Every year, at the beginning of the year, I seek the Lord about a specific focus or theme that He put on my heart for the year. This year, I keep feeling impress upon me that this will be a year of growth. I don't know if it's a bad sign that I'm posting my "New Year's" post in February... but that's the way the year is starting. It's been good and busy and filled with stretching and growing experiences for me personally and professionally.
I am pushing myself in different ways: one big step I'm taking is by starting my Masters in Ministry through Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University (which also happens to be where I got my undergrad degree in Children's Ministry, and by the way, I'm a HUGE FAN of IWU and Wesley Seminary). It's an online program, and I'm only in week 2, but I am already excited about what I'm going to learn and how I will grow as a ministry leader. It was kind of daunting to think about going back to school while working full time, and wondering how it would fit into my busy schedule, but I am also growing in the area of time management and self-discipline, and it's all fitting together.
I am looking for simple ways to grow and learn throughout the day- things like listening to leadership and ministry podcasts (I listen while I work out); reading books (right now, I'm just reading seminary books, but I just re-read Amplified Leadership by Dan Reiland and absolutely loved it).
I'm growing in my faith through seeking accountability and mentorship with godly people whom I respect, and I'm also involved in networking with other local ministry leaders, and involved in a small group with amazing friends.
I'm going through ministry experiences I've never been through before, like going through a senior pastor transition, and navigating the process of working with our staff and board volunteers as we search for a new pastor and still carry out God's vision and mission for our church.
I'm growing as a wife and woman, and although I fall short daily, I am striving to become the woman and wife God wants me to be, and I am blessed with a supportive, loving, selfless and grace-filled husband who cheers me on and lifts me up.
I'm being stretched with my time, as I juggle full time ministry, and writing and selling my own curriculum, as well as doing some freelance curriculum writing, and now Masters classes. But to be honest, I've never felt more fulfilled or excited about life than I have now. I wake up each morning filled with gratitude and excitement for the opportunities God has given me and the honor of getting to serve Him each day. And it truly is my honor to get to spend my life serving Him and His children. I know I have a lot to learn, and a lot of room for growth! I learn a lot of things the hard way, and I continually have to seek the Lord for wisdom, but that's how I know I'm right where He wants me, because I can't do it on my own.
I have no idea what's going to happen in 2015, but I want to look back at the end of the year and know that I grew more in love with the Lord, grew in wisdom, grew closer to Him and more like Him, grew in the humility and servanthood, in knowledge and in leadership (and maybe my family will grow this year.... who knows?! ....This isn't a hint, though!).
I've never grown more in my life than in times of stepping out of (or being pushed out of) my comfort zone, and uncomfortable as it is to be stretched, those times are mile markers in my life. I don't think that I've reached my cap as a leader or a person, and I'm not hoping to any time soon!