Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ~ 1 Peter 4:10

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Was Fearless!

Things have been very quiet around here for the past few months. Sorry for that! Life has a way of throwing curve balls at you and it seems like the last year, especially the last few months, has been full of them! If you remember from this post, last year my “One Little Word” was Fearless. Never would I have dreamed how important that would be when it came to facing the year ahead.

Looking Down II
Photo Credit
 At first I embraced the word Fearless from an artistic and creative standpoint. I took the leap and focused on making my creative business and dream to sell my artwork a reality. I wasn’t going to let my fear get in the way!! I was mentored by the amazing and gifted, Wyanne. I revamped my blog and created my Etsy Shop. I even stocked it with some paintings for sale – be Fearless! (More paintings coming soon!!) I was able to start my youngest in a wonderful Mother’s Day Out program – be Fearless - that allowed me to focus on my business twice a week. I also had the great honor of being asked to join the teaching team at our local Painting With a Twist studio.

My "Whimsey Tree" Class

It was scary starting to teach again when it had been so long – be Fearless - but it has been the perfect part time job for me to stretch my teaching muscles and share my love of painting with others. This was all such a blessing and a very exciting time, but I had to be Fearless to push through and do it!

On a more personal note, my family had been going through the stressful process of a new ministry position/job hunt for my husband who is a Pastor. I had to be Fearless and trust God that He would provide for us while my husband was between jobs. (And He ALWAYS did!) The church interviews take months at a time and I often have to interview with him – be Fearless!! We knew God had a plan for him and a place picked out; the searching for that right place and fit is what can be so challenging.

After a very long process and interviews with countless churches, God led Matt to his new job and our new church home. In October he got the call, we traveled to house hunt, and moved from McKinney to our new home in San Antonio by the end of November – be Fearless. In the process we hit every speed bump we possibly could….from delays in preparing our house to sell (foundation problem, etc) to not being able to fit all our belongings on our moving truck – be Fearless!!! I was determined not to let the fear of the “what ifs” and “unknowns” get the best of me!! I tried to tackle each new problem head on and not give into my fears. God was with me each step of the way.

As we began to settle into our new home and face the challenges of relocating (unpacking, meeting new friends, settling into new jobs, adjusting to new schools, etc) we also were smack into the middle of the holiday season. Busy and overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt!! During this time I tried to keep things simple, take it one day at a time, and remember how excited we were to be here even though transition and change is often not easy – be Fearless.

But, even though it was the end of the year, the challenges were not over. In fact, I was about to face one of the biggest ones of my life…

My step-dad, affectionately known to my children as “Big Jim”, was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia four years ago. He and my mom have a special love story. You see, my dad died when I was 17, very suddenly, of a viral heart infection that damaged his heart. My mom found great comfort in a Widows Support Group, which is where she met Jim, who was also widowed. Three years later they married and have been now for 15 years. About a year ago we learned Jim was out of remission and had developed MDS. This past Thanksgiving he was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia and was in the hospital over the holidays. On December 27th, he met his Savior. We got to be with him before. We said how much we loved him; we said our goodbyes. Be Fearless.

"Big Jim"
 Jim was my 2nd Dad. He had been in my life as long as my real Father was. He was such a servant and a strong follower of Christ; a wonderful example of a godly man. He was there for my family always and while he never tried to replace my real dad, he did all the things my dad would have done had he been here to do them. Jim never treated my children as anything but his grandchildren. He loved us.

Big Jim playing!

He has met my dad now and I have a feeling my dad thanked him for his time with us. He took good care of us.

Jesus said, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22

As hard as this past year has been, I know I’ve learned a lot! I’ve been stretched and God has been faithful. I am glad it is over and I’m enjoying the fresh start of a new year! I’m looking forward to 2012 being a better year! Although I’ve chosen a new “One Little Word” for this year, I’ll continue to keep Fearless close to my heart.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Be Fearless!!!!

Check back here soon to hear what my new “One Little Word” is for 2012. Have you chosen your word yet? I’d love to hear all about it!! 


Kate said...

Jen--you are a very gifted lady! I am so glad God has brought you and your family to us. May the Lord bring healing and new joys to your heart. Thanks for your post.--kate h.

wyanne said...

Wow! My dear...you have had so much going on! I'm so proud of you for being so fearless! You are so awesome. I'm sorry for your family's loss. Take good care of yourself and trust that everything works out just the way it was meant to be. I'm so glad you are teaching and painting again. That's so great! Love You Lots!

Sharone Zuniga said...

LOVE this post! I'm so proud of you! Hope the whole family is all settled in. I'll have to get back to you about my "one word" but will start thinking about it. Miss you! -Sharone

Linda said...

Wow - we have had similar stories in the same time period: new jobs, moving, fears about the size of the truck, moving and unpacking, and Christmas, etc... you have been very brave and just like you I found one day at a time the only way.

Jess said...

Fearless is right! What a challenging year. Thank you for sharing it all with us. Best wishes for a full and beautiful this 2012.

Michelle said...

This was such a beautiful story Jennifer. Thank you for sharing it. My word for 2012 is FOCUS. *hugs*

Jennifer Snellings said...

Thanks everyone for your kind and encouraging comments! I appreciate them more than you could know!! :)

Glitter and Grunge Studio said...

"Fearless" is a good word, and served you well.

I'm so sorry for all of the challenges, and most especially for your family's loss of your stepdad.

I try so very hard never to let fear guide my actions or decisions. Whenever I feel it sneeking in, I can feel the spirit reminding me that since God says "Be not afraid", fear must be an inspiration sent from somewhere or someone else, and it gently forces me to be courageous.

Hope this year brings you and your family many, MANY blessings!!!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. It was nice to "meet" you!