“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28 (CSB)

My 2018 year can be best described in the pleading wisdom found in Matthew 11:28.

It seemed everywhere I looked, everything I studied, and everything I read or encountered throughout the 365 days of 2018 brought me back to this verse.

Weary. Burdened. Tired.

Such heavy words that certainly weighed me down and made me both seek and crave a much-needed, overdue, period (or if I’m being real, glimpse) of rest. 

After spending all of 2017 seeking wisdom and being gifted with an entire year of soul searching and beautiful revelation, I felt a ago that my 2018 year should be dedicated to G R A C E. And you know what? My early 2018 self was wise beyond belief because I certainly needed a LOT of grace in 2018.

While reflecting back on the year, I encouraged myself to read the first post I wrote in 2018. Which, quite fittingly, was motivated by my quest for grace. I wrote:

“I am focusing on a different form of grace in 2018 – the art of extending grace to others as well as to myself.

As a recovering perfectionist, this is no easy feat. Perhaps it is easier to extend grace to others when acknowledging God’s unending grace granted to us, however, I believe it is incredibly difficult to offer that same grace to our own broken self

…I want to seek the kind of grace that will grant my recovering perfectionist self the opportunity to say, “I can’t” or “It’s too much for me right now,” or plainly, “no.”

We live in a world full of constant demands and endless obligations that have us running wild and ultimately, weary. There is power in saying “no” to the things we don’t want or need to do. There is strength developed when we recognize that we cannot do it all, have it all, or be it all to everyone. This is the type of grace that I hope to seek and gift to myself in 2018.” ~ Excerpt taken from January 2018 ‘Seeking Grace’ blog post [for more, visit – https://seekinggraceandgratitude.com/2018/01/seeking-grace/]

Wow. It is amazing how the Spirit was convicting my soul to acknowledge the full plate I intended to feed myself even before I received one of the year’s many helpings. 

To name a few:

  1. Sell our house in Scottsdale, AZ (during the Spring of 2018)
  2. Pack up our AZ home for a cross-country move back to our hometown of Grand Rapids, MI
  3. Find a home to rent or buy in Grand Rapids (ideally before June 2018)
  4. Give birth to our 4thchild (due early May 2018)
  5. Relocate to West Michigan, unpack, and adjust our family (summer 2018)
  6. Transition to a new life in West Michigan, including a new school for my two elementary-aged daughters, incorporating extended family into our home life, and finding new physicians for the endless specialties needed to serve our family’s healthcare needs, amongst other things…

These were all things I anticipated and had trusted God’s timing to provide, plan and lead us through. True to His character, God was absolutely faithful and we praise His name for His promises of faithfulness. However, there were some things I did not expect or anticipate occurring in 2018. For one, my 4thchild being a week late on coming into the world. Her untimely arrival meant she was only 2 weeks old when we loaded up our moving truck and packed minivan for a 4-night road trip across the United States. Another curve ball thrown our way was discovering our newborn baby girl was born with an incurable eye abnormality called coloboma [which can lead to complete blindness and be a symptom of greater issues pertaining to the brain and/or heart]. 

If it weren’t for the challenges I personally faced during the years 2012-2016 followed up with one full year of self-discovery and wisdom seeking, I do not think I could have handled any of the surprises or busyness I encountered in 2018.

You see, during those painful years of trials, tribulations and personal mishaps I not only learned so much about myself but also learned so much more about my Heavenly Father and spiritual soul. My faith was shaken, in the best way possible, and it felt like an earthquake had shattered and disrupted everything I thought I knew. The result was the beautiful gift of sanctification wrapped perfectly around a fearless faith that is now stronger than anything I could have ever built on my own. 

2017 ended with answers to the many questions I desperately asked God to give me over what felt like a very long, very slow, five year period. 2018 began with the answers in my heart and God taking my hand to lead the way forward. I couldn’t always see what was directly in front of me but I knew He was always there beside me. I could see the most wonderful blessings in every corner of my life, like God winks – God winking at me reminding me that He is everywhere and in every little thing.

But then Fall hit and like the leaves breaking away from the trees, I was gradually breaking free from my root and falling into scattered pieces on a very dry ground. 

Like my most recent blog post described, I had overcommitted myself and had run my soul dry, tired and weary. 

If only I would have reread the wisdom I had wrote (through the Holy Spirit’s work within me) and actually slowed down enough to receive the Truth found in Matthew 11:28, perhaps I wouldn’t have found myself feeling dried up and unrooted from the tree of life. 

I realized in November that I had gone the majority of the year receiving less than 7 hours of combined sleep. In fact, to this day I haven’t slept more than 5 hours uninterrupted since March of 2018. Of course my body is physically tired! But my soul, too? That I most definitely neglected while attempting todoall the thingsand beall the thingsto all of the people, places and things in my life. 

I was able to easily extend grace to others but I hadn’t gifted myself the same grace until the last month of the year – December.

The devil broke me in a way I never considered possible. He made me busy with things I love to do. But with the power of the Holy Spirit, and only through a power that was not my own, I was finally able to tell Satan “no” “not today” in the busiest month of the entire year. 

Thatpower, which I know was from God, encourages me as I head into 2019.  Calling on the Spirit to invade my soul and save me from the busy I was drowning in was the splash of cold water I needed to wake up to what is truly important in life. It is not the stuff I busied myself with in 2018. It’s not the fun things I enjoy doing or even the people I love to be around and do life with. What is better than the good is seeking and accepting what is B E S T. It is being intentional in my walk with the Lord, living purposefully as my Creator intended, and being true to my authentic self and God-designed soul.

My year of grace taught me all of that. The Truth found in Matthew 11:28 refreshed my soul towards the end of 2018 and awakened me to my 2019 word of focus – PRESCENCE. It is my prayer that I will slow down this year, enjoy each and every moment for the priceless gift that it is, and bask in the ultimate present of being present in this temporary life so I can experience God’s presence both here and in eternity. 

Thank you for following along on my imperfect journey! I am so grateful God has brought us together to navigate the spiritual quest of life J

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