I can't believe I haven't posted an update here since July of last year. I guess it's because I've shifted my focus to blogging on my website, Living Word Decor, although I haven't shared anything as personal as I've shared here. I still enjoy having this blog and all of my previous posts out there for those who are meant to find, and be encouraged by, them. For those who are wondering about my Lyme's Disease journey, I am currently in good health in that regard, although dealing with some residual stomach issues due to all of the antibiotics I have taken.
This is what I recently shared on my shop's blog page for the New Year...
Another year is upon us, and the time has come for resolutions. I don't personally make them myself, but I used to. The only one I ever stuck to was reading through the Bible in year, and even then I was playing catch-up from the days that I missed. Looking ahead is something everyone does this time of year, but I like to start by looking back.
I like to keep journals of God's work in my life each year and, looking back to the beginning of 2018, I came across a devotional I saved from January 7th. It was entitled "For the Right Moment", and it was about God's work in our lives to prepare us for His perfect timing to send us into the work He has planned for us. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). I had decided that this would be my only expectation for this year, to wait and see what He had planned, even on the days it felt like nothing was happening at all. I had my own ideas of what I wanted to accomplish, but in typical God fashion, what I ended up involved in were things I never could have imagined on my own.
For one thing, I started my own website! I never imagined leaving Etsy and stepping out in faith to create my own online store, but here it is! That is a story in itself. I learned a lot about the real definition of success as this first year on my own brought less exposure resulting in fewer sales compared to last year. The Lord had to remind me of why I started this business. It was never about sales, but to impact others' lives for Him. He showed me that I was walking in obedience to His will by leaving Etsy, and the results were up to Him. He also used a Christian blogger to teach me that real success is not defined by the world's standards. I'll never forget her saying, "If only one person follows me or reads this post and their life is touched by Jesus, then that is Godly success because that touched life is precious to God and will go on to impact others for Him". So true! Then there were the lives of people I will never forget, like my grandma's friend Sarah and a man I met at a nursing home named Jim, who I never imagined God would give me the privilege of sharing His love with. I could write a book about my experiences with them, and how my life and faith were changed by being a part of their story. This was also the first full year without my mother and grandmother, who both passed away last year less than 2 months apart. Much like the one set of "footprints in the sand", God carried me through those first anniversaries of their passing, first birthdays being gone, and the bittersweet sale of our childhood home.
As you reflect back on 2018, I hope you see God's hand in all of your own highs, lows and everything in between. If you are the type to make resolutions with a heart full of hopes, dreams and expectations for the New Year, as you look ahead remember if things don't go as planned that there is one who is "the same yesterday, today and forever"... Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:8)! He doesn't change at the start of every new year, and He doesn't fail like a resolution by February 1st. He has plans for you that are far better than anything you could have planned for yourself, and your hope and trust in Him will never disappoint. Look to Him this new year. He is the one who is seated on the throne and truly makes "all things new" (Revelation 21:5).
The one thing I do want for this upcoming year is what I always want, and it's from the book of Colossians. I pray this year, and always, that I "may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that I will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power according to His glorious might for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience" (Colossians 1:9-11). I pray this for you too!
I wish everyone a Happy and blessed New Year! I look forward to what God has planned for my life this coming year, and for Living Word Decor. Thank you so much for your support of my shop, and God bless!