As I was walking into the office today, I realized that Grant & I have now been living in Baton Rouge for one year. We got married on December 30, returned from our honeymoon on January 5, and moved to Louisiana January 6. Grant started his job that Monday, January 8.
And oh, how far we have come. This year has taught me lesson after lesson. It has been a joyful year, but also a year of "growing up". Just a few things that I have learned in the past 365 days:
1. I put together our first home. I used all of our Bed Bath & Beyond gift cards (with some Target ones thrown in here and there) to hang curtains, nail art to the walls, and have a guest bedroom with it's necessary 8 pillows.
2. We got our first puppy, Moxie in January. He has been a joy, and melts my heart.
3. I got a job working as a legal secretary with some of the nicest people on the planet. God blessed me so much my placing me in a work environment that adopted me like a family.
4. The months of March & April consisted of Jen throwing herself a little pity party. The "fun" phase was over. I was lonely, and sad, and I missed my friends. I missed my mom. I missed the familiar, of knowing where everything was. I missed walking into church and getting hugs from practically every person in the building. Everything was just so new and I had to adjust. I pouted on the couch for quite some time until Grantley basically told me to get over myself. (In a precious, loving way, of course!)
5. A smiling, giggling, hairbow-wearing ball of joy came into my life. On May 2, God blessed us with Grace Parker. And my life will never be the same!
6. My repertoire of 6 rotating meals for dinner has now expanded to about 2 dozen or so. I am still learning!
7. My car now has four new tires.
8. Joanna Katherine got herself hitched and moved to Montana, and Sally and her men packed up and moved to North Africa. Lindsee is still in Texas and our "foursome" has officially split up across the world. Yet somehow, we still chat 4 times a week and keep up with each other! I love my girls!
9. The twins are now saying words and getting a little bit sassy, to tell you the truth. I think Juliet really thinks that we should let her be in charge of everything because she is smarter than us.
10. We almost moved. And then we didn't.
11. I lost my Aunt Donna to cancer. Christmas didn't have its usual jolliness this year. There was a distinct giggle that was missing.
12. I fell in love with my husband over and over again. Even on the days where I thought I was the worst excuse for a wife there ever was, he reminded me that he loved me just as I am. And that made me want to be a better wife!
13. We now watch our television shows in High Definition. I have decided that Detective Benson on Law & Order SVU has very large pores.
14. We went to Disney World! Grant and I had the sudden realization that there was a really good chance that the next time we went to Disney World it would be with our children. WEIRD.
15. I met Katie, my Godsend! The Lord blessed me with a precious friend who needed me as much as I needed her. Our instant bond and connection was such a comfort to me. I now have a Baton Rouge bestie!
16. We discovered the "back way" to get to Chase & Ronda's house, which cuts the time in half if the highway is full of traffic!
17. Major purchases of the year: 1 Television and 1 Guitar.
18. We had our first "split" Christmas between Texas and Louisiana. It's all about rotation, ya'll!
19. I learned that Jesus is always my greatest comfort.
20. I have learned that Jesus is the only thing I need. I don't need Texas. I don't need Taco Cabana, (honestly though, Louisiana needs to jump on that bandwagon), I don't need kolaches (if you don't know what a kolache is, then I feel very sorry for you and you are in my prayers), I don't need Highway 290 or the fireplace in my parent's living room. I need Jesus.
I surrendered everything to Him. I surrendered the familiar, and my comfort zones. I surrendered it and in return I have peace and the joy of knowing that the future is not in my control. I have the joy of knowing that the wisest One of all, He is the One who gets to decide where my life is headed.
This year I have prayed for 3 very distinct things- 1) a Holy contentment. I prayed that I would be content in this town and that the Lord would cover me with it. 2) A pure and compassionate heart. I want to be a servant more and I want my sins to be revealed to me. 3) An enthusiasm and a passion for knowing Jesus and growing closer to Him.
1 Peter 5:10-11 says "And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To HIM be the POWER for ever and ever. Amen."
I can't even begin to tell you how much that verse has comforted me. I don't want His power. I am not smart enough nor selfless enough to do anything right with it. Jesus has restored me, and He is continuing to do so, so that I may be strong, firm and steadfast.
Rejoice in the Lord always!