I look back at 2023 overflowing with gratitude. The year brought so many gifts: restored friendships, new experiences, a clearer understanding about what I want to do in the world, and lots of dreams came true.
A few 2023 significant happenings:
- deepening friendships
- solo backpacking
- mastermind retreat
- master’s degree
- new website (spiritualdirectionwithmarie.com)
- house fire
- spiritual direction program
- Catalina Island
- more family time
The year brought a deeper appreciation for my friends and a keen awareness of God’s love to me through them. I wrote about it in my first post of the year called Friends Are One Way. The appreciation and awareness are even deeper and keener now.
I read through Listen to Your Life, a book of daily meditations by Frederick Buechner, again. This is the third or so time I’ve used it during my quiet time each day. The insights, anecdotes, and portions of sermons he shares never get old. His reflections prompted several blog posts this year, such as The Good Fight, A Shattering Revelation, To Number Our Days, and When We Can’t.
The never ending work of spiritual formation was the subject of several blog posts. Loved and Whole, Coming to Terms, and We Have It In Us are a few of them. I wrote about knowing ourselves and knowing God in Until Then and An Ancient Work, and the topic of relationship showed up consistently on the blog in 2023. I highlighted what Joe Rogan thinks about it in Better Off and shared my thoughts in Rooted Vulnerability and Love Is The Way.
Though I no longer write about Giant Church Inc, my advocacy days aren’t over. One way I use my voice, my writing gift, and website is to speak against oppressive systems when compelled. I spoke out against religious systems in Knee Deep In the Hoopla and shared a personal story in We’re Here that actually happened in 2023. Unfortunately, this happens often in a lot of places.
The pages of my journal reveal more. I write there about my gladdest joys and my saddest sorrows. My questions about life and frustrations with myself. A few years ago I told my spiritual director I wanted to learn to trust my gut more. I’m growing in it because I trust God in deeper ways. I’ve learned again that nothing is impossible for Him. He is faithful.
Jesus loves me and continues to reveal his heart toward me even in my stubbornness. I’m a stiff-necked fool at times but I’ve never felt more loved and cared for by him. He is the Good Shepherd. The truth that nothing can separate me from His love is down into my bones. It changes everything. It makes me move around in the world differently. I love because He loves me.
One of my prayers throughout the year was that I would say yes to the good and beautiful things God has for me. I said yes to a lot of them. 2023 was a good year.