2015 {The Year of Expedition}

This post has been growing in my heart for months. But I sit here grateful to be sharing it now. No, the words you'll read here are not tied up with a red ribbon--concise, succinct and neatly ordered. But I'm thankful for what they represent.

It's July. Blue sky, warm sun, tall grass, full leaves, bare feet. It's a bit late in the year to be talking New Year's resolutions, but here we are.

This past January, as I do every year--I asked God for one word. One word that would predict my coming year. One word to be my motto, my credo, my vision. This year I heard that word so clearly, it stopped me where I stood:

It was during an icy walk down that dirt road. The sun was shining warmly that morning--but not warm enough to stop the Minnesota cold from tearing right through you. I warmed my hands, looked up at the sky, and heard him say, "Beloved. This year I will expedite dreams and visions in your life that have laid dormant for years. I will call out what has remained silent and I will bring forth what has long been hidden from sight." 

I walked home with a renewed sense of hope. An increased sense of wonder. I had no idea what things God would expedite, but I was ready and I was waiting to find out.

I didn't have to wait long for the first dream to come to pass.

The same day that I took that walk, I received an email from an editor of publishing company. It was a proposition for me to write 100 entries in a 365 day devotional. I would be published, just as I had dreamt for decades. I had begun preparing a folder of writing long ago that I wanted to submit to magazines, online journals and publishing companies. I had told myself that one day, someday, when the kids were older I would pursue my lifelong dream of writing. And one day I'd get a paycheck for it. This dream, that I believed wouldn't happen until I was far more advanced in years, once I had worked tirelessly to be heard, after an assumed pile of rejections letters, and was already in a very different life circumstance-- that dream, the dream I was scared to speak out loud because it felt too big and too impossible, fell into my lap on a January day when I was 25.

I was stunned. I sat down at my desk and I cried. I wept. And I prayed. I asked God to speak through me and touch the hearts of the women who months from now would read my words from a hardcover book in their own hands.

Tears rolled down my cheeks many times as I spent hours upon hours typing and backspacing and typing and reading my own words out loud again and again.

Receiving that paycheck was the most rewarding moment of my life. Knowing that I had been recognized, hired, and compensated based on my own deepest passion was unmatched--except perhaps by the feeling of holding that first printed copy in my hands and read MY words on the glossily printed pages.

(if you would like to purchase your own copy of this devotional you can do so HERE! it is also available wherever books are sold, after August 1. I wrote the months of March, July and November)  

When that project was complete, I asked to contribute to yet another devotional which will be released in October. I'll share that link with you all when it comes out!

Needless to say, expedition was happening.

Then in June, Bryan was offered a business opportunity that we couldn't refuse. When he got off the phone with his potential partner and explained the conversation to me, we looked at each other and knew, this was clearly God's hand in our lives.

Throughout all of these fulfilled promises, another more subtle thing was happening. Both Bryan and I felt something we hadn't felt so strongly in five long years: permission to dream again.

I don't want to paint a picture that's partially unseen. As you all know, it hasn't been completely smooth sailing this year.  I rang in the New Year on January 1st in a hospital room. My baby girl was suffering with pneumonia in both lungs. The same baby girl I'd seen lying in the NICU only months earlier. Those same lungs that needed so much help in her first days of life again needed life-giving treatments. A few short months later, we went through testing for our daughter for Cystic Fibrosis and were sent home without answers--answers we still don't have. We sold our house when Bryan accepted this new business opportunity only to have the buyer back out 2 weeks prior to closing, leaving us with a lease on a town-home and a mortgage on a farmhouse. We've been stretched beyond what I thought we could ever endure. We had both vehicles break down within a week of each other. We've changed somewhere around 6 flat tires. Money has been extremely tight.

But what I want you to see from all of this--from everything I'm saying--is that God is faithful. 

Whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring, whether your song comes easily or your tears pour freely, he continues to be faithful

July has been a month of ups and downs. I woke up one morning last week and I felt desperate. Desperate enough to know I wanted to do something about it. So I took a risk. I know enough now to know that in order for God to continue to expedite things in my life I have to have a certain level of bravery. I have to step out of my comfortable boat onto uncertain waters. I can spend all my time in the boat wondering whether I'll sink or swim, or I can just take swing my legs over the side and find out.

I started my own business with the incredible company It Works! Global. It Works is a Christian company that's been changing lives since it's conception. It's health and wellness products offer results that are nothing short of remarkable. For the past year and a half I've been following the story of a girl who was an independent distributor for It Works. I watched from the sidelines as she took her small family from a place of complete dependence on government assistance to a place of total freedom where both she and her husband are stay at home parents each making a six figure income. For a year and a half I played the skeptic role well. I saw her success, and of course, like anyone--I wished I had it. But I didn't think it was actually possible for me. But that one morning I was desperate enough to find out if taking a crazy risk would end in a crazy reward.

The possibility of success became more important to me than my fear of failure. 

I made the small investment--which, to be honest, was a big one for me. My team leader--that same girl who I'd been following from afar for so long, has spent the past few days pouring her heart and soul into helping me start this business off successfully. That initial investment came back to me in just two hours. I'm well on my way to helping my family move forward in an EXPEDITED fashion. God is continuing to remain true to his word that he will expedite my dreams and sustain me.

I don't only rejoice in the successes we've had thus far in 2015. I also rejoice for the hardships we've had--and are still having. Because through each and every experience I have learned, I have leaned and I have grown.

In 2013 we lost a baby. It was a wilderness for me. But oh, how I learned to lean on him there. 2014 was a year of humility on my face before the Lord and expectation of the day when he would raise me up again. 2015 has been the year that God has decided to stand me to my feet and to expedite the things in my life that I believed would take years to accomplish.

Nothing that has happened in my life this year, or in years past would have happened without God. He has never left me, he has never once stopped taking an interest in every part of my life. His is the name I whisper in the darkness when I've given up hope. His is the name I shout with a smile when I triumph and I succeed. His is the name in which I go forth in 2015. I am ready for whatever he wants to do in the second half of this crazy, beautiful, unexpected year of expedition.

I talked in my last post about BRAVERY. (which, if you haven't entered that giveaway yet, it's not too late! Head over and enter NOW!) 


Callie Nicole said...

So exciting, Claire, I'm going to check out that devotional now!

Emily Kissell said...

Oh Claire Bear. I'm always either crying or shaking (Holy Spirit presence) every time you post something! I immediately ordered the book and can't wait to do it!
As always, this is the encouragement I needed. Thank you for posting this. I will be messaging you shortly.;)

~Emily :)