A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 2015

I do know this: 2014 existed to get me to 2015. And while I may not understand every step, I see so very clearly the hand of God. And it’s funny….how in the midst of it, we might not even be sure God is noticing. But He’s orchestrating every step.

2014 has been an adventure, to say the least!  The beginning could never have predicted the end!

My eldest graduated from high school and moved away to college.  After nearly three years of un or under employment, God opened the right door for us.  We moved our entire family from Texas to Arizona.  I fell into a writing opportunity for a little movie called God’s Not Dead, which has led to some other amazing prospects. And probably about 126 other things I could recount if I journaled.  But I don’t.  So there you have it.

“What’s so funny about that?’, you ask?

brick wallSomewhere in the past 10 years, I lost my way.  Lost myself.  Forgot who and whose I am.  I think maybe life does that to you over time.  I began to equate my self, my soul, with what I do…not who I am.  Consequently, when I no longer ‘was’, I had no idea who I ‘am’.  And it was a rough journey to struggle out from under that fallen brick wall – for me and for those around me.

And to be thoroughly honest, I’m still a little flattened.  But as I shake the dust off, tend the wounds left behind, and assess…I become so much more aware of how God – in the way only God does – has orchestrated every step to bring me to this very moment.

I still don’t understand all of 2014.  I haven’t yet discerned why it’s so hard to watch my boys grow up.  I’m puzzled at why the transition to a new church and a new state has seemed harder than I thought it would be when God is so very obviously ‘in it’.  I still don’t get HOAs or the allure of a gated community, though I completely understand it’s a lot nicer than a pool you have to mow!

I do know this: 2014 existed to get me to 2015.  And while I may not understand every step, I see so very clearly the hand of God.  And it’s funny….how in the midst of it, we might not even be sure God is noticing.  But He’s orchestrating every step.

I love it when He does that.  And I am excited to abandon pool-mowing for the foreseeable future!

White Noise & Resolutions

television_staticI decided a few years ago that resolutions always make me feel like a failure.  And I don’t deal well with that.  So I have cut them from my life.  I wish ice cream made me feel like a failure.

But I do always take a stock of the year as it passes.  And as I have contemplated this past year, I realized something.

Noise is noise.  Doesn’t matter how distinct it is.

It’s be a rough year on the Sutton front – a rough three or so, actually.  And as I thought through the past year, I wondered if I had been too internally focused.  I mused that maybe I was self-centered and whiny.  Perhaps I zeroed in on things that were temporal.

I’m sure all those things are true.  And a sadder truth — that might not change.  Especially since I don’t do resolutions.  :)

More poignant to me, however, was this thought….it’s been a really LOUD year.  God was silent much of this year.  And I was not.  I asked and pleaded and begged and questioned and reasoned and prayed and thought.  Jesus didn’t say much.  But friends and family counseled and encouraged and sympathized and helped and gave and prayed.  The Holy Spirit was a whisper and everything else was a blood-curdling scream.

It’s not that any of those things were bad or wrong or louder than He can be.  It was all just…white noise.  Static – when I wanted to tune in to the station.  And it’s amazing how loud white noise really is.

More than anything, I want to tune in this coming year.  Push beyond the white noise of this life – of ministry, of family, of circumstance – and re-know that joy of finally finding some FM digits that actually broadcast clearly and surprisingly after you’ve been driving through the desert with nothing but static.

Happy New Year – I hope you hit the right station on your dial.

This Post Should Be Pithy and Reflective…

2012-2013-570x320…but it won’t be.

I’m not a resolution maker because I never keep them.  And I love success so much that if I know I won’t make it, I don’t even try.  So no deep thoughts there.

I can’t write reflectively about 2012 because I’m just glad it’s over.  Reading through my post about 2011 (which I didn’t even remember writing), we had endured a hard year and I was hopeful for 2012.  Having endured 2012, I have accepted that sometimes we just go through hard times.  It’s not meant to be better.  There might not be a lesson this side of heaven.  And the rising of the sun on one ‘special’ day does not necessarily illuminate the outlook on the future – and that’s OK.

I could revel in all I’ve learned in 2012 – but it’s just a re-hashing of things I should already know, have learned ‘again’, or lessons I learned in one day…only to forget, or ignore, in the next.

Much like 2011, I look back at 2012 and hope I haven’t missed the hand of God at work for straining so hard to get through 2012.  But if I have, I know He has a really big hand.

So for all the things this post should contain, all it really holds is gratitude.

I’m thankful for the many encouraging people God has placed in our paths.

I’m thankful that many of those people have been used to make our financial rope more elastic.  We wouldn’t have survived this year without their intercession.

I’m thankful for a family that believes I am the best…especially when I know the truth.

I’m thankful that God sees me worthy of trial – though I am not always appreciative.

I’m thankful for the folks who have reminded me this year that God has used me – especially during the days where I felt hopeless and expendable.

I’m thankful for the future, though I know not what it holds.  When I get there, I pray I am as thankful as I am this morning.

For my next round of student families, wherever you are, I am thankful for you – and looking forward to the day when we get to meet!

And I’m thankful that You hold me, Jesus – especially on the days when I feel like I’m falling….

2013 – let it commence.


The Top 3 Blog Posts I SHOULD Have Written in 2012

2012_oxcgnEvery blog I follow is prattling on about the tops in 2012 – most read, most commented on, blah, blah, blah.  An amazing blog for which I am privileged to contribute was even in the running for Top Youth Ministry Blog Post of 2012 (which, by the way, was won handily by our founder and token British guy, Phil Bell!)

I decided that was all too main stream for me, though.  Here are the Top 3 posts I should have written in 2012, but didn’t.

1:  Youth Ministry is Broken:  We’ve succumbed to the curse of the church – 25 years behind in practice and nonexistent vision.

2:  I Am Broken:  Sometimes God crushes you….that is all.

3:  Apparently My Blog is Broken:  Because I have some wonderful thoughts, but they rarely make it to the screen.

There you have it – the Top 3 blogs I should have written in 2012.  Maybe I’ll get to those posts in 2013….since apparently the Mayans were wrong!

Happy New Year!