Have you ever uttered the phrase "I just give up on ...!"
Maybe you have yelled it, screamed it, thought it, whispered it ... well, my friends - the year of 2017 has brought many moments where I have participated in all of the above in different situations.
This year has been beautifully broken in so many aspects of my life. There were times where I was run ragged, I was pulled in 300 directions, I was torn emotionally/physically/mentally.
So many babies needed me to be their advocate every second of every day. So many family members needed me during the sickness and unfortunate death of my grandfather. So many friends needed me to be their friend, their prayer warrior, their listening ear. So many young women needed me to be their mentor, their "go-to". So many clients needed photos in a timely manner. So many reports for work I needed to be completing. There was a lot of "needing Cassie" in 2017. (You should see my calendar!)
However, as I sit here typing this I am so grateful/thankful/undeservingly blessed - because during those moments of 2017 I began to relearn (because we are always being reminded) what true relationship and reliance upon God looks like. I can specifically recall times throughout the year where I was so tired of trying to do everything - that I would cry out to God in despair (in the shower, in the kitchen, on the side of the road, in the parking lot of the DFCS office, in the parking lot of the courthouse, in the pasture field - just to name a few!).
By the way, this is very difficult for me to type because I am being extremely vulnerable to a crowd that has often times labeled me as "a supermom" "a saint" and ask questions like "how do you do it all?" "how do you function everyday?"
So, why am I thankful and how did I make it?
Jesus specifically called me to foster children in my hometown (Psalm 82:3). I have wept over my "babies" that have since left and the ones I currently have. I have sat in meetings, courtroom hearings, doctor offices, law offices, therapy offices - advocating for these babes and literally crying for them. Not because I am being "made" to - but because Jesus instilled in me the urgency to protect His children. So, I am so thankful that God used those moments to fully rely in who He is and how sovereign He is.
Jesus specifically called me to be there for my family during times of need (1 Timothy 5:8). During my grandfathers sickness and death I was reminded of how blessed I was to simply be able to be there. The reason I moved back from Virginia was in many ways to do just that - be there for my grandparents and work on the farm during this time. God began to stir a humility in me - to lay aside my desires and to serve in a pure manner even when my schedule was "busy" - for this I am so thankful.
Jesus specifically called me to be a mentor to young women (Titus 2:3-5). I currently mentor two young women that I love so much! My conversations with them are unique, life-changing, challenging, and confrontational. I am able to read scripture to them, share life advice, and just walk alongside their journey with them. During these times it encourages me to stay consistent in the scriptures and to be prepared for questions I may receive. For this, I am so thankful, for it encourages my own spiritual growth.
Jesus specifically called me to be a friend (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). I have a good fistful of faithful friends who I rely on for encouragement, rebuke, confrontation, prayer, and a good lunch! There were moments this year where I would be having conversations with different friends and I would not share my struggles, I would just listen! However, when the issue would reach a point - I would unload and cry it all out. Well, God quickly reminded me through His Word the meaning of "bearing the load with one another" - so as the year went, I began to consistently ask for prayer and consistently share what was going on in my life. In doing that, I was also able to be a better quality of a friend - because I could fully reciprocate. For this, I am so thankful!!
Jesus specifically called me to work (Proverbs 12:24). I know that everyones "work" looks differently! A stay at home mom works continuously just like a nurse working a 12 hour shift works continuously. So, this is not where I am going with this :) However, with photography and my job in business management - I have been striving to use as a ministry. I have felt very "at-war" with this subject because my desire is to pursue photography full-time but there are more aspects of my work and clientele that must grow before that can happen. So during this time of limbo - I have been learning a lot about prioritizing, setting boundaries, and diligence. All very hard concepts to grasp for this TYPE B personality (haha!) - but for this growth, I am thankful!
So, giving up?
That is not in the vocabulary of what God has called me to.
I have EIGHT babies that have called me "momma" + an unknown amount of babes that I have yet to meet that still need me.
I have family that are amazing that still need me.
I have TWO young women that are growing that still need me.
I have a fistful of friends that are incredibly awesome that still need me.
I have a business with patient and beautiful clients that still need me.
But, most importantly I have ONE God that WANTS me & YOU to include Him in it ALL.
That's what I will continually and prayerfully do throughout my whole life!
So, I encourage you my friends - to not give up on that person, that situation, that child - whatever it may be - allow Jesus to come and work within the circumstance. There you will discover something so incredibly amazing.
Although 2017 may have been quiet eventful - some of the most beautiful moments of my life happened this year and for that - THANK YOU, JESUS - that you saw fit for someone like me to be apart of it all.
May this year end in much love, blessings, and thanksgiving - my dear friends!