It’s that time of the year where I always get a little nostalgic and begin to reflect back on the past 12 months, and try to draw some lessons out of the experiences that I have had. I do this exercise mostly for myself but if someone gets something out of it I’m happy for that as well.
2013 had some great highs! In one year we moved twice, started a new and amazing ministry at Gethsemane Church of Christ, Aimee began a new and challenging teaching position, we celebrated the one year mark of our youngest sons birth, rejoiced with my sister and brother-in-law as they brought their first child into this world, and rejoiced in the new spiritual births that have taken place in our student ministry with many students accepting Jesus for the first time in their life. Oh yeah, the Ravens won the Super Bowl too. That was neat.
2013 was not all, as one now infamous duck caller would say, “happy happy happy.” For the Thayer’s 2013 also held some significant losses for us. We lost three people from our lives this year. Aimee’s grandfather on her mother’s side and her grandmother on her father’s side went to be with The Lord, and while we rejoice in that fact, we selfishly mourn their absence from this earth. While these two had no choice in their departure our third loss chose to leave on his own accord. That’s been hard, but by the grace of God we learn and we grow from it.
From these experiences I’ve landed on five major lessons for the year. Enjoy.
1) The hardest people to extend grace to is your family.
I am a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that message’s foundation is grace. More specifically that everyone deserves grace. Nothing challenges that belief more than when a family member wounds you. It made me appreciate a bit more the pain God must feel when his Children wound him, and respect him all the more for his ability to continue to pour out his grace despite that hurt.
2) We are all one bad choice away from ruining a lot of good things,but we always have a choice until we take our last breath.
I don’t know where you are in your life right now. I don’t know what you struggle with, and I don’t know how close you are to throwing in the towel, and just letting the proverbial chips fall where they may, but I do know this; you always have a choice. Never let Satan convince you that you are too far gone to turn around.
3) Everyone needs a few people in their lives that they can cry with, laugh with, and scream at every once in a while.
We were built to enjoy fellowship with each other. This year I’ve learned that means crying with each other, laughing with each other, and being able to be angry about life with these people while they simply listen. You know who you are. Thanks.
4) I’m collectively four and a half years into parenting and I still don’t know what I’m doing.
If you have kids you’re going to mess them up somehow. That’s just the way it is. There is only one perfect Father, the rest of us kind of make it up as we go along. Case and point. We walked out into the kitchen one morning to find our oldest eating raw macaroni noodles for breakfast. I’d say that’s a parenting fail. Just make sure they know they are loved both through your words and your actions and they probably won’t send you the therapy bills.
5) Everyone should be in therapy.
Seriously. Every single one of you have issues you need to work through. It’s time to drop the stigma that is getting mentally healthy and begin encouraging it. If you’re a minister, and have never sat across from a mental health professional to hash through some of the issues you have had to deal with then I fear for your long-term viability as an EFFECTIVE minister. Exercise? You betcha! Eat right? For sure! Find someone to talk to? Essential.