Rachel Jenae

2013 Year in Review

My dad use to say that one of our biggest weaknesses as humans is our innate ability to remember and forget. We tend to harbor and remember selective moments, while forgetting to celebrate and rejoice in all the others. A curse and a blessing at the same time.

Now another year has come and gone…leaving me wondering where it went.  Did I accomplish any of those goals I set out to just a short year ago? Did I grow? Did I learn? Did I love and give more? Did I make more good decisions than bad? Did I pursue God’s heart more intently? How did I spend the time given to me? Did I invest it wisely?

My dread and love for this time of year settles in. Looking back is a blur until I take the time to really dig into remembering and reflecting.  Part of me wants to kick myself  for not doing more and the other wants to quickly move on, throw out the old and not look back.  No wonder God told His people to set up memorial places all throughout the Bible.  I’ve done this same work five times now-this recalling and reflecting-and it never fails to remind me of a million small things I overlooked while in process. Each a reminder of His faithfulness and perspective. A reminder of His ability to “work all things together for my good” and bring beauty from ashes.  (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)

2013 as a whole started wonderfully, got a bit bumpy in the middle, but ended sweeter than it began! It was a year I learned to receive more freely, love more intentionally, risk more often and communicate more clearly. I was confronted by old fears I thought I was done with, reminded of my unwavering value, sifted by doubt and obscurity, and most recently brought face to face with the beautiful inheritance passed down to me. Here is my 2013 year in review!

January consisted of cleansing, a incredible devotional on what love expressed really looks like and darker hair.

At the end of the month I headed to Denver to spend my birthday with some new and old friends. It was a birthday to remember set in the beautiful scenery of the mountains and feeling incredibly loved by dear friends.

In March I headed to Florida for my annual JBU Girlfriends Reunion! I wouldn’t trade these times for the world! Soul sisters through and through!

Easter weekend my parents, younger brother and his wife came to visit me in Dallas. Sadly, I ended up with a stomach bug that weekend, so was not that much fun.

Spring brought with it time with a bunch of these amazing people I get to do life with.

April, was a hard month. A month filled with more awareness of my weakness and fears I thought I was past. We had our annual women’s conference at church and I walked away realizing how much I was wrestling with God over things in my life…and, about trusting once again.

May was a month full of a repositioning. I wasn’t sure how it would happen, but I knew I’d heard God speak that word for May specifically.  The first week of the month God asked me a question I’ll never forget. “If you were standing at the end of your life looking back, what would have to happen for your life to have been successful?”  The answer came much quicker than I expected, but then so did God’s reply to my answer. “You don’t live your life as if that is the most important thing.” And in that moment I knew God was repositioning a way I had been thinking for far too long.

Leading into the summer months friends + the lake were a great guess to where I might be found. Thankful for friends with boats!

In May my entire family headed to Illinois for a family reunion. It was quite the road trip with 3 vehicles and 12 people following each other all the way.  We celebrated the 1 year anniversary of my grandmother being in a head-on collision where she made a full recovery! We also enjoyed lots of shooting (the family that shoots together, stays together) and of course, lots of card games!

In June I took a quick trip with girlfriends to San Antonio for a fun weekend at Sea World and relaxing. With June came summer Ranger games, words on waiting, hair getting really long and “hope” of a tattoo in my near future.
Then it was time for another family reunion on the other side of the family, so we headed to the Arizona mountains for the Fourth of July. I have many childhood memories here, watching the parade, eating homemade ice-cream, playing bean-bag-toss. It was great to be there! 

August brought with it so many great things! I had a life impacting conversation with a dear cousin of mine about my value, a friend of mine had her baby and we saw God do a miracle work to save both of their lives, and I headed to Denver to celebrate a good college friend’s 30th birthday!

September brought the beginning of a lot of change. I moved in with a dear friend while her husband was gone for the month and felt like God was telling me to sit back, rest and just receive. Quit trying to help Him figure and work everything out. Just. Sit. Back. Friends were having baby showers, having babies, and birthday celebrations! It was an incredibly sweet month and the beginning of what I felt God say was a season of favor beginning. 

Just a small glimpse of some of the randomness I plan at work. This was a 70’s themed cereal break party for our entire staff.

October started with one of our biggest conferences of the year-that all staff volunteers to work. It’s an exhausting couple of days, but I absolutely love it! Seeing friends from all over the country and even the globe, come in to get trained and equipped to go out and help reach the world… it’s one of my favorite things we do as a church!

After the conference I took a quick break to go visit my new little niece and the other cherubs in the family. I always wish we lived closer after these visits.

October also consisted of some great flag football, lots of worship training, wearing leopard print, and moving in with this lady and my Texas family.

November was a fun month. Banquets with lots of good ole friends! Thanksgiving with my entire family in Arkansas, winning 3rd place in our staff Christmas photo contest, and serving at a Thanksgiving dinner serve. 

The week after Thanksgiving I paid off the last of any remaining debt I had. No car payments, no student loans and no credit cards!!! Goodness it feels great to be debt FREE!

Before leaving town for Christmas I was able to spend some quality time with these sweet friends!

Plans for Christmas were originally to go to Illinois, but last minute we found out my mom’s mother was declining in health rapidly, so we decided to go to Arizona and see her instead. Little did I know what God had in store for this trip, but you can read the full story here. It was a house full and such a sweet time with multiple generations of family all gathered there to love on my grandmother in her last days. It was the sweetest Christmas present from the Lord to be there for these precious days. 

So another year is over. Wrapped up from beginning to end. The goodness of God showing off in every high and low. It was not an easy year. In fact, I would say a good majority of it was quite difficult. My heart was stretched, wounded at times, disappointed and frustrated too, but it has come full circle and the restorative work that God always wants to do now seems so evident. So evident of His faithfulness and goodness if we will just keep walking with Him and keep trusting His heart. Just keep walking. Don’t make camp on the bad days and stay there…just keep walking! He has promised to lead us through.

Today I was reminded of how long some things can seem to take from my perspective. Things I never imagined could be restored have come back to me. Things from three years ago and things from 12 years ago. It does not look how I imagined, but He is restoring it just the same.

The word God gave me for 2013 was building. Building upward and outward. Now embarking on 2014 I’ve heard a handful of words since October and I feel my expectation growing–ready to embark on the new! Favor (Ps. 102:12-13), It’s Time (2 Cor 6:2), Inheritance and Rest (Heb 4). I believe it’s going to be a year where God outpours more of Himself in fullness on our lives. Where unfavorable circumstances on the surface are going to actually be for our favor. It will be a year where unexplainable favor falls on our lives. Where things that have been waiting (Hab 2:3, Is. 40:31, Ps. 27:14) and held back for years will come to fruition and as we rest (*trust and obey) in what God is doing and just follow Him forward, we will receive His inheritance and promised land  for our generation and those to follow.

Is. 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.

So get ready! Increase your expectation! Increase your preparation to see Him in fullness. Make time for His presence. Make time to hear from Him. Ask for more. Pursue Him like  never before. Pursue Him like your life depends on it. And get ready for the outpouring of His favor on your life like never before!

Happy New Year and love to you all!