The Return of Reading

I was the girl with the flashlight under my comforter, reading as much as I could as far back as I can remember. Becoming a mother changed my reading habit, and I have read more sporadically over the past ten years or so. At the beginning of 2020, I decided I wanted to get back to reading. I didn’t set a specific goal, but I took a trip without kids in January and got off to a good start. I ended up reading 31 books this year (and a few partials). I am very happy with my progress, and I look forward to reading more in 2021!

These 6 books were my favorites of what I read this year. I read more fiction than non-fiction, but the non-fiction I chose really impacted me. Our small group at church also read one portion of the Immerse Bible, and it was so memorable to read and discuss with my dear friends.

Did you read in 2020? I love to talk about books! Let me know what you read that impacted you. I am always looking to add more to my list!

Be a Friend, Get a Friend

2020, right? It has been a crazy year for the world, for our country and our city and in our home as well. I prefer to be real in these posts, not covering up the mess with a colorful wrapping paper and a shiny bow. But even as I often share the mess, there is so much beauty to behold in seeing God work in ways we didn’t expect. Today I want to share two things that God did this year that brought joy in the midst of the many struggles.

I have had my ministerial license through Open Bible Churches since 2002. Through the course of life and ministry, our family ended up at Crosspoint Church in Waverly, an Assemblies of God church. I attended an Assemblies of God Bible college and worked at the A/G Headquarters when I lived in Springfield, so the A/G isn’t new to me. When our amazing pastor asked me if I wanted to change my credentials last year, I decided to go for it. I took my test a year ago, and my interview was in January. Then came COVID, and I was forced to wait months for the actual approval. I received my credentials this summer, although I still have not participated the ceremony yet.

Throughout the process of getting credentialed with a new organization, the best part was the support and encouragement I received from everyone at our current church, from friends and colleagues who wrote references for me, and from our pastor who is incredible if I haven’t mentioned it before. We love Crosspoint Church so much, and I am honored to serve alongside the ministers here and arm-in-arm with so many of my college friends who are doing amazing things around the country and the world. I know this was the right step at the right time in my ministry, and I am so humbled at the way God moves in spite of my failures and weaknesses.

The week prior to Thanksgiving, I had my yearly mammogram, followed by an ultrasound and then a biopsy. The doctors were pretty confident that the mass they were seeing was benign, but we chose to have the biopsy to find out now rather than wait and see what happened.

Once again, through the process of testing and praying, wondering and trusting, what stood out the most to me was the love of my friends and family, the relationships that have helped me survive 2020. My mom came up and sat in the waiting room while I had my biopsy. A dear friend brought us dinner that night. A number of friends prayed as we waited for results. The mass is benign, no cancer was found, praise God. I am so grateful for the results and for the people who were with us in the waiting.

God is good. He keeps His promises, and I am reminded today that, no matter what we face, He is with us and that the relationships we invest in are the ones that will hold us up when we need it. Even as we have faced other challenges I have not shared here, my closest friends have been a source of comfort and strength throughout this year. I hope you can say the same, and if not, seek out those relationships that will build you up in Christ. And seek to be that friend for others as well!

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬