether it was choosing to believe that he and Sarah could have a child (as old as they were), following God to an unnamed place, or laying his son Isaac upon the altar...every single piece required faith from Abraham.  Each time I read the story of Abraham, God kept speaking new things to me regarding faith and trust. 

This was no longer just a word to me, but an action.  An action that He was calling me to walk out.  Even in the deep pain, I was to choose to have faith in God's grace and goodness. 

I had no idea where that faith would lead.  No idea what awaited.  But God did.  He had it all under control.  So, I chose to trust Him and began to jump out in faith at the things He placed upon my heart...even though it hurt to do so.  It required me to turn from my desires, my comfort, and even some of my friends.  Nothing made sense to me anymore, except His Word and His truth.

In faith, I turned in a letter indicating my desire for a one-year leave of absence and then began the process of applying to teach overseas.  A couple of months afterwards, I was offered a job to teach in Brazil.  And obviously I accepted.  ;) 

This new move in my life would require even more faith but in different areas.  No matter what I was doing, the story of Abraham was always close to my heart.  This new move brought me to the faith it required for Abraham to leave his country, his father's home and go to a land that God would show him (Genesis 12).  I began the process to close up my life in Montana for a year and follow God to a new land.  Faith was now being put into action. 

Waiting for my visa to clear challenged my faith and perseverance to hope for things that He promised to me.  And after staying in Kansas City for 2 1/2 months (a little vacation...thanks Heafner family!), I was finally on my way to Brazil.  But living out faith did not end there.

Once I arrived here in Brazil, I was not only living out this faith but I was losing all control that I once thought I had.  Living in a foreign country requires trust, faith and a humbleness to ask for help.  It has been difficult to learn that I cannot do things on my own.  I need others.  I need God.  With this journey I am on, I have to be willing to depend upon others.  Whether it is help interpreting for me, getting a ride to a doctor's appointment, having someone call to make the doctor appointment for me (that was fun), or relying upon a team of people to help me learn to love this place.  It all takes faith in God that He has placed these people in my life to help mold me into who He needs me to be. 

Yes, this has been a year of faith.  And just because I am entering a new year does not mean this lesson is over.  It shall continue, for all of my days.  But I also am beginning to sense a new lesson that God wants to instill in me this next year.  I'm not sure I'm ready for it...but I guess He believes I am.  So even though I may have ideas of what I would like to have transpire in 2014, I give it all up to Him and simply say "Your will be done". 

Bring on the New Year and may I be able to look back at 2014 and see God's handiwork in it all....just like I can see it in this past year.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."  Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead...Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:18-21

Happy New Year!  Be blessed, my friends!

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