This past year I have grown by leaps and bounds as a person.

I’m going to spend a few minutes letting you in on some of my reflections of where I began 2019 and the much different place I find myself at its end.

As a homeschooling mom, I’ve always enjoyed watching my kids grow into who they are becoming. They don’t stay the same, just like I don’t, and we were happy to see another one focusing on their future just before 2019 began.

Middle Son waited after high school until he was ready to pursue a higher education, and as he showed more interest in a particular college we encouraged it, even though the costs were projected to be higher than we thought we could afford.

My husband and I were beginning to discuss the feasibility of helping this child with college expenses like we had with the older ones. We knew this was going to be a bigger investment, so we did first what we have learned by hard experience to do: we took it to God and waited for his answer.

I was very thankful I had started meeting with a Christian mentor, another woman who helped pull me back down to earth week after week. I had written down what my biggest concerns were, what I struggled with and where I thought I needed the most help.

Even in the couple of weeks between filling out the form and our first mentoring session I forgot one of my main issues. I recorded it in a journal as “not being able to give up control”. That WAS a big issue with me, but it wasn’t what I had written down. At our 3-month review my mentor reminded me what my issue REALLY was: admitting when I do something wrong.

So I was headed into the new year actively asking God to help me see when I do something wrong so that I can correct it and make amends right away. And I was also digging in and asking him to show me why I have struggled so much with this my whole life.

Just before the end of 2018 I wanted to learn how to set better goals, so I started doing Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, and I was finding that I didn’t really have a clue about my own personal limits, much less how to set any meaningful boundaries.

I was just beginning to get a grasp on the concept that I can’t change the past and I can’t change any other person. These are obvious, and I knew them in my head, but I hadn’t taken them into my heart.

I was learning, finally, that my responsibilities, needs, condition of my heart, health of my emotions, and God-led decision-making are the things I needed to focus on.

So, how did I do over this past year?

My husband and I, after praying and both getting a clear green light, have trusted God to provide the funds needed to help our son realize his goal of going to college at a school we all love, where he feels called to be.

And God has come through exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we asked or imagined!

He received more than half his costs in scholarships, and we were able to make both his first and second semester payments in full! God is faithful, and we are in awe at how eager he is to bless us.

As I plunged into my mentoring sessions, I often talked about my safety-seeking control issues. It has plagued me all my life, this need to keep everyone around me safe. I have done many things that secluded or separated my family and me from the world around us thinking that if I had knowledge and the ability to get in between evil and my kids I could single-handedly keep everyone safe.

I’ve spent a lot of time and prayer this year wrestling this out with God, and I’ve found that every time I set myself up as being in control, I kicked God out of his rightful place. I’ve had to give up my right to control any part of my life so that I can experience truly following God. I’m glad to say I’m controlling less, though it may take the rest of my life to get where I’d like to be!

And my other issue of admitting when I’m wrong? I figured out why I have so much trouble with that. In my mind, the people who abused me as a child were deserving of punishment. They were wrong. They did bad things.

And I never wanted to be compared to them: to hurt anyone else, be responsible for causing harm to anyone.

So I could never be wrong.

I’m a work in progress on this one. Baby Girl patiently tells me when I overstep while lecturing a sales rep over the phone, or speak abruptly to a cashier at the grocery store. Out of all my children, this youngest daughter is in tune with my moods and is helping me see when I let my frustrations get in front of my better intentions.

And now I can stop and admit I blew it.

And my world doesn’t fall apart when I do.

Working my way slowly but surely through Boundaries has been a tremendous help in all of my issues this year, many more than I’m talking about here.

I began by finding that I never learned what good boundaries were as a child. God revealed to me many truths about how my parents didn’t either. So it’s like I’ve had revelation after revelation poured over me by God about what Mom and Dad’s lives were like as kids, why they struggled to set and keep boundaries with their kids, and how I’ve carried that forward into my life.

And I’ve been able to forgive.

That’s probably the most remarkable thing that has ever happened to me, this release from the need to see justice done, no more desire to have someone else suffer for what they’ve done to me or others.

As I write this I am seeing that there’s another side to the command Jesus gives us to forgive others as we have been forgiven.

I’m finally starting to FEEL forgiven. Because I’m finally able to give forgiveness to others.

Because no matter how far I’ve come in the past year, I’m not done, there’s more left to face and dig deep into and give back over to God.

And as a new year begins, I feel like God really does have a reason why he forgave me.

Because this is just the beginning.