Glancing Back and Looking Ahead

Well, we’re now pretty much both feet into 2012 with me hardly ever getting the year wrong on forms etc. This means that it’s time to take a look back on 2011 and a look forward into what my hopes, dreams, thoughts and plans are at the beginning of this new year.

Before I do that though – allow me to wish all my readers a belated Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great time over Christmas and that this year will be a great time for you all.

I’m going to do things a bit different this time around as I’m not going to split the two years into individual posts – mainly because life is just so busy right now and I seem to have little time for breathing let alone anything else.

Regular readers will know that last year was quite the rollercoaster ride – with many highs (holiday, Big Church Day Out and more) and various lows (the biggest being the shock loss of a job) so summarising the year, and the lessons learnt, is a bit of fun.

The biggest lesson learnt through the year has really been just how amazing and wonderful God is. Even through the lows, we never struggled, and during the highs there was a real sense of His presence and His plans coming around.

Cleansing Stream was a key time for me personally, with me facing up to things long buried but never dealt with and taking on board some real powerful lessons for going forward and keeping both feet on the path. That’s not to say I’m successful all the time, sadly there are still too many times when I make mistakes or completely act in ways that I really shouldn’t – but I’m human, with all the inherint issues that come with the turf, and at least I know to deal with things as soon as I can and not let them take root in my life and in my heart.

With the loss of one job, it is inevitable that a new job must be found to appease the monetary requirements of family life. I can honestly say that this is one area where we have both been surprised. The location of the job stunned us, as we’d never even contemplated this area, but I have also been quite taken aback at finding a job that encourages personal growth and development, has the feel of being a long-term prospect and is genuinely a great place to be. Yes there are moments of frustration and niggles, but there isn’t a job out there that is perfect all the time and I’ve been through my fair share of them so I can say with some authority that this job is pretty unique nowadays!

The kids seem to be growing all the time, and it’s shocking to think that our YOUNGEST is now 7! I am genuinely proud of them all as they are each amazing and wonderful in their own, individual, ways. I know most parents feel the same about their kids but I am so excited about the way they are growing and developing, and the characters that they are becoming. With our eldest now into her GCSE years it’s always a non-stop ride of emotional highs and lows but the lows only make the highs that much sweeter, and more enjoyable.

And so onto 2012. The Olympic Year. Seems rather apt really as it has all the hallmarks of a marathon, frenetic and huge year for us.

If I were to try and come up with a vision statement for the year it would probably be something along the lines of “Pursuing God, Stepping in to all He has for us and making the most of all the opportunities that we’ve been given” – I know, sounds pretty cheesy but all these things have an element of cheese to them. What doesn’t change, however we could say it, is that this is a really big year for us as a family. It’s all about trusting in God and taking huge steps of faith – and trying to build that sense of faith and excitement in the kids so that they are psyched-up about the road ahead.

It’s undoubtedly going to be a year of challenges and stresses – any big change is full of equal measures of both! The challenge for me is to make sure that I handle every bump, every upset, every nervous emotion and every tough situation in a way that brings us closer together as a family and doesn’t leave anyone feeling on the edge or bitter about the things that are happening. I guess that also means that I need to ensure I handle myself in that way as well – that’s probably the hardest job of all!

In the midst of all the personal changes I am determined to really make the most of the opportunities that the new job has opened up and intend on grasping at every chance I get for training, projects and more. I need to really think, and pray, about how I see my career progressing – but I know for certain that I am not going to sit still and let it pass me by.

As for the other bits of the year? Well we’ve got a wedding coming up (my cute baby bruvver!), my folks 40th wedding anniversary, the Big Church Day Out and plenty of other things as well – and that’s just the stuff we know about… I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of surprises that leap out at us.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride, there will be fun times, there will be sadness, there will be joy. Above all – there will be God.


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