I'm struggling with how to begin the first blog post of 2011. I honestly can't believe we are already into a new year. I know people say that all the time. But as I look back at 2010 I feel like I just blinked from one major event to the next and here we are! I've felt at times as if I was just a feather being swept along by an uncontrollable wind. Okay, maybe sometimes it was more like a nice breeze, but last year went by faster for me than any other year of my life. Yet it was full of so many wonderful things...
It was a turning-point year on a couple of different levels. First, our church, which began 2010 with the name Connect, turned a corner, we feel. The beginning of last year brought several new families who have grown and become an integral part of our ministry here. We have seen people express their commitments to Christ through changed lives, altered priorities and pursuits, as well as baptism. All types of people have stepped up to give of their time and resources to aid our ministry - volunteering, leading out, entering into small group community. And God gave us a new name! Connect became LifePoint in October. The name change represents a connection with a larger LifePoint community in other parts of the world, for the same purposes we had to begin with - to reach people with the gospel of Christ and plant new churches where they are most needed. It's been a breath-of-fresh-air-fruitful year after a couple of very trying and sometimes confusing & discouraging years. The Lord is so good and faithful through it all and we have been grateful for all that He has allowed and done in 2010.
It was a turning-point year for me personally as well. Without getting into the nitty gritty, suffice it to say that our move to the Seattle area from Nashville, TN and the process of starting a church has not been all roses for me. During this time I have experienced some of my most difficult moments to date. Yet, somewhere in 2010 I began to realize just how much I love living here and began to embrace our lives here more than I had before. And, now I continue to cling to God's promise in Philippians, "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it."
The year was also full of some fun travel for us as well as the joy of welcoming friends and family to our home as they traveled to the NW, some for the first time! Dale and I were able to be a part of a former student's wedding, which was such a wonderful time. Right after that we revisited our youth ministry days as we were a part of a week-long camp (Super Summer) while also getting to spend time with good friends. November found Dale and me in the Nashville, TN area again as we visited LifePoint's Smyrna campus. Not only did Dale have valuable time with the staff there, but we were able to be refreshed by wonderful time with old friends...and a little time to ourselves. It was great!
Our summer was full of week after week of visitors, as well as our live-in and well-loved intern, Alanna! We gladly introduced everyone to as much of the NW as possible during the time they were here. Dale and I could probably get second jobs as tour guides... And anyone who would like to make use of this free service is welcome to come up! Just tell us at least a few weeks in advance. :) Our family took some needed vacation time while our friends the Shrums were here for a couple of weeks. We were able to do some camping during that time, which we love. The laughter and companionship the summer brought was definitely a highlight.
The fall brought the adjustment to our oldest being a full-time 1st grader. We all made it and we are so proud of the little person she is becoming! Kaitlyn progressed in her swimming and had play dates aplenty. Before we new it the holidays were upon us along with all the accompanying festivities. I am grateful for 2010. Although I do pray that I will feel a little less blown about at the end of 2011 than I do now. I know it will be fast-paced, because that is the reality of our lives. But I will seek to cling more to Christ my Rock, who is the calm, steadying force in the midst of winds of change, circumstances, busy seasons... And I am aiming to post more to the blog soon, including pictures, as well as give it some much-needed updating! :)