Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A new decade? Really?

For some reason, it just dawned on me this week that we will be entering a new decade on January 1. I don't know why I didn't clue into the fact that 2009 ends the decade of the 2000s (or "Oughts" as I'm told they're called). I guess I just thought that they all ran together. I'll be ready for 2020, though!

After I started thinking about the new decade, that got me to looking back on the old one. I think it's safe to say that the last ten years may have been the most life-changing for me personally. Back at the beginning of the year 2000, I still had a preschooler (even though he started Kindergarten in August of that year) and I was still married. Over these ten years, I have had five different jobs, not counting being a stay-at-home mom. I've driven four different cars. I've become an aunt. And God has done some amazing things in my life and more importantly, in my heart.

Let me see if I can do a brief recap of the meaningful events of this decade in my life:

I went from being a full-time stay-at-home mom to having a Kindergartener and working part time (at Lifeway in Adult Enrichment Events). We also started attending Grace Community Church at fall, and haven't stopped since!

I became more involved as a parent at Daniel's school and continued my roles as wife, mother, and part-time employee. Life was good. No major changes that year for our family, but life in our country changed dramatically after the terrorist attacks on September 11. Having been raised outside of NYC, the World Trade Center attack hit the closest to home in my heart.

Continued on status quo, with a growing school-ager and a husband. I enjoyed being a part of the Adult Enrichment Events team and helped plan marriage events. We got to travel some to help out with those events, too.

This was a turning point year for me spiritually. I began to sense God telling me to stop working part time and stay at home again. I started learning to "taste and see that the Lord is good" and now know that He was preparing me for some major life changes in the next couple of years. Our marriage was starting to be in turmoil, but nobody else knew that yet. We probably didn't realize how serious the damage would be either.

Early that year, I felt God calling me to go on a mission trip with a group from church to an Annual General Meeting of the Central and Eastern Europe missionaries in Poland. The trip took place in March and I loved being a part of that experience. Sadly, things started falling apart in our marriage during that same time period. God used those days to teach me so much about depending on Him and to tell me how much He loved me and would never leave me or forsake me. God provided a part-time job in the library at Daniel's school, allowing me to continue to be involved there while he finished out his fourth grade (and final year) at that school.

Lots of changes for our family: Daniel started middle school at Meigs Magnet Middle School (across town). I started working full time as Director of Administration at The Pruett Financial Group (Northwestern Mutual). Our divorce was finalized that October. I also went to my 20th high school reunion, which was a fun time of catching up with old friends.

We settled into the life of me working full time, Daniel being more and more challenged and involved at school, and continuing to be active at church. Jeanette and Russell moved to Nashville that year, too, which put our entire immediate family in very close proximity to each other (a true blessing).

I moved into a new decade when I turned the big 4-0 in February. I was celebrated by friends and family and didn't grieve that milestone a bit. I have more trouble with the "nines" anyway, so I'd already gotten past the worst of it. I became increasingly discontented with my job, but kept on persevering and trying to be faithful in the place where God was providing for me.

This year I became the mom of a teenager when Daniel had his 13th birthday. We celebrated this milestone in his life and were blessed to have a relationship with him that is mutually respectful and healthy. We also welcomed Erica Jean Massey into our family on August 22nd. What a blessing to have a little girl in the family and to celebrate this long-awaited gift with her parents!

I think this year has been one of learning how much Jesus really loves me. I have known this in varying degrees for most of my life (I was born into a Christian home and brought to the nursery as a "bed baby"), but Jesus has really become "everything" to me this year. I think I've recognized my need for Him more than ever, or maybe have finally surrendered to it. Through the study, "Gospel Transformation" and the devotion book, "Jesus Calling," I've come to a new level of realization that the Gospel is real in my life and that Jesus is my ever-present and constant companion who knows me and loves me better than anyone else ever can or will. In April, I was blessed to become a part of the staff of Grace Community Church. I am so happy with my job and it has affected our family in many positive ways. I am so thankful for this gift and know that God has placed me there as a continuation of the calling He has had on my life since I was in college. Also this year, Daniel started high school at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet and made a smooth transition to a new school and to the vigorous schedule and courses.

Well, I guess that wasn't so brief, but hopefully you can see that God has had His hand on our lives over this past decade. I'm confident that the next decade will have challenges and changes of its own. I can already predict some (can you say Hume-Fogg Class of 2013?) and also know that God is going to do "far more abundantly beyond all that I ask or think, according to the power that works within me" (Ephesians 3:20).

To Him alone be the glory!

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