It’s time for the annual New Years Post. I might not write much on this ol’ blog but I like taking a moment to reflect on last year and speak a word or two over this new year. 2021 was a year of loss for me. I know I’m not the only one. I lost both my grandparents within months of each other, a relationship that had been very important to me imploded, and I’ve lost count of my book rejections.
But it wasn’t like the year was a total wash, or that good and beautiful things didn’t happen. I turned 40, I wrote another book, and I fell in love with the youth group.
Ahh yes the youth group, the thing I do while I wait for my books to get published. The thing I’ve done for nearly 20 years! In youth ministry, there are always kids you love, and things you learn and awesome moments, but there’s usually one special group. We experienced that back in Michigan (those students are married and grown up professionals now) When I took the youth position here I didn’t expect to have a group of kids like that again. But something happened after lockdown, the students were hungry to be together. They craved friendships and hanging out and suddenly we had a group of students that wanted to be with each other and with us. I don’t even know how to put it in words but there’s something really special about these teens, special in the way they love each other and the way they engage with our lessons, the way they show up at each other’s plays and performances, the ownership they’ve taken over the youth group and their place in the church at large. And I feel closer to the other two leaders too, it’s like we’re finally all jiving and enjoying each others’ presence. It’s all those things and more, something I can’t explain.
I had this moment a few months ago, when I realized that if my books had taken off in the last couple of years like I’d prayed they would I wouldn’t be tuned in to this group like I am. I might not even be part of it! But I’m here, growing along side these kids and my teachers-turned-friends and I think how easy it would have been to miss it.
Don’t get me wrong, I still want to be published! I’ve spent the last year honing my skills, putting in the time, getting more and more words on paper hopefully becoming a better writer. I’m being faithful to that part of my call and I do hope it happens soon because that’s my big dream. But what I’m learning is that God has reasons to delay. We see it as our hopes languishing but He might be growing something better and bigger and more important, something in us and something He wants us to be part of. What I’m learning is that it’s ok to be disappointed but it doesn’t have to take away from the magic and the blessings piling up around us. God has good things in store for us even if they’re not the things we’re asking for. It’s getting easier for me to believe all that and somehow learning to believe that is growing a confidence in me that my books WILL be published someday, and that some-day isn’t feeling as far away as it used to.
All that to say, the words I’m going to try and live 2022 by are joy and abundance. I think it’s time for joy in my heart and I don’t know what form it’s going to come in but I know it’s going to fill me up and then overflow.