Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
This was a year full of various kinds of trials in our family, but they produced their desired effect in the long run. God grew us in ways we didn't know that we needed to grow and our faith is stronger than it was at this time last year. Here are a few things that I'm praising God for doing in me:
-I trust Him more with the ugly stuff. God doesn't always bring prosperity, or help us accomplish our personal goals. He has a bigger plans in mind. It's easy when life just keeps throwing junk at you to question His goodness. I get that. I questioned his goodness this year. But through His Word God grew my faith and I'm thankful that I see Him more clearly today than I did January 5th 2013 and I trust Him to do His good even in the really hard times of my life.
-My heart is more generous, even though we have less.
-I trust Him to provide even more than in the past.
-I've seen God answer some specific prayers in the last 6 months that have grown my faith and caused me to pray more, and be very, very thankful!
So even though in some respects in my book 2013 was a total bust, in God's timeline of my life 2013 was exactly what I needed to look more like Jesus and to, as James says, be a mature Christian.
Here's a little video recap of the year for ya. As is typical, the instagram pics show lots of smiles. You'd never know how hard life has been! (Something good to remember as you watch everyone else on social media. Their lives aren't as pretty as they look on camera!) But it shows off some of the fun stuff of the year. We truly do have much to be thankful for!