2019 has held some of the greatest accounts of God’s faithfulness, yet alongside His greatness, this year has challenged me in so many ways spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Amidst these triumphs and uncertainties so much has happened and I wanted to sit down and recap it all with you.
Before we jump into all that was accomplished, completed, and wrapped in a bow, I want to talk about how the goals I had to give myself SO much grace on, and what GOOD still came out of these steps that fell short (more accurately very far from) the finish line. I am going to share one goal from every area of my life that failed BUT how those few steps still counted.
Marriage: Jared and I doing our devotionals every night. That goal was not accomplished. To say we didn’t have time is the lamest excuse ever, between us not making bible reading as a couple a priority and all my sudden health related incidents- it made 10–15 minutes of reading consistently hard. BUT almost every night we held hands and prayed out loud before going to bed and that has changed our marriage and relationships as a couple and individuals with God for the better. Something is better than nothing.
Health: Daily concentrated breathing and meditation. This goal fell short but surprisingly the seeds planted started blooming toward the end of the year. I had originally wanted to do habitually practice deep breathing, but we have found out, from my pulmonologist, that my lungs aren’t doing the best because of frequent rib dislocations. She advised me to stop doing deep breathing, but rather concentrated breathing and meditation. She had me do mildly deep breathing for a certain amount minutes along with monitoring my pulse ox to try to keep it above a specific number. (I try not give specifics so that people will go to their doctor for treatment plans or exercises as all your plans or exercises should be approved by your doctors for you specifically.) I did not do this goal everyday, BUT the last quarter of this year, 70% of the time, I did do this breathing technique daily. Little by little it add up!
Ministry: Sharing devotionals. I am SO glad that this goal failed because I definitely wasn’t ready and God knew that. BUT it allowed me to get into His word and rekindled my LOVE for God’s Word. It’s okay to grow slow.
Family: Checking in with extended family more often. I am in constant communication with my immediate family, Joanne, and my fathers parents, yet there are still many others that I don’t check in with as often as I would like. This goal started working well in the second and third quarter of the year, then when my body started unexpectedly rapidly declining checking in with others fell off my priority list. BUT now I am going to try to find a less demanding and grace-filled way to chat with everyone without feeling overwhelmed, so I’m excited to try a few new ideas.
Friends: Double dating. Jared and I had a goal that we wanted to double date once or twice a quarter. This year we only went on one double date, BUT it was the best because we got to celebrate Maura and Tim’s engagement. One double date is better than none.
Finances: Planning out our months in advance. The first three months of 2019, I did the contentment challenge and just assumed that I didn’t need to worry about finances if I wasn’t spending. I was so wrong. BUT this taught me to start reviewing our finances, budgeting, and discussing it all with my husband 2-3x a month. It has worked out so well that now I do all the budgeting on our finances, I am so blessed to serve my husband well and take one weight of his shoulders. I’m not perfect at keeping on top of it sometimes but I’m focused on progress not perfection.
Spiritual Growth: Joining the recently married small group at our church. I really wanted to join a life community in our church, and we started going and truly enjoyed it. We found that I was not able to be actively participating in the group and then be attentive and receptive to the message. It was too much for my body all in one Sunday morning. BUT that experience helped me come alongside our church’s desire to create an online life community. There’s more than one way to accomplish your goals
Personal Growth: Share my story and grow my platform. The problem I found with sharing my story is that all I do is talk about myself. That is not what Jesus wants me to do. He wants me to share the hope He has given me and the strength He has given me to endure. It should always be all about Him and I wouldn’t have a platform if He hadn’t given it to me. BUT by coming to understand this truth it has allowed me to connect closer to Jesus and help others grow closer to Him. To use “my story” or ‘my platform” for anything less than His Glory would be shameful and disappointing.
There you have it. Now that I have (hopefully) helped you give yourself some grace or made you jump with joy that your life is so much more put together than mine (lol) I want to share with you all my favorites this year held!
Here are 20 of my 2019 favorites
Favorite Book I read: It’s Not Supposed to Be this Way by: Lysa Terkuerest this book was LIFE CHANGING. It literally turned me upside down, and I felt like I was reading my own soul. If you want to read this one you should, and if you want to study it (I’ll spill the secret) this will be the book used for the 2020 Spoonie Study! Check out Spoonie Study Details
Favorite account to follow on Instagram: @cultivatewhatmatters their posts and stories will inspire you to live presently and purposefully. They are also the kindest people ever.
Favorite memory from this year: seeing the Jonas Brothers live for the first time since they broke up before the tour started! #dreamsdocometrue
Favorite Surprise: finding out Joanne’s secret crazy amazing sewing skills! Check out her shop!
Favorite Habit cultivated: sending “snail mail” letters of encouragement to friends each week
Favorite New Tradition: hosting the first Powersheets Prep Party with 5 of my closest friends! Check out the party details
Favorite Memory: celebrating our one year wedding anniversary with the most gorgeous peonies I’ve ever seen
Favorite way I saw God show His faithfulness: allowing me to receive homecare
Favorite artist/album: Happiness Begins- Jonas Brothers check out their album here
Favorite purchase I made: #powersheets 2020 bundle and the Write the Word Journals learn more about them!
Favorite health Purchase I made: ice socks. I used to suffer from hot feet- not anymore! Try them for yourself!
Favorite Instagrammer to cheer on: Kaylee Hobbs. Get to know her!
Favorite Obsession: Hand lettering. Maura and I dove into this hobby and it’s so fun and relaxing! Details on the book we learned from
Favorite Passage I read in the Bible: Psalm 38 My favorite part of the passage is below but you can read it all here
13 But I am deaf to all their threats.
I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.
14 I choose to hear nothing,
and I make no reply.
15 For I am waiting for you, O Lord.
You must answer for me, O Lord my God.
16 I prayed, “Don’t let my enemies gloat over me
or rejoice at my downfall.”
Favorite way I learned to grow my faith: Declaring truth! Learning the truth about who God says I am and who God is. Declare truth details
Favorite Sermon Series from Grace: Humans of the Bible (favorite sermon is “A Different Game of Thrones” from that series) listen to the series now!
Favorite date night: Jared and I got take out and stayed up all night binge watching an entire season of How to get Away with Murder
Favorite inspirational and authentic account: @morganharpernichols
Favorite podcast: Mine.. just kidding haha I love the Cultivate your Life Podcast by Lara Casey especially ep. 008
Favorite movie: Downton Abbey the Movie
Favorite family memory: the family refresh retreat we did the week before easter. God worked in our families hearts so strongly and we came back ready to continue to serve our people and each other well
2019 it’s been real, but it’s time to head into 2020.
Thank You for getting us through another year, even the hardest parts I didn’t think we would get through, thank You for giving us Your non-circumstantial, overwhelming joy. Grow us this year Lord. We know You have gone before us, now please guide us to go where You have planned for us to be.
Cassie Nolin is a married spoonie who lives the chronic illness life with EDS + Co. (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and it’s comorbid conditions.) She challenges others to choose grace over guilt in goal setting, and is in ministry part time serving the online community through The Spoonie Study. She loves planting, hand lettering, and sharing the hope she has found in Jesus. Her blog, Living the Chronic Illness Life, is in the top 100 chronic illness blogs and her podcast, Chronically Cultivating, is produced by Speaking to the Heart Network. Cassie encourages women to live authentic and intentional lives through their diagnosis’ not in spite of them. You can learn more about her at www.livingthechronicillnesslife.com
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