2013 was A YEAR for us.
Truly that's the only appropriate way to say it.
The best word that comes to mind to explain the last 365 days in the Allen family is
2013 brought so much growth, accomplishments, special days, precious friendships, and undreamed of opportunities... Some of which included:
-- I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Religion with a double minor in Church Ministry and Christian Counseling in May after 6 years of school, 2 cross country moves, getting married, having two babies, 3 different schools, changing my major twice, and the everyday general mayhem This was obviously a huge accomplishment and something I am so proud of and thankful I had the opportunity to do. Plus my sweet dad flew in from SD to be there for it, huge surprise and blessing.
-- My babies turned 1 and 3 and we had a HUGE birthday party with all our loved ones.
-- Mike and I celebrated 5 years of marriage.
-- We made a BUNCH of new friends, and have created bonds that will truly last a life time. I am especially thankful for all the fun we've gotten to have from parties, to game nights, to playdates, to just hanging out... we've been BLESSED with some amazing friends. [[Thanks to you guys!]]
-- I was able to go on vacation for 3 weeks and be there for my sweet sissy's wedding
-- Sierra was dedicated to the God in May with a beautiful ceremony, delicious cake, and a bunch of our best friends around.
-- Mike made Petty Officer 1st Class in the Navy, started his Master's degree, and after months of studying passed the exam to get the CISSP certification which was one of his number one professional goals.
-- We've been a part of truly the best church we could ask for, for the entire year and were able to be a part of several big milestones for this growing church.
-- I was asked to be the volunteer Community Group Coordinator for our Church (a position that is typically a staff position, but we're a growing church). A position that truly brought SO MUCH growth and direction for my future and affirmation of my calling... from a phenomenal mentor, being a part of staff meetings, successfully launching 15 C.G.'s with over 100 people in them.
-- We led a Young Adult Comm. Group all year in our home in which we made some of the greatest friendships and were immensely blessed by them and the fellowship and support.
-- We have had SOLID support system of friends and people who love us thanks to our church, friends from Mike's work, from this sweet little blogging community and our neighbor, who have been there for us in the day to day, in the thick of it.
Having written all of that, and reading all that good I had to actually stop and take a deep breath, and kind of just sit as my eyes teared up... There really has been a lot of good this year, a lot of growth and celebration.
That being said.... even with so much growth and change, this year was truly one of the hardest years for our family. The last half especially. We have STRUGGLED this year. We've been beaten down and stomped on. There have been tears and brokenness, fear and devastation, there has been down right anger and frustration and PAIN.
Unlike listing the good... I won't list the bad stuff, because even as much growth has come out of the bad stuff, I don't want to sit and grovel in the pain. I don't want to remind myself of just how much pain we've come out of. I will just say that for months it felt like one after another things just kept going wrong. We battled a lot of scary stuff this year, some of it we're still battling... some of it the dust seems to have settled on.
But ALL of it left us ready to see the clock strike midnight and to bring in the new year and leave much of what 2013 did to our bodies, minds, spirits, and hearts behind us.
We did BATTLE in 2013 and we are so ready to put some of that battle and struggle down and move into the next chapter. While I am so aware that the battle will never be over, I am expect of what this new year holds for us.
2014 for us is a year of change, it's a year of rebuilding in a new place and in a new way.
We're selling out first home and moving to Minnesota in the next few months. Mike will be getting out of the military (most likely medically separated) and we will enter into our first taste of civilian life ever as a couple. I'll be getting my first "real" job. Kaylee will start preschool in the fall.
When the clock strikes 2015 this time next year I am sure that I will still look back and see much I didn't expect and a year full of growing pains as we step into the unknown and do life in a way we've never done it, but right now as a family there is so much beauty to see us lined up with the ashes of bittersweet 2013 behind us. To see us STANDING after a year that could have left us knocked down. For that I am thankful, for that I am joyful. The Allen's can do hard things. We can survive hard things, and we can even thrive!
For all of this and more... I am expectant. I am expectant of all the God has in store for us in this upcoming year. I am expectant for seeing His plan become unfolded this year. I am expectant for the changes. I am expectant for things like being close to some family and the ways that will impact our lives.
2013 knocked me down and threw me around y'all but it didn't win. I'm still standing. I might have had a very heavy heart lately, but it's feeling lighter lately. It's feeling excited lately. My heart is feeling expectant for everything as we move ahead..... and ready.