I was challenged this year at our staff retreat to reflect on the “highs and lows” of 2011. I’m usually pretty reflective, but not over a 12 month period. It was such a good discipline to think about your year in that way, and see God’s hand in it all.
Interestingly, we realized that out of all of our “lows”, came a “high”. It reminded me of Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
So in all the pain, all the heartbreak, all the change, all the confusion, all of the mess of 2011; we looked closely and we were able to see all the good, all of God, in it too.
I’m sure there was much more that I could record, but these were the few highs/lows we came up with for 2011.
-Low: Santino’s Grandpa Frank was like a second father to him. He grew up 5 houses down from him, taught him how to shave, how to cook, and how to pee in the backyard. Grandpa Frank’s health took a turn for the worse. He grew weak and sick and eventually, just couldn’t fight anymore. He passed away in the spring. It was devastating.
+High: Out of this, grandpa knew his time on earth was coming to an end. Over the past year he started asking questions about God, religion, heaven. He wanted to be close with God all of his life, and just never was. Santino got to lead His grandpa to Christ and teach him many things about God. Such a sweet time.
-Low: The state’s budget was cut drastically, which meant FUSD had to make major cuts like never before. I received a pink slip after teaching for 5 years. I was struggling in this profession and the pink slip felt like confirmation that teaching in a public school just wasn’t for me. It was very hard realizing a dream I had all my life, may have just been that . . . my dream.
+High: Because I was “getting fired” anyway, I started praying and asking God what HE would want me to do with the last 3 months with my students. His answer was simple “Love them. Share me.” So I did. I started preaching the gospel, kids starting putting their faith in Christ. 11 of them even went to church with me! We gave out bibles, prayed together, read the word together. Truly one of the best experiences of my life (I can share more of the story about who sponsored the bibles and God’s hand in all of it, but another time.)
+High: Another high that came out of my pink slip was getting to work at The Well. I jokingly prayed a long time ago that I wish I could find a job where I get to lead bible studies, meet people for coffee, and pray for the church. Well guess what? That’s pretty much what I do there! It is a dream to work with such wonderful people who are all like minded, in pursuit of God and His kingdom.
-Low: We’ve been trying to get pregnant for over a year. We thought that in getting my pink slip, this was the LORD opening a door for me to be a stay at home mom. Well what a great plan, minus the one little detail . . . a baby! So we’re still trying but decided since we aren’t pregnant yet, we’ll fulfill another life dream that probably won’t happen once we have kids . . .
+High: We’re going to Israel! We decided life won’t slow down after we start a family and we both would love to walk in the land the LORD chose, so why not now? That’s a huge journey of faith for me because of the cost, I hate flying, I hate traveling, I hate eating weird food, and I hate not sleeping in my own bed but . . . I love Jesus and I want to be near to Him more than anything, so what better place to experience my Redeemer’s nearness than Israel?
So that wraps up 2011. Highs and lows, and everything in between. In the midst of highs and lows, ups and downs; is a God who never changes, who is consistent, who is stable, and who is near.
Happy New Year! Bring it on 2012.