I’m one of those people who stumbles across shows and albums and movies waaaaaay after they’ve gone public; all the books I read are written by people who have entered into the great slumber decades, if not centuries, ago. I’ve nothing to offer you about books, movies, shows, albums from 2015 that you don’t already know. But, what I can give you as a year-in-review is, well, me. These few moments are merely moments when I was reminded that my faith in Christ and the theology I study are living breathing things: working both in me and through me toward others. In short, these are some of the laugh-or-you’ll-cry moments in 2015 where I was reminded of who I am, namely, a sinner in need of a savior. From comical gaffs to real-life experiences, here are my six favorite moments of 2015:

  1. 98282ba52504dcb1f331917c921be5c8At any given time of any given day I’m wearing sweatpants or yoga pants–no joke, even now as I write. I have a toddler, so I see absolutely no reason to wear anything else…ever. One day, while getting ready to go to my husband’s brothers house for a family meal, I hollered from my closet, “Hey! Can I just wear sweatpants?” I looked out from my closet. I was met with a look of disdain. I ducked my head back in my closet and reappeared with a sheepish smile, “But what if I wear my nice ones?” I quickly put on a dress.
  1. We’ve never done the Santa tradition–mostly because I’m too absent minded to keep the story straight. (“Who comes down our chimney, mom?” “A big bunny!” Blank look. “No…That’s wrong…A guy dressed all in green?”) Anyway, after being a mom for nine years, I’ve learned to maneuver through the holidays avoiding the Santa question by smiling and nodding while my children answer those questions with vapid stares. But every year there’s that one stranger who just won’t let up. I usually just break the act and say, “Hey, we don’t really do the Santa myth.” Typically, the person will just smile politely and walk away as if discovering I was a lunatic; sometimes the person will talk with me a bit, santavangelizing me. But this year, about two weeks ago when this obligatory incident happened for 2015, when I gave my standard statement to ease this person away from my two year old, the person snarled at me and walked away as if I had stolen Christmas from every child in all the world. If you ever wanted to feel like a complete creep…
  1. During my annual half-marathon, my husband and the kids came to cheer me on. I saw them at mile 9, after a brutal 3-mile climb at 8k-foot elevation. I crossed over to them for some high-fives, a bit delirious and exhausted, and I saw my husband was holding something wrapped in tinfoil, which, in my delirious state, I thought was for me. I reached out to grab it, and, as my eyes focused on the label of said tinfoil-wrapped item, I saw “sausage, cheese, and egg” and quickly realized he was holding his breakfast burrito. We both jerked our hands away at the same time. I’m really glad I didn’t have to carry that burrito 4.1 miles to return it to him.
  1. Just this past week I was carrying my daughter from the parking lot of my sons’ school to the school’s entrance. As I was stepping over the rope that delineates the parking lot from the driving lane, the rope caught the heel of my high-heel. After a desperate attempt to unhook the heel from the rope, I knew I was going down, with my daughter in my arms. I had two thoughts as I was falling, “Holy crap…I’m faaallinnng…!” and “This is gonna make an excellent blog pooooost…” Apparently, I’m exceptionally self-centered mid-fall. Don’t worry, though, that post is coming.
  1. A couple of months ago I lectured my son in front of his peers at school. When I saw the look of complete humiliation cross his face, I didn’t stop; I finished my diatribe with more angry fervor than with which I had started. I felt my red-handed guilt and shame for humiliating him, but, like most humans, my natural reaction wasn’t to stop, but rather to unleash my shame and guilt on him. The sad thing is that it’s completely ineffective; we can’t transfer our guilt and shame on to any other human being. The only thing that can ever take away our guilt and shame, and our hatred of that guilt and shame, is the Christ himself through his sacrifice for us on the cross and through His word to us: forgiven and beloved. It was through being forgiven (by God, primarily, and by my son, secondarily) that my guilt and shame were alleviated.
  1. This year I turned the-age-that-shall-not-be-mentioned (40). And, almost every day since then, I’ve been experiencing a growing anxiety about death. Part of that anxiety is caused by thinking that I’ve got one foot in the grave, even though I know that thought is not only ridiculous but also unfruitful—“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Mt 6:27). The other part is that my anxiety about being old and dying is that it’s exposing my weak faith; I am prone to doubt the promises of Christ that when we die we go to be with him, that there is a heaven, that resurrection of our bodies is real. I can’t wrap my head around that truth; it’s unfathomable to me and I prefer the fathomable. So, I find that the more I can’t figure this all out in my flesh—what the afterlife will be like and look like in concrete fashion—I see that my faith is truly weak. All of this doubt and lack of faith is amplified because I am not only a Christian but I’m learned about what I believe and why I believe it, I read my bible regularly, I love Jesus. Yet, I’m plagued with fear as I contemplate the cessation of my being and I find myself cloaked in an oppressive darkness. And while I’m suffering from near debilitating anxiety about death and feeling like my only companion is darkness, it’s not. For even in that darkness there is One who remains closer to me than a brother. And that darkness Christ’s voice pierces like a sword. He calls me to Him and turns my face toward His, reminding me that the authenticity and fulfillment of His promises aren’t contingent on me and my weak faith but authentic and fulfilled because he spoke them and his word never falls to the ground void and empty. What God promises, He also fulfills.

“‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’” John 14:1-4