Saturday, January 4, 2014

Welcome to 2014

So, the New Year's dust has settled, resolutions and goals have been made (and probably broken), diets ensue, and I'm a planner, so I just love this time of year. I also screw up a lot, so fresh beginnings are awfully nice to have as well.

A lot of times, I think I have no focus. But the truth is, I'm just focused on a lot of different things during the same 24-hour time frame. Currently, I'm working four days a week at the video store, cleaning three houses a week, directing a musical for Elkhart Civic Theatre, editing and writing for a local magazine, a church network, and a Christian music artist, and last, but certainly not least, pulling together the next phase of Green Olive Ministries with Andie.

I just spent a long time putting together an IndieGoGo campaign for fundraising, which will go live in approximately a week and we'll have 60 days to raise $10,000. I fully believe that God will come through on this, and we'll make (and possibly even exceed) our goal because I am positive that this is what He wants us to be doing at this point in our lives. This is where the Journey is right now -- this isn't the final phase by a long shot, but it's definitely the next phase. Please stay tuned to hear more updates on a... ahem... more regular basis than I have been updating you.

I started reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Madeleine L'Engle, today. It's called "And It Was Good". In it, she wrote something (as she always does) that I found very profound:

We live in a world which has become too complex to unravel; there is nothing we can do about it, we little people who don't have big government posts or positions of importance. But I believe the Kingdom is built on the little things that all of us do. I remember my grandmother was fond of reciting: Little grains of water/Little grains of sand/Make the mighty ocean/And the pleasant land. A single drop can't make even a puddle, but together, all our little drops and God's planning can make not only a mighty ocean, but a mighty difference.

Here's what gets me: this book was written in 1983. That was 31 years ago. THAT world had become too complex to unravel!? What about now? If 1983 was complex, certainly 2014 is exponentially moreso. But her sentiment remains as true today, three decades later -- we have to work together to accomplish our goals. This ministry is not my ministry. It's not Andie's ministry. It's not even Elkhart's ministry. It's God's ministry, and it's going to take all of us working together to accomplish the incredible things He has in store.

But it WILL happen. I have deep, deep faith in that. In Him.

And here we are. Here I am. I'm probably middle-aged, but I like to think I'm only 1/3 of the way through (at 36, haha!) But I find myself gravitating more toward silence and less toward noise. More toward basics and less toward technology. More toward the old ways and less toward pop culture. I'm not ashamed of this. Some of it's even trendy, but the desire for a different life is deep within me. I'm not unhappy, that's not what I mean. I'm so joyful it's ridiculous. I just want... more of that. Is it possible to be a joy addict?

It's the only kind of addict I want to be. My husband told me a long time ago how important joy is to a life, and I never understood it until I began experiencing it. And I never experienced it until I GAVE UP MY OWN PLAN. I spent so many years of my life trying to make MY plan happen, and it was only when I threw up my hands and said, 'You take over!' to God that anything and everything began to fall into place. I quit my job, we went down to one car, my husband started going to school full time, I became the only 'breadwinner' for now, and I'm telling you, I have never been happier because I trust Him to take care of us, not me. And He's never failed us, and He never will.

With that, I embrace 2014 and anything and everything He's got in store. I can't wait to see where the Journey travels through this year!

Stephanie Jean