I distinctly remember hearing it.  “2014 is the year of the Lord’s Favor.”  He whispered it to me in my spirit during a quiet time on New Years day.  I was at Wal-Mart this morning restocking on fun things like deoderant and bread.  As I strolled the store, I was astounded at the amount of Christmas stuff up, and quietly reminded of his promise.  2014 – the year of the Lords favor.  I smiled, and for the first time, I felt like I might understand what that meant.

Through all of October, I’ve been reflecting on what the last year has held.  Seriously since last October, things have been in turmoil, and to be honest, they have been hard.  My sweet husband has endured not one but 2 separate major shoulder surgeries and is now facing heart problems and an upcoming surgery.  He’s 49.  My mom started chemo and soon after discovered it wasn’t working and the Cancer was winning.  She is now sitting at the feet of Jesus – pain free.  Our son deployed for 9 months to the sea somewhere in the middle east on a Navy carrier.  Our daughter endured and is working through significant relationship struggles.  My family relationships with my dad and brother have been in shambles, my 50 year old aunt who is like a sister had a double mastectomy and hysterectomy, and a major biking accident.  Yeah, it’s been that kind of a year.

This weekend I returned to the #hcretreat at Laity Lodge in Texas.  As I walked the beautiful grounds and fellowshipped with wonderful people, I was reminded of this time last year, and I find myself reflecting on what a difference a year can make.  WOW.  But as I listen to the real conversation among these friends, many of which are meeting in real life for the first time, I reflect on the favor that I have found.

I didn’t expect that the year of the Lord’s favor would be filled with sorrow and depression, surgeries and sadness.  But it was in the midst of all of this, in the digging out from the darkness that I found favor in Him and Him alone.  My one word for 2014 was #perspective.  To say that keeping #perspective, I can see the Lords favor even in the things that I would have liked to have gone differently.  God’s beauty has a way of helping you find joy in the simple things.  I don’t know what 2014 has looked like for you.  But I do know that even if it didn’t hold what you had hoped, God is still shining his light.  I took the above photo this weekend the morning I was preparing to leave #LaityLodge and #hcretreat.  God’s light shines through the darkest places.  And it was just what I needed to move me.