Looking Back and Looking Forward – 1000 Gifts

Looking back and looking forward

2013 was quite a memorable year.  We started the year with a few days holidaying with dear friends, and felt relaxed and full of hope for what lay ahead.  My word for the year: 2013 the year of joy.   I had my joy dares in hand, ready and eager to chronicle our joy gifts from the Father.

I quote this again, as it continues to speak life to my soul:

Joy is who God is.  Joy is the abiding atmosphere of heaven.  Joy is the expression of the kingdom here on earth. And therefore joy is an environment that we should be creating as a community and inhabiting on a personal level – in our homes, in our places of work, we can make those places like heaven. – Graham Cooke

Early February my precious family was hit with illness, husband included, and we negotiated our way through this for many months.  There were some scary nights in there, where I wondered if my children were going to take their next breath.  Those of you who’ve been through something similar know that it’s simply indescribable.

After this, I felt like I was running on a deficit for the remainder of the year, and still am to some extent.  Life continued to bring what it does for many, and didn’t wait for me to be ready – financial challenges, health challenges, relationship challenges, heart challenges.

Maintaining my place of joy became much more difficult than I could have ever anticipated.

But through it all, there were so many beautiful, wonderful, hope-filled, incredible moments.

There were lots of firsts for my youngest child, and even with our third, they are no less special and worthy of celebrating.

There were treasured moments with each of my children, where my eyes were opened to see more of who they are created to be.  Precious.  I love being at home with them.

There were some really enjoyable learning times, and crazy fun-filled moments in our homeschooling.

There was authentic connection with heaven, with the Father’s grace and mercy, and with the soft and loving sound of His voice.

There were those moments with my husband, where we sat looking at each other, completely spent, sometimes in utter disbelief at the most recent wave of challenge, but unspoken love passed between our eyes, as did the firm resolve to never give up on ‘us’.  We have been shaken, but our love runs deeper than ever.

There was one incredible friendship that shone brighter than my worst days, and remains one of the most treasured gifts that I’ve ever received from heaven.  I’m still floored that I’d be worthy of such a tender-hearted, giving, sweet, loving, beautiful friend.

So although the ‘joy journaling’ faded as the year wore on, the overall purpose did not die completely, as today I can remember with thankful heart some ‘big’ joy gifts.  I am blessed.

2014 holds much hope.  I wrote on this just the other day – my word for the year: Spring.

I have little expectation of what might happen in our circumstances.  But I know the Father is already there, and His grace will be sufficient for whatever we will face, whether it be abundant and overflowing, or challenging.

The joy journaling is back at the fore, and once again I have my joy dares printed and ready to go.

Can I encourage you to read my simple and short post on Journaling Joy Gifts, in the hope that you will feel inspired to join the community of joy-seekers?

Be blessed.  And thankful!

Victoria

[You may also like to visit ‘A Holy Experience’ and read Ann’s Grace Plan for 2014].

My friends with The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew are also writing on ‘Looking Back at 2013’ this week.  Have a read of some of their posts and be encouraged [Live on 8th January].

looking-back-at-2013{Linked up at The Homeschool Post – January Blog and Tell}

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