Each year, I make a list (sometimes it appears on my blog) of the ways God has blessed me. You know, the gifts He’s given me over the past 12 months. I felt 2021 was full of these things… blessings, moments of awareness, lessons learned, redemptive times.
God gives all of us these gifts. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
Why do we miss these moments, though, life quickly jetting by? What makes us prone to receive gifts, hands extended and palms up, smiles spread across our faces… then toss those same gifts in a heap, often lamenting what we didn’t receive?
I have done this more times than I wish. I’ve tried to stop behaving this way. And that’s one of the gifts God gave me the past two years–the opportunity to slow down… I mean REALLY SLOW DOWN. It’s amazing what I see when I’m not trying to keep pace with anything but the leaves and grass and wind.
I’ll share my 2021 gift list with you, and I hope you’ll consider making one of your own, too. You can also check out more on my gift list on my podcast.
Trusting through transitions.
For about half of 2021, I have searched for a full-time job. I’m picky about what I’m looking for because I currently own a consulting business with great flexibility. I love my business, but I’m hoping to find a fulfilling, service-oriented job with a mission-minded organization. Oh, and it must pay well to justify the time I would spend on it.
The search has felt endless and tireless. I’ve been completely sick of the process many times. And mind you, I get paid to help others with the job search and career fulfillment process!
Something God has taught me through this process is to be content in the transition period. To be okay waiting, not having any idea about the outcome. To thrive in the present moment, enjoying where I am, entrusting where I will be to Him.
Right now I’m honestly not concerned about my job search outcome. If He wants me to have something, He’ll give it to me and make it happen. If not, I’m okay right here.
Listening, hearing, and heeding… then watching.
About two years ago, God started speaking to me.
Yes, I mean what I said–He started speaking to me in words, not through situations or people or even Bible verses. Just saying things to me.
Each time He said something to me (that’d be a word of prophecy, in case you’re unfamiliar with the lingo), He would back it up with Scripture within 24 hours.
This just happened again a few days ago. I clearly felt Him calling something to mind He had told me a few years ago. I wasn’t sure if my emotions were toying with me, though, or if it was truly the Holy Spirit. I sat still in my office, covered by a soft handmade afghan, hot mug of tea in hand. I sipped. I asked Him to tell me or show me if this thing He pointed to was indeed what He wanted for me. I waited. I listened.
A few moments later, a photo I’d framed almost 10 years ago caught my eye. It hung on the wall in my office, but just the tail end of it protruded in sight. I felt compelled to bend down to see the verse enscribed on the photo.
When I read it, I wept. It perfectly confirmed what He was speaking to me about.
God does this ALL THE TIME for me now. I think He probably tried to do this all along, ever since the day I allowed Him to sweep clean my heart. But I wasn’t always listening, hearing, or heeding His voice. And I struggled to watch and wait after He spoke.
Friends can become like family.
This is one of those gifts I never asked Him for, but He knew I needed it.
I’ve struggled to keep certain people from annoying me, especially people who find ways to push my buttons (which I like to think are invisible). I have found it tough to avoid hurt feelings when people I care about say insensitive things, ignore me, or choose to spend time with anyone but me. And I’ve often felt torn about whether to maintain contact with people I know aren’t adding to my life… some of them only taking, actually.
I used to say that if I ever detached from someone, it was final. Permanent. I detached with a machete, and it severed all ties, leaving marks.
This year, detachment has become what I always read about in recovery literature… a way to let go and let God, to unvelcro myself from a sticky person, and rest on a luxe, velvet couch while the sticky person does what sticky people do. It’s softer this way.
Over the past five years, my marriage has bounced between the ER and ICU. Unfortunately, we were never making it to the OR.
We made it this year, and with the help of a counselor who happens to also be a great friend, I have watched God perform an absolute marital miracle. I’m more in love with my husband than I have ever been. This is reconciliation I never imagined or allowed myself to hope for, but I’m not surprised.
This is what God does.
This is Who He Is.
And I am so grateful.
6 thoughts on “2021 gift list”
Merry Christmas, Bethany
Beautifully written, Bethany! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Dr. Murphy!
very good article. making a list like this is something all of us ought to do. have a Merry Christmas.
I hope you have a great Christmas, too, Lee!
Reblogged this on Gratitude Cup.