Well, a new year and here we go friends. Can't say I am starting off with great news or news of great things to come, But.... I can say, I have made a decision to find direction and the first day I make the commitment to do that, THE VERY FIRST DAY, God in an ever so gentle voice reveals Himself to me, once again one of those "ahhh" moments. Now don't get too excited, my ahh moment may be monumental to me and not so grand to you, but what is so miraculous about God is, He always meets us right where we are, and right in the nick-of-time! I sat down to type and I had read several articles about resolutions and game plans and back up plans and I thought ok, this has to be really inspiring! But the entire time I was reading it, it always went back to, what are YOU gonna do, how are YOU gonna make this happen, how are YOU gonna psyche yourself up, and make it happen for the year ahead. And all I was thinking was, good Lord how awful these women are going to feel if they fail. Because no one ever shares with each other how they fail, it's always how they succeed, thus, leaving you (those who fail) feeling like a LOSER, because I guarantee you out of 10 resolutions only 1 will follow through. So where does that leave the other 9. Again feeling like failures. I read this quote by William Henderriken, When grace changes the heart, submission out of fear changes to submission out of love, and true humility is born. The premise for grace as we know it, is something we are given that none of us deserve or could ever earn. It is a gift no more or less, plain and simple, a gift. It actually says He gives us grace on top of grace. His grace never runs out. EVER. Even when our plans fail and our options run out. Through this past year, as I have faced heartbreak like I could have never imagined, especially when it came to my children, I realized everything is safe which I have committed to Him and nothing is really safe which is not committed to Him. As a Mom you can use all the skills in the world and read all the books in the world, and have all your ducks in a row, but let me tell you, when the real tragedy hits, you better have that child committed to Him, not some plan or book or some super mom mentality, cuz your only hope lies in God. True surrender, releasing your grip. One of the hardest things I have ever had to face was when I felt a small voice say Angie give Emma to me, surrender, release your grip. I thought God I CAN NOT do that, I am her mother, I know best, I can control this, I can get a game plan, meet her for lunch snap her out of it and waaa la!! Problem fixed! No, Angie, surrender, release Emma to Me. God, the pain is to great, and at that moment, I heard that small whisper, Angie I knew Emma before you carried her, and I have a destiny for her life, I love Emma even more than you do, surrender, release her to me. At that time I had such bouts of anxiety and fear it would be days and I hadn't slept, yet from the moment I surrendered Emma to the One who gave her to me I had unexplainable peace. I had to relearn that anything committed to Him was safe in His hands, even Emma. And what a display of Gods provision and plan and design He has had for Emma's life, only now, 4 years later, it is clear, but it was not so clear at the time. Surrendering, releasing my grip was not an easy thing. Two weeks before Christmas I thought okay God what are we going to do about presents for the kids. Kenny has had some work but barely enough to keep us afloat on our basic bills. We went about business, I don't think Kenny and I even discussed it because I think it makes the reality even more unavoidable, and creates a tension neither one of us wanted. I just could not image how in the world we were going to do it. Even if he had work, time had ran out. Here we are at the end of the year and it seems God once again, I have nothing to wrap and put under the tree for my kids. God, why, I don't understand, I guess I am just destined for pain and suffering, I was really in a bad way. As I am sure millions of other families were as well. But there was just one difference, I had committed my family to someone that I knew, even with my bad attitudes and lack of faith, even with all I had done, held them safe. God, held my kids Christmas, not this economy, not me and not Kenny, but in His hands! And what came to them would be by His hand. And if I had learned anything along this journey, even when I think something has turned out bad, their is a lesson to be learned in that situation, and it has spared us far greater tragedy down the road if we allow God to use that situation in our life. God, I surrender, releasing my grip. I get a text from a family member, who says he had a new years trip planned and he was going to fore go his trip, use the money and pay our way to spend Christmas with family in Dallas Texas and underwrite the kids entire Christmas!! And to think, I had the audacity to think I could control our lives somehow better than the One who made us! Once again, this theme, surrender, releasing my grip. As the year came to an end and I thought about what lay ahead, I thought, God I don't know all the answers, but I do know Corinthians says, It is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. Being trustworthy often means little more than showing up, simply being ready and available. Paul says it is required that a steward be found faithful, not necessarily fruitful or full of charisma or excited or brimming with optimism, but faithful! And if this past year God has been seeing anything in me it has been me just showing up to this computer and sharing what pain I have felt, what weakness I have shown, and, yet, what He has done in spite of all my sad, ignoble disbelief. So God I have at least been faithful and shown up! Ok, so I have shown up, but I also feel there is another crucial part, for me, the hardest part, and it will be my mantra for 2012. Unbelief, which ultimately is holding back, not surrendering all to Him, holding on tight, control, SELF. Hebrews says, we have alot of people around watching us, let us put aside everything that will hinder us," the" sin which so easily grips us, and let us run with great endurance the race that is set before us. I believe "the" sin is unbelief. How can we truly run life's race without wholly deciding to trust God--really rely on Him. And that kind of trust only comes by surrendering to Him. And that brings me to my last crisis of 2011, I sat down to begin a post and my laptop, which by the way I bartered for, the laptop for a gallon of Aveda shampoo, stop working. Well, I have been faithful, at least I have shown up, haven't had the greatest of attitudes, not the strongest of faith, not the star child for the what a Christ follower should be, but at least I had SHOWN UP. That's the beauty of who God is even with all our failure and inadequacies, He is our hope, not who we are. So my faith was so small I couldn't even feel it, much less pray. I thought how am I going to get another computer, it is certainly economically impossible. But, isn't that just when God always makes His move. Once again, when I was hemmed in, He came to my rescue. I love that scripture! When you think there is no hope, you have reached your limit, God always shows up. He was there the whole time, and would have answered alot quicker, but the problem always lies in our disbelief, our surrendering, releasing our grip. I felt that whisper once again, Angie ask me for a computer. Ok, sure, in a snotty attitude, give me a computer. I even ask a few people if they had an extra laptop I could borrow. That's how much I expected to get a computer. Shame on me. We went to Dallas, got back home, I was at my cousins house and Kenny calls me and was visually moved, Angie you wont believe this!, I am forwarding you a text I just got! The text read, Santa has left you a laptop and software, it is paid for and waiting for you at Best Buy. Well, there you go. I was speechless, and of course crying, and deeply shamed for my disbelief. But, a lesson well learned, my HOPE, for twenty-twelve, I commit to surrender, release my grip, work on "the" sin of unbelief and see just what God can do!!