To 2013.

2013 has not been my favorite year.  It's definitely not my least favorite, but it's been wrought with challenges.  I don't like to say things are bad because I genuinely believe there is good in everything. But 2013, you're testing me.

On Tuesday, I wrote that I'm a joyful and optimistic person. And that's true. 99.9% of the time I'm smiling and happy and optimistic about everything.  But 2013 is giving me a run for my money. For some reason, I keep falling into a pit and I don't like it.

You see, ordinarily when something is bothering me, I can shake it off. Usually when I feel upset or worried about something, I can get rid of it easily. But 2013 has pulled a number on me. I have worries for so many and insecurities have crept up that I didn't know existed.

In January, my husband lost his job. He had a great job, but unfortunately, when you work in the mortgage banking industry, specifically in foreclosures, and the feds decide to make a deal with the nation's largest banks, your entire department is gone. Thankfully, we're in a good place. Even more thankfully, my husband is optimistic and hasn't let this get him down. I really admire his confidence and outlook.  God is good.

God has provided for both of us in the past and brought us individually through so many things. Knowing this and believing this has helped me have the faith to know that He will provide for us through this. Next week, Kevin has an interview for a job he's interested in. My prayer is that God will continue to open the doors that need to be opened and close those that are to be closed. God is good.

Also in January, we had some of our favorite people hit hard with some things.  It's always tough to watch people you love go through tough times. Thankfully, many prayers have been answered! God is good.

We've also dealt with sickness this year. My nana, who's 85, has a rare blood condition. I'm not even going to try to explain it because I can't, but for about the past month, she's been dealing with some complications from it. Nothing too serious, but still, she's had to have a lot of tests and she and my sweet 87 year old granddad have spent many hours waiting at the doctor.  My grandparents are a huge example of living faith to me. They are my heroes and knowing they have this worry, causes my heart to hurt. Thankfully, some tests she had earlier this week proved to be negative. God is good.

Earlier this week, I shared that my sweet mother-in-law is battling cancer. As of now we don't know what the next steps are, but we are trusting that God is going to heal her of this disease completely. I believe that just as God performed miracles thousands of years ago, He's still performing them today. In addition to praying for complete healing for her, I'm praying for her husband, my strong father-in-law. They've been together for nearly fifty years and I can't imagine how tough it is for him to have to sit back. Please continue to pray for our whole family as we need strength and support for Mary during this time. I'm thankful that this was detected early. God is good.

Besides these actual real things in the truest sense of the word, I've also been doing major battle with some other unseen things. We've talked in our Sunday school class recently about how the enemy, satan, wants to get us where we're weakest. I firmly believe that. But you know what? I also know that when we start feeling satan's attacks, it's because we're growing closer to our Savior and striving to live more and more like Him and that scares him. God is good.

I didn't know the level of worry that accompanies love for children. I worry so much about the boys. I know there's only so much I can control like feeding them and taking care of them. But there are those things I can't control. Things like them making the right kinds of friends in school, having hearts that want to love Jesus and making the right decisions when they're faced with tough choices when they're older. I can rest in the assurance and peace I feel after I turn these things over to God (which seems to happen quite often as I try to take them back under my wing) because I know He's taking care of them and giving my husband and I the guidance we need to teach and love the greatest gifts we've ever been entrusted with. God is good.

I've also been dealing with insecurities I didn't even know I had. And I don't like them one bit. I'm a confident person and comfortable in my skin, but recently, I've had these thoughts of insecurities. It's like satan is whispering in my ear "you're not good enough." And I know that's not true because I know I am more than good enough. I was made in my Father's image and my Father is good. Those insecurities are a pathway that satan is using to tell me I'm not good enough and to make me doubt, worry and lose confidence in areas that haven't ever concerned me. That's him trying to keep me from standing strong. God is good.

Through it all, I know that God is good. I've shared bits and pieces of my story on this little blog of mine and the resounding phrase of them all is that God is good. He's good in the happy times, good in the fearful times, good in the times of laughter, and good in the times of tears. He's there to guide me as the sun comes up each morning, comfort my fears in the middle of the night, and give me hope for His plans for my life.

It's like the words from the old hymn "He Is Lord":
He is Lord of the sunshine and Lord of the rain. He is Lord of the good times and Lord of the pain. He is Lord of the mountains and Lord of the seas. He is Lord of the music, Lord of the Children, and Lord of you and me.
God is good!