I have a confession to make.
I’m not nearly as spiritual, righteous or holy as you might think. Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at making things look better on the outside than they are on the inside. The reality is that I still struggle with the basic ugly stuff of sin on the inside.
I’ve had times over the past year when I felt so lazy that I didn’t want to bother myself to get up and discipline the kids or help out with the dishes.
There were a few times that I got angry when I should have remained calm and a few other times when I should have been angry but instead I remained apathetic.
There were times when my selfishness got the best of me and instead of giving myself in ministry to others I found excuses so that I could do something for myself.
There were other times when I replied to my family sharply in an unloving way instead of carefully listening and engaging them as a loving father.
Often instead of turning to God in prayer to help in a difficult circumstance I simply put myself into the work and tried to figure it out with on my own.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because it’s the truth and it’s humbling.
Looking back is always humbling. It’s humbling to see how God worked in us and through us. It’s humbling to recognize our failures and realize how God used them for his good. It’s humbling to know that we are a small part of God’s greater plan.
As Christina and I reviewed 2013 we realized that there were many areas in our lives that needed improvement. We saw how often we had failed to meet others expectations, our own expectations and most importantly God’s expectations!
We also decided to take one word that we would focus our lives on throughout 2014.
We chose the word: Humility
(If you want to choose a word for 2014 I recommend starting here)
What God did despite the failures
Yes, our mistakes and failures have humbled us but what humbled us even more is realizing that God used us despite our weakness. Below is a short list with links of some pretty amazing things that God accomplished through us in 2013
- We encouraged our sister church Skiniya.
- I helped oversee a new family ministry in our church.
- Christina worked with the translation team on Self-Confrontation: A Manual for In-Depth Discipleship.
- Our institute opened up two new Bible schools in Odessa.
- We ministered in villages churches with our youth.
- I taught Old Testament survey in one of our Odessa Bible schools.
- I led 4 Good Soil seminars in Moldova.
- Our entire family participated in a missionary conference in Kiev with our ABWE missionaries.
- I helped organize a special missions course at our training center in Odessa.
- I led a missions trip with our students to Perm, Russia.
- Christina helped in a girls camp/outreach.
- We participated in the baptism of 13 new members of our church.
- Christina discipled young women in our church.
- I helped organize and led a seminar on Christian family.
- We packed up the family and headed to the USA.
- We encouraged 4 of our supporting churches by sharing with them what God is doing in Ukraine.
Question: How did God use your failures for his good in 2013? Do you have a word you are focusing on in 2014?