It’s the night before Christmas. It really doesn’t feel like it to me, primarily because my head is so congested that I can’t enjoy the candle that’s lit and flickering on the table in front of me or the cider I drank an hour ago. I’m a pretty sensual person. I like to soak in the world around me completely and appreciate the seasons, the holidays, the tiny moments while they’re happening before they pass me by.
But this year, it’s been pretty stressful between things going on at work, home, etc. It hasn’t felt super Christmasy to me.
Thankfully, I had a whole week off work to relax and spend time with people I care about and enjoy being around. I can’t say it really got me in the “Christmas spirit,” but it definitely reminded me of the gifts God’s given me throughout this entire year. I had breakfast with a friend of mine who came into my life just six or seven short months ago this week. We had one of those conversations you never really forget, the kind full of epiphanies and deep, saturated moments that change the way you think about things and the way you view yourself and the way you live your life. Later, she told me I was one of “her gifts of 2009.”
So in similar spirit, here are some of the gifts that God has sent my way in 2009.
- The relationship prayer, given to me by a friend I barely know. I’ve been praying this prayer for months, and it revealed truths to me and insights I really needed to lead me to big decisions.
- A small, close-knit group of other couples to meet with to share personal things with and get feedback from to help me grow as a person and in my relationship.
- The opportunity to teach a class of teenage girls and their willingness to share truly intimate moments of their lives with me and to accept me for who I am… and most importantly, all the things God taught me about myself in the process of teaching the class.
- The chance to remember that there’s a woman inside me who is soft, gentle, and vulnerable who wants to love and be loved.
- Reconnections with friends from China who rekindled the love I have inside me for all things China.
- The restoration of old friendships that came as a result of losing two people I loved.
- A chance to learn how to grieve and to learn how to choose to let someone go when it would have been the selfish but easier choice to keep hanging on.
- The beautiful opportunity to give back to Youth Home in memory of Andrew and to share it with people I loved on my 30th birthday.
- The choice to live every day the best I can, one day at a time, knowing that I’m okay with who I am finally at this point in my life.
Hope this year has brought as many wonderful gifts your way as well.