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Looking Back Looking Forward

Life has an ebb and flow.

Some years are gut-wrenchingly hard.

Other years are full of happy surprises.

2005 was an emotionally trying year for my family as Terry and I felt the call to resign from a beloved church plant. That year, I learned how God heals the broken-hearted. I grew spiritually stronger than I had ever been. Jesus became my deepest friend and my comforter. 2015 was another challenging year as I struggled through a few silent health issues. I have learned to be intentional with my self-care. I realized self-care is not selfish. Now, I put diet and exercise at the top of my priority list.

Sometimes, life is hard. I get it.

However, today as I reflect on my 2018, I whisper thanksgiving for the undeserving days which have rolled into an amazing year. Not to say 2018 was perfect, but I firmly believe one should celebrate victories. Remembering the good years can carry me through the hard. We serve a BIG God, and He has given good gifts. He deserves our praise. So from one girlfriend to another, can I share some personal and family victories I think are worth mentioning?

A Few 2018 Family Beginning and Victories:

My grand-babygirl Bella learned to say, “Mimi” and ‘graduated’ from months of physical therapy.

My third-born graduated from college.

We started a new adventure as my Terry moved into a full-time position with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries.

My youngest moved from our home for a full-time ministry at Teen Valley Ranch. (Honestly, this one is good but sad for the ones left behind.)

A Rice Family Reunion celebrated our Patriarch’s 80th birthday.

A son had a change of heart and a mission trip.

Personal Victories for me in 2018:

My new website!

Two published articles in magazines and being a featured guest on a blog

Opportunity to attend two writing workshops and the 2018 She-Speaks Conference

The privilege of teaching more ladies events than any year to date

The joy of having eleven children indicate they trusted Christ as their Savior at Walk-thru events.

The privilege of teaching (for the first time) in an African-American Church which may I add, was a highlight of my year 🙂

I now have a travel buddy who often leads worship on my ladies speaking engagements.

My church ladies whom I love deeply and have my whole heart. They are the ones “I do life with” and they keep me focused.

I joined a gym and I am ending the year a little lighter and a lot stronger. 🙂

I have been able to travel with Terry on some new adventures!

Friends, I promise, if your year has been a difficult one, I understand. I have had hard years. But can I whisper hope into your heart as we move into 2019? I beg you to hang in there for “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:8 (ESV) He is able to do far more than we have ever imagined. Today, I share hope, for I am living proof of His grace.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (ESV) He sees our deepest hurts and knows our secret dreams. He will meet you where you are. Psalm 30:11 (ESV) reads, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing, you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.”

I desire for my simple stories of grace to fuel hope as you step into the new year. Let us run the race with hope! I believe great things are ahead. I know how the story ends! 🙂

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

Happy New Year my sweet sisters!

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