10 Things I Learned In 2014


Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be on a blogging break, but I just can’t pass up the chance to share some of the things I’ve learned this past year.  🙂

Below are just a few of the things I learned this year.  In many ways, these lessons continue as I walk forward in faith with God.

Healing from past disappointment can take years.

To say that I’ve been disappointed about shattered dreams is an understatement.  Some days I think I’ve finally come up above the clouds, only to settle back underneath the next day.  I have triggers, moments of despair and having to fight to stay full of faith.  But there are also days of overwhelming gratitude for where God has brought us, how He has cared for our hearts, and just marveling at His hand of grace in so many ways.  I don’t like that it’s taking so long, but I believe I still have lessons to learn.

Community can be found on the other side of the screen.

I never knew there were real, authentic and beautiful women on the other side of a computer screen, in another state, even another country. You’ve given me strength for this journey and I am so grateful for each one of you. I have learned this year that, at least for me, blogging and writing, it’s all about community.  Sure, I write to bring Him glory, but I want to share stories and encourage you in your faith.  I want to sit and have virtual coffee with you and chat up a storm through words.  As I’ve had to ease up some in the writing, I’ve had many featured guests who have blessed this blog with their words.  I would love to invite you to share the brew by way of a guest post on my blog in 2015.  We’re better together.

Sometimes all God wants me to do is show up.

Seasons change and I’ve realized that what was God’s will for my life one day, may not be the next.  Instead of spending so much time asking God, He’s shown me that all I really have to do is show up with a yes in my heart, and he will take care of the rest.  Whether that pertains to my job, my art, my marriage or my children, I simply have to resolve to show up and watch what God will do.

I am still broken.

I do not believe that healing from past hurts will come until I lay down my disappointments. It’s time to let go of lost hopes and dreams and allow God to work through the disappointments.  He is the Good Shepherd and will always bring me through the valley.  For now, I will wait on Him with broken wings.

Blogging through books is good therapy.

I often have a hard time focusing on what I’m reading unless I take notes.  Deciding to blog through books as I read them is a great way to allow the words and lessons there to sick deep into my soul.  I’ve had the privilege of blogging my way through two books this year.  The first was my series on Becoming Living Art using Emily Freeman’s book, A Million Little Ways, Uncover the Art You Were Made To Live, and the other was my Journey to the High Places, using the Hinds Feet on High Places devotional.

God will bring healing from the scary parts of my story if I allow Him to.

I never intended to share certain parts of my story for all the world to read, certainly not the most intimate ones that bring me pain.  But after quite a bit of nudging from God and a lot of prayer, I stepped out and shared a scary part of my past. The response was overwhelming and I realized that there were so many who needed to read my story, so they would know they were not alone, and that God could and would bring redemption and healing.

Facing the storm isn’t so bad.

This past year, I’ve had to do a lot of looking up in the face of the storm to see what God was doing in and through it.  It’s not always easy, some days near impossible, but I know that God is in the center of the storm.  I can face anything as long as He’s with me.

It takes courage to have faith.

There have been days when I longed to have greater faith in my circumstances.  What I lacked though, was courage.  It takes courage to be able to rise up and hold your head high in the midst of pain and brokenness and believe that it will all work out in the end.  So this year, I’ve learned a lot about courage and how it goes hand in hand with faith.

It’s okay to be real.

This year I’ve learned more than ever that what people want is authenticity. When I put my imperfect, messy and broken self out there, just as I am, it helps others to know that although their life isn’t perfect, they matter and they aren’t alone. I’ve been more real with my life this year than I ever have in the past. I am learning that life is not about neatness and perfection and goals met, but rather, it’s about the journey and what happens in the in-between places, and how one brings glory to God in the process of walking out real, messy faith.

Contentment is something I am still learning.

I write the words and share the scriptures about how God promises to work all things together for His good, yet most days I don’t do a very good job of walking it out.  So contentment is something I’ve been learning, especially over the past few months, and will continue through the new year.  I want to be able to know where my hope lies at all times, and not spend my days in regret and clinging to the past.  I want to move forward in faith, through the hurt and pain, believing there are blue skies ahead.  I want to be satisfied with my life, and the only way to have that satisfaction is to have more of Him.

How about you friends? What have you learned in 2014? I would love for you to share.

I’m linking up with Emily Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky.  Stop on over and read about what other’s have learned this year.



Seeking beauty in the ordinary and embracing life to the fullest. Thank you for stopping by and come again soon!

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27 Responses

  1. Mary Geisen says:

    Beautiful Barbie! Your authenticity has grabbed my attention over and over and I first got to know you over your book study of Emily Freeman’s “A Million Little Ways”. I have been blessed many times by your encouragement and now your willingness to share your home at The Weekend Brew with me. Thank you for being my friend and writing encourager. Love you friend!
    Mary Geisen recently posted..Delight or Despair

  2. Barbie,
    May you find abundant blessing in 2015, and God bring you peace like you’ve never known before. ❤️
    Heather @40YearWanderer recently posted..How To Make Prayer More Than You Know

  3. Rosann says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your lessons learned, my friend! Your story has been so beautiful to follow, even though I know for you it’s been a great big scary mess. Your courage and faith inspire me! I love how real you are here in this space. It reminds me of a recent podcast I listened to from Michael Hyatt. He talks about character and how sharing our flaws, mistakes, weaknesses, and storms with our audience is a beautiful thing because it encourages others to know life doesn’t have to be perfect, and in fact nobody has the perfect life. Ultimately it’s all about Jesus. Love you so much, sweet friend!
    Rosann recently posted..24 Bible Verses to Memorize and Study in 2015 — with FREE Printables, too!!

  4. What a great list!

    I can identify with a lot of it…but for one thing.

    My body’s quite broken, but I am not.

    I have one foot in the grave, they say (and my wife’s talking about ‘after you die’ stuff).

    One foot in the grave just gives good defilade. Good cover, in other words, so I can keep fighting.

    And when I pass through the Pearly Gates, I’m not going to bow. I’ll look God in the eye and give him a high-five.

    Arrogant? No. I’m way past that. Just got tired of getting beaten down, is all. Enough’s enough, and this place, this soul…I will maintain.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted..Let Battle Begin – Tuesdays at Ten

    • Barbie says:

      Thank you for your insight Andrew. It’s more of a broken spirit than a body being broken. But, God will never deny a broken spirit so hence, I will continue to come, broken and know that He will make me whole. Blessings!

  5. Tessa says:

    We learned a lot of similar lessons this year! It was so encouraging to read the way you’ve processed yours. I can see that these storms and hardships have been circumstances that have brought refinement and growth for you, and I hope I’ll be able to process mine the same way. Thank you for sharing. I pray 2015 is an even bigger year for you 🙂
    Tessa recently posted..2014 According to My Reading List

  6. Amy Ward says:

    ive enjoyed being introduced to your blog during #FMFsnailmail. Happy 2015. May God fill your cup with His overflowing grace this year!

  7. Melissa says:

    These are great! I feel like I learned some very similar lessons in 2014. My word for 2014 was change, and my word for 2015 is grow. Looking forward to a new year.

  8. Dayle says:

    Beautiful lessons, Barbie. Thanks for the look back and the lessons therein. May the coming year hold blessings abundant for you and yours.
    Dayle recently posted..Year-in-Review ~ Looking Back at 2014

  9. Erin says:

    Oh, Barbie! Can’t say enough yeses to this! Love having you in my online family. You are a joy.
    Erin recently posted..what i learned in 2014

  10. Jennifer says:

    thank you for being apart of my community through my screen!

  11. Barbie, your list is one that we could all aspire too…or maybe have already been taught those lessons, if we will just pick them up and live in them. Thank you for always sharing honestly and for encouraging us to look for God in all our circumstances. Happy New Year, friend!
    Holly Barrett recently posted..To live with Him {SSMT}

  12. Oh Barbie, my heart aches for you. I read not only this blog, but the shattered dreams and scary past ones. My goodness, girl, you have been through a lot, and I am so sorry that your gift was taken from you like that. I know about losing your home. We got in over our heads and had to sell our home too. I took two years, 2 deals that fell through, a lawsuit that thankfully didn’t happen and a picky buyer. God did bless us with a small home, but I do know the sadness that comes from that financial burden. I too experienced date rape, but nothing like what you went through. Thank you for sharing your heart and I look forward to getting to know you better this year. I wish we could sit down and have real coffee, but for now your weekend brew tastes pretty good.
    Mary Dolan Flaherty recently posted..What I Learned in 2014-Being the Best Me

    • Barbie says:

      Mary, thank you for your kinds words. I’ve taken huge steps to be real and authentic this year, sharing scary things, but the Lord has always gone before me. Perhaps one day we will sit and chat over coffee. One never knows. Blessings!

  13. Lea says:

    Barbie, May the Lord bless you in some unexpected ways this year and may His peace and comfort surround you. Hugs to you!
    Lea recently posted..Christmas Has Only Begun

  14. What powerful lessons of healing and living out faith in the hard places you have learned. As you have shared, we are all blessed, affirmed, instructed, and encouraged as you share your journey. I’m grateful for a transparent and authentic friend on my journey as well. How I’ve missed being able to read your blog regularly over the busy Christmas season and my writing pace at the moment as I work on a book draft. Though I’m not hear as often, you are not far from my thoughts and prayers.
    Ginger Harrington recently posted..Top Posts This Year at Ginger’s Corner

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