There are many things about 2016 which I shall be glad to leave there, but there are several things that I smile upon as well. It’s only natural that both good and bad items fill one’s year, but hopefully, through the negatives, one can learn and become a better person while not solely relying on the laurels of the positives. Rather than dwell on the bad things that were a part of one’s personal narrative, looking at the good keeps us in a grateful state of mind.
- At the kick-off of 2016, three small study books that I’d written were published. Click on the “My Publications” tab to see them.
- As the year progressed, I finalized and successfully defended my dissertation and at the close of April was awarded my Ph.D.
- In tandem with graduating, I was chosen as the preaching minister for Glendale Road which brought its share of joys and sadnesses because we left a congregation of people whom we dearly loved in Bowling Green at Lehman Avenue.
- The move allowed us to purchase a home, the first we’ve bought in nearly a decade of ministry.
- We added a new kitten (Nya) and puppy (Winston) to our home after our older cat left us upon arriving at our new home and we had our dear pup Rufus put to sleep due to old age.
- My daughter began high school (Yikes!), and our son started a new elementary school.
- Our move put us closer to my wife’s brother, his wife, and their one-year-old son (Jax), the nephew.
- Our new work has been both refreshing for us and, I believe, for the congregation. Within the six months that we’ve been here we’ve already seen souls added to the kingdom and Christians renew their dedication to the Lord. I’ve also been able to be useful to those who’ve needed to talk or counsel for which I’m grateful.
Of course, I can’t ignore the negative items from 2016, because they’ve been useful to developing an even stronger faith and becoming an overall better person.
- The circumstances that prompted our leave from our former congregation were those I wish had been different. Nevertheless, all parties have reconciled and forgiven one another, so I see no need to dwell on this point other than to say that it has helped me to grow as a Christian and minister as I’m sure it has others in their faith and positions.
- Due to so many circumstances, I developed clinical anxiety which has been a struggle all its own. I’ve always felt empathy for those who’ve struggled with anxiety and depression, but I have a new and greater appreciation for them because it truly takes strength to combat this mental illness. With the passing of Carrie Fisher, who was herself a sufferer of and advocate for those with mental illness, I feel a new confidence in not trying to hide it. Thankfully, now, I’m in a good place with it and am under treatment that has proven most helpful. This has never been a matter of having too little faith, but a genuinely medical phenomenon that I view as only making me more human.
- My wife’s health has also been a concern this year. Since the start of 2016, she has gone through tests and ruled out lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis. However, some of her symptoms remain and we still have no answers.
Through all these negatives, we’ve only been made stronger. What might 2017 hold? Only God knows. Yet, we walk into an unknown year trusting in a known God who will lead us beside still waters. Wishing you and yours a happy new year.