Do you make resolutions or goals at the beginning of every new year? I do. But 2014 proved that God’s plans are way bigger than my own. I was busy thinking about how much more water I was going to drink and all the money I was going to save, but God was working on pushing me to my limits, throwing open doors to opportunities and blessing me beyond comprehension. So much happened this year that I could tell you about a million little moments (including the time that I sat next to Kirk Cameron in the backseat of an SUV while he sang the theme song to Growing Pains), but I’ll just focus on these four.
1. Trembling at the bottom of an Indian slate mine.
The primitive wooden ladder that I clung to had 12 rungs. It was rickety, but that wasn’t why I was shaking. My heart raced. Deep breaths and a fake smile were the only things holding back my tears. Fifteen months ago I didn’t believe that child slavery could possibly be real and now I was watching it with my own eyes. Dusty little faces stared at me with giddy smiles. And I smiled back at them.
I was like one of those politicians I’d been assigned to follow around during election season, always chuckling, waving and grinning. But for some reason my trek to their hole in the ground was making these kids happy and although it went against every fiber in my heartbroken body, I smiled. I looked into their eyes. I touched their tiny hands, buttery smooth from slate dust. A few minutes later I climbed out of that pit. Word of our presence had made it to the mine owner and we weren’t safe. I tried hard to burn those little faces into my memory. It’s still nearly impossible for me to talk about that moment without crying. That’s because those kids are still there. While I’m taking my son to the park, wishing away time on the elliptical machine or indulging in a $5 latte, those kids are still at the bottom of that pit. The only thing I know to do that makes that reality a little easier to swallow is to tell as many people about it as possible. Set Free Alliance has helped pull hundreds of kids out of those holes, giving them safety, love and an education. They’re helping to create an army of Christ followers that I believe will change the future of India.
2. My last conversation with my grandmother.
My grandmother prayed for me every single day of my life. She told me that a couple of years ago and I’ve thought about it a lot. I don’t even pray for myself every day. When my grandmother’s health took a downward turn I flew back to my hometown for a few short days. I sat next to her at her dialysis appointment. We made a batch of homemade laundry detergent. And with the help of one of my best friends Melissa, we recorded my grandmother. Although I knew she probably wouldn’t be on earth much longer, I didn’t realize that my last conversation with her would be just a few months later. She had been unconscious for hours so my dad propped his phone up to ear so I could say goodbye. Prepared for an emotional moment I started telling her how much I loved her, when suddenly I heard a voice on the other end. “Hello?” My tears turned to laughter and gratitude as my grandmother told me she loved me one last time. I said a quick prayer of thanks for this gift. Many times we don’t get to know when our conversations will be our last, but this time I knew. The conversation wasn’t profound, but it was sweet and full of love. Two days later my grandmother passed away.
3. Sitting in a hospital waiting room.
Just a couple of weeks ago my son had surgery. It was a planned event and I spent a lot of time dreading it. I know from experience that I don’t handle medical events well. Let’s just say there tends to be a lot of sobbing. Uncontrollable sobbing. And two days before the surgery when the nurse called me to go over the details there was more uncontrollable sobbing. I had to pass the phone to my husband. So I asked everyone for prayer– my small group, my Facebook friends, my co-workers. And although I could feel the creep of dread as I carried my two year old into the hospital I also felt something else: calm. The 90 minutes spent in the waiting room while he had his surgery was actually very peaceful. And I can only attribute that to the answered prayers of so many. The next time I’m facing something with utter dread I’ll remember the peace I felt that day.
4. A text message about a job.
My son was napping and I was enjoying a couple of minutes of quiet time when my phone chimed. It was a text from Rob Dempsey asking me if I had ever considered working in radio. I had secretly thought that hosting a radio show would be an amazing job, but it was nothing more than a passing wish. Within a couple of weeks I was waking up at 4am to join the HIS Morning Crew each weekday morning on HIS Radio. And while I’d never admit it, my schedule was too much to handle. Although I had accepted the new job, I did not give up any of my other responsibilities as a writer, publicist, wife and mom. Thankfully God knew how to handle the situation, taking away my biggest freelance gig, one that I had held for more than six years. It was a huge surprise, but also a big blessing. I could tell when my editor broke the news to me she was expecting me to be sad or upset, but I could not stop smiling. God knew I would not have let go of that writing job unless it was plucked from me, which is exactly what happened. I have thoroughly enjoyed this new role, one that I never would have predicted when I kicked off 2014. In just a few short months I’ve been a part of some amazing stories and I look forward to many more exciting opportunities in 2015.
What moments, big or small, will you always remember about 2014?