MERRY BELATED CHRISTMAS and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR from the Blaaks in South Africa (and the Blaak in Australia)!
For the past two weeks, we’ve had radio silence on the blog because we’ve been Making Merry—eating, resting, partying, and enjoying our Joshua who has come ‘home for Christmas!’ Yaaaay!
This momma’s heart is almost full. The only thing missing around here is our other little chickie in Australia. Unfortunately, Raelynne wasn’t able to get away from work during the Christmas season, but we’re hoping to see her soon.
In the meantime, we’ve been doing some good soul searching around here. Before we can adequately start something new in 2018, it’s essential to FIND THE GOLD IN THE OLD.
So today, on a road trip to Port Elizabeth, we discussed this question:
What is the greatest lesson you learned in 2017?
Here’s what each of us had to say…
- “Stop caring so much about other people’s opinions, and avoid getting caught up in their drama whenever possible.”
Such incredibly valuable advice coming from our 15-year-old drama queen. She’s just finished her second year of high school (grade 9) and placed 2nd in her class. We love you and are so proud of you, baby girl!
- “I have learned two things. 1. The importance of community and speaking to people about what you’re going through. I learned that we shouldn’t suffer alone. 2. And I also learned how important it is to be aware of the Holy Spirit and what God is saying to you. Stay focused on God (reading His Word, praying, and worshiping) and don’t lose the plot.”
Super proud of how our boy has grown this year, both in stature and in character. He just finished grade 10 at the top of his class, and he’s developing into such a great leader. Well done, Dave!
- “Don’t worry so much about things you don’t have control over. For me, I had to face my fears at every step of getting a job, getting my driver’s license, passing my audition and getting into school, and then passing my classes.”
Joshua has had the most intense year. He moved back to Canada in January and began ‘adulting’ in one fell swoop. He bit the bullet, went for his audition, and got into the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at MacEwan University. And now, he’s just rocked his first semester, and we are super proud of how much he’s grown! Go, Josh!
- “Good friends make a world of difference. Things will always get better. There is more.”
Raelynne has just completed her second year at Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia. It has been a year of personal challenges and financial struggles, but she has grown so much as a result. She’s hoping to complete an internship year in 2018, which is why she had to stay in Australia to work. Man, we miss her! We’re sooo proud of you, Rae!
- “You are where you planned to be. It’s not an accident. Don’t waste time, and don’t wait for other people to do it for you. Actively pursue what God has planned for you.”
2017 was a year marked by MUCH change and developing the young leaders around him. As busy as ever, Erwin continues to be a fantastic pastor and a powerful role model for the next generation. He’s also been taking some personal development courses to keep his skills sharp. Well done, babe.
- “Whenever God gives you something, He always tests you in that very thing.”
In my case, 2017 was my year of testing, specifically concerning my book… IDENTITY: Finding the Proverbs 31 Woman in the Middle of Kid Chaos.
If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, click the link!
It’s all about finding your purpose and calling as a woman and facing issues like comparison, insecurity, and jealousy.
Well, I have certainly been tested in all of those areas. Never have I struggled so intensely with things that I thought I had dealt with years ago. (Thank goodness, I didn’t write a book about weight loss! 🙂 )
It’s not so odd, really. The Bible often speaks about such testing.
“… until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him” (Psalm 105:19 ESV).
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange was happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV).
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV).
The comforting thing is this… we don’t have to be perfectly qualified before God can use us. He calls us first and then empowers us to fulfill His plan and purpose.
God doesn’t call the qualified—He qualifies the called!
That means that I didn’t need to be a perfect mom before I could write a book on motherhood. Of course, it’s only natural to feel moments of insecurity, especially when sharing your journey with people.
But how awesome that God covers us in that insecurity and speaks words of courage to our hearts.
“It’s ok, my darling. In your weaknesses, I am made strong.”
And now, at the end of 2017, I can honestly say, “Thank You, Father, for 2017.”
Yes, it was a challenging year with some bumps along the way, but it was also good, because HE IS GOOD and EVERYTHING HE DOES IS FOR OUR GOOD.
So, now it’s your turn…
Use the comments below to share your wisdom with us.
Happy New Year, my friends!