2014: A year of…

First, let me just say Happy New Year! I hope that whether 2013 was a great year or a difficult year (or both) that 2014 will be better! May God bless you and me in ways we’ve not yet dared to dream as we travel this path with Him!

Last night, a devotional arrived in my inbox just moments before the birth of 2014. It was all about choosing one word to focus on for the year. As I read the devotional, I felt God was saying that He has a word for me for this year. So, today as I chatted with Him about the year ahead, I asked what it is. The answer is… (drum roll, please) RELATIONSHIP!

I don’t know exactly what that means, but there are several ideas in my head (not to mention hopes in my heart). Firstly, it means relationship with God. We are pretty close, but I have a feeling that bond will deepen even more in the months to come.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I am moving to Ireland, and I now have my airline ticket to start that journey 8 weeks from today! (The first step is 2 weeks to visit family and friends in Florida before going on to my new home.) I think this transition period is going to deepen my relationship with God as I will have no one else to lean on in the beginning. I have acquaintances there, but no one I know well.

Another layer in this one word is the relationships I will make in Ireland. I am a friendly person, and tend to make friends pretty quickly. However, this will be a new context to practice that in. I’ve lived overseas before (I spent nearly 2 years in Afghanistan with a development organization), but it was in a place that was totally foreign. Everything about the culture and language was different and I expected the culture shock. I knew the barriers that would have to be overcome in order to meet people and make friends.

This time, many if not most of the words will be the same (though they sound different [and often much cooler] when folks from there say them). The culture is western, and as far as I know, I can wear clothes like I wear here. I don’t have to cover my head to leave my house. It seems there are few barriers to worry about in my effort to make friends in this new place. And yet… I can’t help but wonder how many people I will offend because I am unaware of differences that do exist.

And so, this year will be one of striving for new relationships in new places. It will also be a year of working to keep relationships close with those left here. I have got to do better about keeping communication lines open with those who pray for and support me here in the States. I don’t know what the situation will be over there for communication, but I must work to make sure it’s happening.

Finally, I think this might be a year where I am challenged to be vulnerable on a larger scale than I feel ready for. This blog is a part of that. I have also joined and been participating in a new group on Facebook to encourage one another to reach the goals we’ve set for the next 30 days and beyond. And then, there is my book. It is written, and I am waiting on feedback from acquaintances in the publishing world to see how much will need to be “fixed” before it can be published. This book is me, my life and my heart, laid out for the world to see, and that is a terrifying thought. I don’t know how much of a “relationship” can develop through a book, but if and when it’s out there, I hope to hear the stories of others in return.

Ah, and now for the hope… All of these are hopes, but they seem like reasonable possibilities as well; they seem like things that can happen this year (though I struggle to believe that completely about getting my book published). The dream is that this year will mark the beginning of a different kind of relationship, that this will be the year when a Godly man shows up and decides that I am worth pursuing. And now, for that vulnerability I mentioned… This feels like a dream rather than a possibility because it has not happened before, and at 33 it is difficult to believe that a guy will suddenly appear and have both the desire and the guts to show interest in me as anything more than a friend. And yet, this is a year for new things, new beginnings, new places, and a year for hope!

Whatever kind of relationships God brings my way and gives me the opportunity to work on, I have hope that this year will be one for the history books… because I intend to make it so! By walking in relationship with God, family, and friends (both those I’ve met and those I haven’t yet), I believe that my world will be different by the time 2014 has reached its end.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. It’s going to be a wild ride, and those are always more fun with friends. 🙂

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