Hello, 2012! And Reflections on 2011...

Posted by Amy O. , Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:26 AM

2011 was a truly incredible year for Patrick & I.  I say this in the most sincere thankfulness to God; and I don't want to sound at all gloaty or obnoxious, whether it might come off that way.  It was a really rough year for a lot of our friends & loved ones, and I don't mean to make light of that.  But Patrick and I have individually had many rough years - years of loss, frustration, disappointment, hurt - and since we've been married, we have L-O-V-E-D doing life together, but we've faced our own share of challenges, like a horrible, horrible first job experience for me in Pasadena, which has unfortunately colored my entire view of the city & its people, followed by unemployment; a frustrating living situation for a couple of introverted artists who can't create in the midst of clamor; the unsettledness of campus living and job upheaval and being in a city neither of us like or can afford, for that matter; illness & loss for us and those dear to us; scholarship changes, etc., etc.

We have over & over seen the faithfulness of God in all those frustrations and have been deeply grateful to have a partner by our side through them.  We have learned much and grown up much.  We have wondered at some of the reasoning, the necessity, as one does, but we have tried our best to trust in the greater purpose. 

But, comparatively, 2011 was this amazing contrast of a year.  It was the year where everything worked out.  It was the year where all sorts of things that should not logically have happened did happen.  For example, we were in no way financially suited to plan a trip to Europe - let alone one for three weeks - and yet we leapt in faith & went and did it, blessed by the generosity of friends who housed & fed us & took us places, and other things like flyer miles which got us free hotels; and at each step, as things worked toward our being able to go and do this, we breathed deeply and took the leaps required to follow the Spirit's urgings to trust, to taste and see the Lord's goodness.  And we had the most amazing, memorable time - and even without incurring any debt!  We are in awe, still to this day.

Other 2011 highlights:

--Release of Patrick's second book "How Long? The Trek Through The Wilderness" in April (available at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/How-Long-Patrick-Oden/dp/1594980233/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326298315&sr=8-1)
--Release of my newest recording project "Homespun: Songs For Worship" (available here: http://amy.dualravens.com/)
--Trips to Oregon in July (worship leading at Black Lake Bible Camp and our Book/CD Release Party) & November (Thanksgiving & Grandma Gustafson's 90th birthday)
--New niece (Margot Mae) in May, and new nephew (David Richard) in November
--Island camping trip in August
--Getting pregnant & a healthy first six months of pregnancy
--Patrick passing his comprehensive exams (wahoo!!) in November
--Learning that a house was available to us for the first half of 2012

We are very excited for big things happening in 2012:

--Moving into the house in San Dimas (as of last week) - for at least through June
--Arrival of Baby Girl O. in late April/early May
--Patrick writing his dissertation (he's hoping to finish by summer) and exploring options for fall 
--Walking in faith into the rather unknown of July & beyond - housing, jobs, etc.

As we head into the unknowns of 2012, we are much in prayer these days and our faith muscles are being stretched and exercised.  There is such a temptation to grab hold of things and say, "I'll solve this!" but as they are not unknowns to Him, I am daily being challenged to say, "No, He'll solve this...just as He has so faithfully so many times before. So I will let go and enjoy the Great Adventure."  And I look forward this time next year, when we can again look back & see all He's done in 2012.

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