By BARBARA LOWNSBURY

Hello!  Gosh, I’ve missed you.  Sometimes I don’t always realize what I most value until it’s gone.  I’ve missed writing.  I’ve missed our back and forth, and hearing from you!  I have much to share.

First of all, I’ve gotten engaged <insert HUGELY grinning emoticon here>!  On my vision board I crafted in January, I felt the Lord prompting me to focus on developing a personal covenant relationship this year.  I fought Him at the time because it felt selfish somehow to focus so heavily on my heart’s desire, but I dutifully made my vision board.  I thought I might maybe meet “my guy” this year, but was blown away when I not only met him, but developed a rich, God-centered relationship that I am SO excited to enter into!!  Who knew?  God did!

Honestly, I’ve felt overwhelmed A LOT this year, as in far more than what is normal.  It’s not that I was trying to carry the weight the Lord was meant to carry for me; it had more to do with too many responsibilities and not enough time to carry out any one thing well.  While the recovering perfectionist in me cringed, the woman of faith learned to lean into God to realize that even when nothing is completely done well or right, God still loves me and carries the outcome in His arms.  We had our first pilot class using our new video series, our second women’s retreat with almost 3 times the attendance of the previous year, and our first ever fund-raising event for The DF.  Despite the waves of emotion and the occasional dropped balls, God still brought on abundance, as is His way.

Still, after a lot of prayer, advice and thought, I will be doing life a bit differently moving forward.  As the Bible says, “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind” (Proverbs 21:5).  I’m tired of hurrying and scurrying, and I’m convinced busyness is the scurge of our modern age.  It doesn’t make anyone more important; it just robs us of our precious moments, few as they are.  Finding what matters most and investing my time in what brings joy is an investment worth making!

To that end, I’ll be writing more.  You’ll hear from me every week again.  Yay!  You’ll also be blessed by another DF writer each week.  We have such talented writers who do such a great job!  I know we’ll all grow a lot as we listen and learn from each other’s journey’s.  We’re looking to post on Tuesdays and Saturdays – sort of like week and weekend additions for you to ponder over.  Our focus will stay on bringing you weekly doses of encouragement for your journey because who doesn’t need that?!  Hope you’ll continue to pass us on to your friends 🙂

So, true to Dented Fender form, I’ll still leave you with a closing application and prayer below.  But I can’t leave without a big THANK YOU for your patience with me as I’m learning what to juggle and how to juggle it well.  I appreciate you!  And as always, feel free to reach out to me with any prayer requests.  It is my privilege to pray for you!

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT  Psalm 39:4 says, “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeing my life is.”  Is there anything in your life you’ve been holding onto that God is calling you to let go of?  What is keeping you from releasing it into His arms?  Start praying for God to help you prioritize your life so that you can experience greater joy in the moments you’ve been given.

PRAYER  Lord, remind me that my days are like a mist, here one day and gone the next.  Teach me to number my days and use my time on this Earth wisely.  May I make you my #1 priority today.  May my choices honor Your presence in my life.  Thank You for loving me so well and teaching me to become more and more like you.  I’m so grateful for Your loving presence in my life and for knowing I am never truly alone.  I love You, Papa!  Amen.