Where has this year gone? It’s been an amazing, adventurous, challenging and rewarding year…what about you all? In less than a week we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving, which might be a top five holiday of mine, although I do love all holidays. Normally during November I do the 30 days of thankfulness. However coming off of the 31 Day Challenge in October I chose not to this year. I also wanted to recognize whether I was giving thanks daily for the blessings, and battles, in my life without the force of writing behind it.
Today though I wanted to pause and give thanks to some key areas in my life, and while this list doesn’t encompass it all (as my lists rarely do), I did want to give thanks for them specifically.
1. My Faith. I am thankful more than ever to have Christ in my life and to know Him personally. The strength, fullness, and love He pours out along with new mercies astounds me. Moment by moment I see Him working and at other times I have wondered if I lost my way with Him. Through it all my faith has been a firm foundation this year, in the toughest of times and the highest celebrations.
2. My Family. I know you kind of have to say your family in this or risk having a super
awkward holiday season, but I so very thankful this year especially for my family. We are not perfect (and we never will be) but we love each other most of the time. With the loss of my grandfather a year ago this month, we are still weathering hurt and grief. My parents lost the family dog earlier this month and it was a reminder that life happens, but it’s how we live it out and who we live it with that matters at the end of a hard day.
3. My Friends. Goodness me! I have amazing friends…ones that love and pray for you when you can barely speak the words yourself. Ones that will listen to ramble on and then tell you the blunt truth (you need those kind of people in your life, trust me). They will push you and leave you alone…knowing your need for space and your innate introvertedness. They’ll also text you freaking out about a spider outside their house after a long day, and make you laugh. They remind that you have family that isn’t related, and that can often be what you need the most at certain times.
4. My dream. This year I have been pushed to really focus on this dream of writing. I cannot quite put into words (how fitting) how grateful I am for this year of passion in writing that I have never had before. There has been a constant urgency this year to write like never before and put on paper (or screen) what I feel I can share with others in similar situations. There are so many I can point to for encouragement and validation this year but it all started with Jon Acuff and the Start Experiment team. So much has come from that, including community with people who get it, without having any of us expect it to be explained.
5. My students. Professionally this season has been difficult. I won’t deny that in the least. But I keep being reminded I do what I do because I am called to do it, not because it’s “easy” or “fun” or any of the other descriptors others choose to state about my professional. Yahoo! Finance released an article this last week stating that my job was the third most stressful in the nation. The description doesn’t quite get it because for the majority of higher education administrators, the ones who are in it for the calling of life, we do so much more. It’s called life with students. It’s journeying with them, listening, being a part of their development. Over and over, especially recently, students remind me of why I do the reports, the budgeting, and the policies. They show me why I go in early and stay late. Just yesterday one current student made me laugh so hard in a meeting I thought I would bust. I came home to a package from a former student of something she had made years ago and lost in the shuffle. It reminded me that when working with students you find some joy, while seeing the stress of life impact them just the same as it does us. It’s my job to guide them through…