While the Christmas season is one time of giving and receiving gifts, I’ve been reflecting back over the past year. The whole year as seen through the eyes of Christmas.
So, the first gift on my list was the gift of growth. I didn’t get any taller and I won’t be disclosing if I got any larger around the middle. The kind of growth I’m talking about is character growth.
Throughout the past year, I was given many challenges – er, opportunities to grow – but I seem to have benefited from all of them in at least one way.
I started the year unable to grip a pen or pencil without pain. Typing wasn’t much easier. After a multitude of tests, I was diagnosed with an acute inflammatory arthritis (at age 37) and told it should get better within a year. You try telling a writer that it might take a year for her to write without pain. I’m pretty sure that my pity-party included a few tears. However, as the months went by, my faith in God grew as I trusted him for healing. I focused on improving my overall health. Six months later, I was pain-free, with a stronger faith and healthier body.
I started the year with seven (bad) chapters of a novel written. I polished the first fifteen pages and entered them in a contest while continuing to write a chapter a week. In May, I typed “the end” and got a call saying the manuscript was a finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest. By September, the novel had been critiqued by two different groups. Just in time for me to attend a workshop by Donald Maass and get even more ideas for how to improve this runner-up book. Throughout the year, my writing skill has grown. So has my circle of writing friends and collection of writing-craft books.
It’s also been a year of sibling rivalries in our home. My patience has grown along with my dependence on God for wisdom.
A year of financial struggles when an expensive car repair wiped out our small savings. A year of trusting God to provide. A year of seeing blessings come from unexpected sources. My faith has grown – again.
What about you? How have you grown over the past year?