Well, it’s officially a new year. I know most people aren’t too concerned with my reflections on 2012, but I feel compelled to record them here, as this blog was such a huge part of my year.
For the Laney’s, the year began as one of our best years ever. I was offered a new opportunity vocationally, we made plans to pay off a chunk of debt, and Brent was preparing to take new steps towards his dream career.
And then the layoff happened.
Brent lost his job on January 6th of this year. We became victims of the crappy economy and soon learned just how difficult it can be to survive on a social worker’s salary. We were miserable, whiny, and ungrateful. I can look back now and see it, but at the time I just felt anxious and scared all the time. How would we make ends meet? What were we going to do? And I felt ashamed. I saw so many people paying off debt, taking steps towards their future, expanding their horizons, and we felt stuck. I felt like a failure.
God worked through that time, of course. I look back now and I’m grateful for those six months. I learned so much about trust, faith, and myself. Looking back at this year, the best changes occurred while we experienced those six months of struggle. It’s amazing, because God knew every step and every motion. I can see it now, and during parts of our struggle, I could see it then. God is good.
Long story short, Brent got a new job and is able to focus on school now. I got a new job and am able to support us financially while Brent finishes school. One word: blessed. We are so blessed. And we were blessed during the trial early this year, it just took us a little longer to see it.
But I did want to highlight a few of the other interesting and amazing things about 2012, and what I learned from them.
1. I stepped out of my comfort zone and started fresh: We began attending Passion City Church March of this year. I had been at my old church for 20 years, and everyone thought I would stay. But we moved, and we both really needed a fresh start. And wow, God has rocked my world. I am spiritually a different person, definitely for the better. This isn’t a jab at my old church, it has to do with me, and where I was spiritually. Sometimes you just need to start afresh.
2. I got off my butt and started serving: I was a bit of a slacktivist prior to this year. I talked a lot about freedom causes and human trafficking, and I devoted my career to serving others, but I wasn’t doing much else. I never imagined that I would join the core team for Not for Sale Georgia and create an ethical shopping guide. I never imagined I’d be invited to speak at a breakout session at Not for Sale’s Global forum. I never imagined I would be helping to canvas Georgia with advocacy posters. I never imagined I’d be a blogger and speaker for Wellspring Living. All of these began in April, and I can only assume the best is yet to come in my quest to serve.
3. I rediscovered a lost passion. I’ve always loved to write. But I wasn’t writing prior to this year. A little of it can be contributed to being burned out from writing for school, but I was stagnant on my passion. Brent was instrumental in encouraging me to start this blog in April. And I genuinely feel that my passion, drive, and overall mental health are better as a result of this blog.
4. I learned more about faith. God used Brent’s job loss to teach me about faith. I really suck at faith. I’m inpatient and always want to do things my way. But I had no control over my husband’s job situation. In fact, I learned that I had no control over mine either. But each month, God would provide us with just enough to get by. And He taught me to depend on Him, and to stop comparing myself to others. I also learned that prayer works, but only when you pray surrendered. When I starting praying in a surrendered ‘Not my will, but your will’ way- well, that’s when I started to see the hand of God. I am trying to keep my prayer journey up, so I won’t forget these lessons I learned.
5. I learned that God’s plans are better than mine. I never EVER imagined that I would get the opportunity to do what I’m doing now vocationally. It was a dream that I thought was years away. I feel that I have found my calling. Even if this opportunity only lasts for a few more months, I have no regrets and no complaints. I wasn’t asking for this, but I got it. God knew better than I did. I’m so, so, so thankful.
6. I learned more about my husband. Sometimes trials bring you closer. Brent and I learned no much about our relationship and about each other this year. It was our first full calendar year as husband and wife, and it was full of its ups and downs. But because of that, I was able to observe and learn so much about my husband. He is amazing, and I am so grateful that God brought us together.
I’m sure I could keep going, but I should probably stop and get to bed. We have a busy start to the new year as both me and Brent are serving at the Passion 2013 conference. I get to spend four days helping students change the world, and I can’t wait.
I hope 2012 was a good year for you. Even if the circumstances were not ideal, I pray that God revealed Himself to you. And thank you for reading my blog. It means so much to me that there are actually a couple people out there who care enough about me to occasionally pop in here. It’s incredibly humbling.
I’d love to hear some of your 2012 lessons, or some of your hopes for 2013! Leave them in the comments below.