Challenging

Is the word I’d use to describe the first week of 2017 (and it’s only Monday).

The last hours of 2016 were spent with a few friends, eating pizza in the local park and watching the fireworks on TV in the home of a friend who was out somewhere else celebrating. It ended up that way because plans weren’t made properly, and paired with NYE on a Saturday it made it impossible for us to celebrate as late as we wanted with church early next morning.

The first challenge appeared on Christmas day. I was asked by a church leader to pray for the offering for the following week (New Year’s Day). Reluctantly, I said yes.

Speaking has never been one of my strong suits, which is why I prefer communicating online. Public speaking is a hundred times worse, because a large group of people are paying you all the attention… And sharing a message and praying in front of a large group of religious people is immensely harder because they hang onto your every word and there are expectations of what you should say and how you should act. So stepping onto the stage, my heart racing, I stuttered and mumbled through my prayer and message without a bit of confidence and almost absolutely no eye contact with anyone in the audience except my friends. And although it wasn’t great, on the first day of the year, during the first church service of the year, I prayed for the first offering of the year, overcoming my first challenge of the year.

The second challenge presented itself on New Years Eve (also my mum’s birthday), when my family received some very unfortunate news. Although I had a great day overall, the night’s celebrations were tinged with worry and the hopes of a miracle. Currently I’m standing in the hospital, waiting with some others to see a relative. I can say I’m blessed, because often when I’m in this situation it’s to welcome a new member into the family. But not today. Today the waiting room is filled with tears and prayers. There’s no smiling or laughing this time. Coming back from her holiday, my grandma suffered a heart attack while going through customs at the airport. At the moment she’s unconscious, hooked to machines and tubes in the ICU. The only thing we can do now is pray and trust that God has it all under control. I’m so grateful for the doctors and hospital staff who are attending to her as well and doing everything in their power to find out what’s wrong.

And although I’m devastated right now, another challenge comes tonight when I start my new job. It’s completely different from my current one in childcare, and I’m nervous about being too incompetent to get anything done.

This new year has definitely not started the way I had hoped, and though my grandma’s condition is anything but good, I know I can see the other two challenges as opportunities to grow. It seems this year Β is a year made to challenge me, and I’m believing I’ll come out of this year as a better and more mature person.

Happy New Year,

alittlecheep

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