As I reflect back on 2019, I do so with a mixed set of emotions. For me, 2019 ushered in a season of change, and not all of it good. Join me as I look back on the year that was 2019.
It all began in January with a colonoscopy. With a family history of colon cancer, I hit the age where it was time. In hindsight (pun intended), the procedure wasn’t bad at all. The prep, on the other hand, was a different story. Good news, though, everything looked good.
Little did I know what awaited me later in the year.
In April, the process of ending my 24 year marriage began. By the time December rolled around, that process had reached its completion.
As an aside, I only mention my divorce as a context for the rest of what’s happened to me in 2019. I have the utmost respect for Sara, and in no way will I air our dirty laundry in public or speak negatively about her. She is a good woman and I wish her the best moving forward.
With the end my marriage came change and a lot of it.
The biggest change, aside from now living alone, was finding a new place to live. I certainly did not want stay in the Maplepark house with all of its reminders of my failure. So, I began the process of house hunting. After a month of getting over the initial shock, I started the search in earnest. By early June, I had found my new home: a lakeside condo in a nice south Champaign neighborhood.
June and July were spent purging and packing things at the Maplepark house. When August came, I said good-bye to my home of 23 years, and hello to my new home for the foreseeable future.
August and September meant getting the Maplepark house ready to put on the market. Thankfully, Sara offered to handle most of the maintenance-type things that needed to happen. Within 1 week of being on the market, we had a signed offer on the Maplepark house for 97% of our asking price. Happy happy joy joy!!!
Unfortunately, those great feelings dwindled quickly when the buyer backed out with no explanation after receiving the inspection report containing a large handful of small and medium items to address. Our realtor believed the buyer simply had a change of heart and used the inspection report as an excuse to back out.
For the next 7 weeks, I stressed over the prospect of a long winter paying utilities for two homes. We had little to no interest in the Maplepark house, and we had passed the “house buying season”. I started to get discouraged. But, as God often does, He reminds us of His faithfulness at the exact moment that we need it. In mid-November, another offer came in. After a little bit of negotiation, we agreed to a price, albeit less than the previous offer. Later this week, the Maplepark chapter of my life will come to an official end when we close on the sale.
Besides the divorce process and housing related issues, 2019 brought other more positive changes for me.
In April, I began attending a new small group. This may have been the best decision that I made all year. The men and women of this group opened their arms, hearts, and lives to me. They rejoiced with me during the “up” times, and supported me during the “down” times. I would not have made it through 2019 without these folks. Thank you all!!!
In May, I started seeing a professional counselor to help me work through the pain and hurt from the divorce. He also began helping me work through my role in the destruction of my marriage, and providing me the skills needed to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Also in May, I attended a weekend training session on Sozo, an inner healing and deliverance ministry started by Bethel in Redding, CA. Our church was starting this ministry and, to be honest, I was hoping to get some of the inner healing for myself. As it turned out, over the next 6 months, I received Sozo ministry 3 times which identified and dealt with a number of the issues at the root of my marital problems. Wow!!! Freedom felt really, really amazing. If only I had more aggressively pursued things 1 or 2 years earlier, maybe things would have worked out differently. In 2020, I look forward to helping minister some of the same healing I have received to others as part of the Sozo team.
In June, I started serving on my church’s Production Crew running projection (i.e. slides) during our weekend services. I felt kind of nervous and apprehensive returning to the tech booth after such a long hiatus. (I spent a couple of years running sound back in the early-to-mid 2000s.) It was all for naught though. Running projection came easy to me, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed finding a place that I can serve in my church.
In September, God nudged me to retake School of Kingdom Ministry (SoKM) at our church, so I obeyed. I am learning so much the 2nd time through.
Looking back on 2019, one thing stands out:
I have felt closer to God this year than in the previous 30 years of knowing Him. I took another step towards understanding and living out what it means to “belong” to God. I’ve grown in my understanding of what it means to be His son and live out that identity. I’ve begun to press into my relationship with God, the Father (as opposed to Jesus or the Holy Spirit). I am experiencing Papa God as a close, loving, involved Daddy, instead of a distant, aloof, uninvolved father. It’s been amazing to say the least.
My verse for 2019 has been this:
“This is like the days of Noah to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
– Isaiah 54:9-10
God is not angry with me.
God’s love will never leave me.
God’s promise of peace will never be taken from me.
God has compassion on me.
As I said in a previous post, THAT is Good News!!!
My prayer for all of you is that 2020 is a year of hope, peace, and blessing.