What gifts have you received this year? And no, I’m not posting this too early.

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 grew.

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.

I grew.

It’s also been a year of sibling rivalries in our home. My patience has grown along with my dependence on God for wisdom.

I grew.

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?

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3 thoughts on “The Gift of Growth

  • December 7, 2009 at 1:27 pm
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    >What a wonderful way to look at gifts!! We often see our hardships as anything BUT gifts! I love the way that you've been able to review your year and see God's hand in each of those difficulties and how it shaped you into something better. I will have to do that too! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • December 7, 2009 at 7:56 pm
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    >Hi Candee –

    I've used a period of unemployment to write my second manuscript and work on my house. It was a gift. (And it keeps on giving. Please pray I get a job.)

    Blessings,
    Susan 🙂

  • December 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm
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    >Goodness, this year has been difficult and very blessed! Our little church plant closed after 3 years of struggling, but my husband found work at a wonderful church close enough for us to leave our kids in their schools. The years of financial struggle have taught me to trust God of EVERYTHING and as we are facing losing our home, I am assured that God is my provider. Oh how I've grown! HE IS GOOD…ALL THE TIME!

    Thanks for your beautiful post!

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