this has been an extremely remarkable year. a year of extremes. my daughter turned 16, started driving and released her first album. my son got married. i celebrate 25 years in music ministry. i performed on the Dove awards with Yolanda Adams. our family went to Paris. i mean.... this year has been full of events that are once-in-a-lifetime milestones!
no, i'm not confused. i do realize that it's september 1st, not january 1st. i'm not recapping 2012. i'm summarizing 42. september is the month in which i was born, therefore it is the month that i will officially become one year older. and as avid celebrators... we celebrate all month long! and in the interest of my increasingly forgetful forty-something mind, i've grown accustomed to thinking ahead, rather than catching up. so, while my actual birth date is the 11th, i'm getting a head start here and sharing my verse for the coming year...which happens to also be the verse i'd planned to memorize this month. see how nicely that worked out?
one of the countless lessons my mom has taught me over the years is that of enjoying the journey. i am not a journey lover. i like to just plan the journey... and then be done. being in the studio has never been my favorite. it takes too long. remodel projects drive me mental. they take too long. traveling across the country.... too long. so, my mom's advice to find 'joy in the journey' has not been easy for me to put into practice. but, as i've seen lived out in both of my parents lives, the journey does bring joy. not without struggles, but still, the joy is worth it.
at this point in my life, at this stage of my journey, i'm still learning and growing. continuing to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in my heart and life, aiming for advancement in the patience department so i can enjoy the journey more. another beautiful lesson i've learned from my parents is that of constant growth. they both have consistently said to me over the years..."i've turned a corner...", or "listen to what God revealed to me in His Word today...". these are people in their 60's and 70's. people in ministry that know the Word... and yet they have yielded their hearts to the Spirit in order that they might keep growing! inspiring.
another extreme milestone this year was the honor to minister alongside my daughter Izzi Ray, Lenya Heitzig, Anne Graham Lotz and her daughter Rachel Ruth at the She Presses On conference in Albuquerque, NM. Lenya and Anne are absolute pillars of the faith. these women live out the gospel, and preach it with power. i left there changed, encouraged and empowered. the foundational scripture that the event was based on was philippians 3:13+14. i decided then and there that those verses would define the next year of my life. they would be my 'standard', the banner under which i'll live.
Paul says (paraphrasing here....) "i haven't reached the end. i haven't hit the goal. i may look like i've got it all together, after being involved in ministry for so long, but i'm not there yet. i'm not going to stay focused on the past, what i did or didn't do, what others did to me, what i accomplished, where i failed.. NO! i'm moving ahead, straining forward, PRESSING ON! because there's more to do. because it's about Jesus."
i'm celebrating 25 years in ministry this year. that represents an enormous amount of work and accomplishment. and yes, growth. but i'm not there yet. i haven't yet reached the goal. i can't sit back and say 'done'. because there is more to do. and i certainly don't have it all together. i'm in desperate need of growth. in order to grow, pruning must take place... more on that later. but for now let's remember that God is not finished with any of us yet! while we still have breath we can press on by His Spirit, for His name!
brothers and sisters, i do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. but ONE THING i do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus.
|here are some photos from the ShePressesOn event:|
(clockwise from top left) Lenya Heitzig and me; Louise, Elle and Shaeleen Puckett with Izzi and me during the Bible study application time; Izzi and me on stage; Rachel-Ruth, Anne, Me, Izzi