Year in Review: A Look Back at 2018

I’ll be honest…

…it’s hard to know how to process this year.

I mean…it’s not like things went according to plan…as if all my resolutions came to fruition; granted a lack of bucket list checks is nothing new in the history of late Decembers.

Still, as I look back on 2018, I can’t help but bask in awe. For while each year is its own journey, there are some more seismic, more catalytic in nature. To capture their magnitude? Nearly impossible. But to consecrate them into altars of gratitude? Now we’re talkin’.

Perhaps you’re wondering how you survived the year, hoping to find hidden truths between the lines months, or stressing about what next year will bring. If so, consider this simple year-in-review…a year that started in obscurity yet finished with a renewed embrace of it.

But where to begin. That is the question…

I suppose the best place to start is last Christmas when Everly Hope made her debut weeks after our last days in LEGACYouth and Ramsey Solutions.

While ushering in our new bundle of joy was certainly a lifetime highlight, it didn’t negate the fact going into 2018 was the meteorological equivalent of a clear, sunny day turned cold, freezing fog. So much of what we were used to was now lost in what we couldn’t see.

No more Wednesday morning devotions at work, no more co-workers and paycheck security (at least for Lys) no more sermon prepping, no more ministry on the go.

I remember a stretch in January I’d drive to work feeling all I had was daily bread and the world’s best family. I know, I know…this is [way] more than enough for the majority of the world’s population. I get that. I’m one blessed man; let the record stand.

However, as an exposed man realizing how much identity he had put in what he put out (i.e. how much personal worth he had assigned to ministry), no longer could I reconcile the sum of what I had versus what I didn’t have.

Lost in ego, it became quite clear the sabbatical God called Lys and I to when 2018 started was going to go much deeper than the average church break. I needed to find myself seek Jesus, embrace the words I’d been preaching for years, and let the tables turn.

And so it began, this foreign survey into various liturgies and doxologies, each Sunday a chance to learn something new about my local church. One step back, two steps forward. One step back, two steps forward. Never before has being a complete stranger, especially in church community, been so exciting yet awkward at the same time. Timely words pitted against uncertainty, a functioning compass that felt broken more often than not…this was my reality heading into late June.

Halftime Musings: https://hisgirlfryday.com/2018/06/28/halftime-a-musing-on-life-in-2018/

But to God’s credit, with assists from Jamie George and several Messenger colleagues, the heart, though bruised, kept rhythm. Yes, I missed LEGACYouth. Yes, I missed having a ministerial outlet where I could justify my day job by what I did outside it. But somehow, I was able to catch the bigger picture. God was not only after my heart, but my independence.

By time July arrived, the stage was set. All I had to do was keep my ears open.

Of course, you may know what happens next. If not, I’ll let this post do the talking:

Begin Again: https://hisgirlfryday.com/2018/09/06/begin-again/

In hindsight, it’s interesting to see the progression between late June and early September. As my harshest critic, accept my word when I say what God did during this time was nothing less than a minor miracle.

And yeah, I get a return to your home church isn’t exactly a $1,000 check in the mail or an ailment being instantly healed. At the same time, I think anytime a certain amount of pain, regardless its form, is supernaturally conquered, it must find anchor in testimony.

In my case, I went back to places of untended hurt, having previously hoped the end of LEGACYouth would be the end of them. After surrendering the ‘sail into sunset’ narrative for a ‘look what I will do in Act 2’ declaration, I finally did what I should have done years ago: I traded the vain imaginations, the depressive thoughts, the hopeless medications in for a buy-in into God’s plan of restoration. Whatever happened in ‘Act 1’ had to be released. Thanks to divine grace and that ever pestering still small voice, I was able to let go like never before.

And wouldn’t you know it…as all this was happening…ten years of on and off stomach ulcer-like symptoms vanished. It’s almost like God was giving me a head start into the fall (i.e. ‘You commit to this, I’ll heal you of your depression!’ And boom! It happened. Unexplainable, indescribable…yet unsurprising. A recipe for knowing where God is.

At any rate, while much happened this year behind closed doors, at times underground, no question there were many seeds planted that have taken root and will sprout in years to come.

As for what happened elsewhere, I’ll let the video and Q&A segment below take it from here.


When you think back on 2018, what immediately comes to mind?

CF: “Begin Again. The official battle-cry proclamation of 2018. Victory, repaved foundations, fresh trust in the Lord…quite a bit actually.

LF: “Change and transition. I felt the whole year was shifting sands. New baby, new career, new challenges. Concerning the latter, while we overcame and succeeded most of them, perhaps none was bigger than replacing my income as a stay-at-home virtual assistant with Everly in the fold. Despite all we’ve been tackling, we’ve been tackling them as a team. We’re ending the year on a totally different level.”

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What were some of the highlights/defining moments?

CF: “Conquering anxiety. The physical effects of my depression being healed. Our story in going back to The Gate. That late summer stretch was memorable on multiple fronts. Interesting to note in past Q&A’s, the answers to this question often featured events and travels, but this was a year that required a sabbatical and less mobility as part of its narrative.  As such, while our yieldedness felt more grounded at times, I think it ultimately helped establish the undercurrents that would go on to define the year. On a more secondary note, building the bridge between His Girl Fryday and Fry Freelance has been an exciting, though at times humbling, experience.”

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LF: “Landing my clients. Seeing God come through in this way was truly amazing. Knocking out the postpartum much quicker this go-around. Embracing the overall momentum that came with accepting the children’s pastoral role at The Gate. Learning a new rhythm without feeling I’m just surviving was defining in itself.”

How would you compare this year of marriage to the past years?

CF: “We have a more well-rounded idea of what intimacy is. In recent years, we’ve seen our communication tighten, but this year, I feel our desire to be on the same page is greater than ever. We’re not just picking and choosing how we want to be close. I suppose the type of troubleshooting and hurdle-clearing we’ve had to do this year is a major reason why.”

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LF: “This year has been more real. To end it on a high note, after so much transition…that says a lot. We’ve had some of our most intense discussions this year, but they brought us closer while pushing us towards growth and deeper connection. We’re getting better at being intentional. This was a ‘make or break’ year and while it wasn’t always pretty, we’re coming out stronger.” 

What lesson from 2018 are you eager to apply in 2019?

CF: “The relationship between dependence and satisfaction in the Lord. While we know we have every reason to trust God, He never stops pursuing our reliance and purifying our sense of worth. Furthermore, I better understand the connection between abiding in peace and not needing to make sense of my surroundings. I’m considerably more content in obeying without the entitlement of knowing why. In a way, I feel I have built-in relief for 2019 based on what God has taught me this year. One more lesson…sometimes, the dreams we think are dead are just dormant instead.”

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LF: “I’ve learned so much about grace, the kind that propels you to keep going. This year we’ve oscillated being being intentional and reactionary. Going into 2019, my heart and focus is on being more intentional as a function of overflow. That’s the word buzzing in my heart right now. I yearn to overflow as I surrender security and self-preservation and engage worship in all aspects of life. Given my belief in 2019 being more addition by multiplication, how we overflow is going to go a long way in how we mature as givers.”

What do you hope you’ll be saying at this time next year?

CF: “We’ve broadened our voice. We‘re working from home. We’re better stewards of what we’ve been given. We took the next steps of intentionality across the board…and are closer to God and each other because of it.”

LF: “#Livingourbestlife. We invested in what matters. We traveled more and were able to expose the kids to more outside of themselves. I reached my goal weight having hit the halfway point the year before.

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Peace to the journey that is 2019…

~ Cameron & Lyssah Fry

Halftime: A Musing on Life in 2018

Well, folks, the summer equinox is upon us and you know what that means…

…time for yet another enlightening installment of ‘halftime lessons learned’ where the year goes under inspection, the heart under reflection, and fears under subjection…

…where inventory becomes short story…

…and hopes teetering on paralysis find rest in analysis.

Now, I admit: when probing a year, I prefer filtering my thoughts into bite-sized, applicable takeaways; however, this year, I can’t help but feel I must take a different approach given its narrative and the irony of potentially leaving truth between the lines.

After all, not all years are created equal, and as such, easily quantifiable.

But where to begin…that is the question.

Obviously, life on the home front has changed significantly with Everly. Like Caeden, her joy has proved contagious in a year full of adjustments. Granted, with two under three and an adolescent pup, maturation compels naturally when a family grows for a third straight year. Even so, this year’s home-owning family of four has felt far more settled than last year’s house-hunting family of three. Accordingly, all is well and better than ever for me and my house.

Of course, not all change has been hunky-dory; the lack of youth ministry, in particular, has proven especially difficult.

For starters, I didn’t realize until after-the-fact just how much I’d assigned identity to role and pain to under the carpet 1 2. I suppose when you’re constantly pouring out and giving your all regardless of peripherals, it’s easy for that to become your reality. Unfortunately, the more you tolerate voids in this way, the more you think you can fill them loving on your own terms, as if the Golden Rule alone can grant purpose.

But as we know, that’s not how begetting life works3. Ultimately, if we desire a pure walk with God based in intimacy over responsibility, we must confront the interference…

…which brings me to where I’m at today…

…where if there’s any desperation, it’s for my sense of place and passion to be free from seeking re-orientation in ego4, specifically what should have been.

As the Lord has been convicting me in recent weeks, the world is searching for sacred love…is aching for eternity (as perpetual presence)…and yearning for believers to identify with Jesus. And while it’s easy to emphasize advancement and progress, there are seasons when we must return to awe, re-embrace the basics of our faith, and allow the gnosis5 of ‘we are not what we do’ to seep below the neckline6.

For when we allow God to reset, restart, and refresh both course and inner man, our strength is renewed to release not only what we lack, but what hasn’t worked7.

Think of it this way: whenever you crave wonder to extinguish discouragement, remember what truly lasts. Yes, seasons come and go. And yes, there will be times when you feel what should be happening isn’t happening.

But glory to God life is so much richer than our temporary inconveniences…that even in the midst of what’s not working or happening, he uses those voids to remind us who we are…and how much we need him.

And while the roadmap will surely vary from person to person…

…like a river to be crossed, we will get there.

As for the rest of 2018, there’s so much I could say, from our new family freelancing business to returning to school to finish my meteorology degree (see vid below for backstory); however, given much is still developing, I’ll hold off until December before lending a detailed update/recap.

‘Til then, enjoy halftime.

Selah.

Footnotes

  1. In the name of endurance.
  2. Not to mention those pesky what if’s…like what if I had allowed myself to be poured into more consistently? What if I had recognized ‘x’ insecurity sooner? What if I had applied this personal/program correction at ‘x’ point? Etc, etc…
  3. Eternal esurance slogan?
  4. Notably in temporary measures like success, relationship, and comparisons
  5. Head knowledge
  6. Heart knowledge (i.e. epignosis); in case you need to know where I’m at, there you go
  7. Or isn’t working

Photo creds: Fine Art America

The Good, Bad & Awesome of 2014

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When you think back on 2014, what immediately comes to mind?

LF: I really think 2014 was marked by clearing hurdles. The theme of mountains and valleys was huge. There were highs and lows, but the amazing thing is that every low was immediately followed by an awesome high. Overall, it was a good year with its fair share of challenges.

CF:  I agree. To me, it was a “back to the drawing board” kind of year. Plenty of fine-tuning. If I had to sum the year up in two words, I’d go with “successfully conquered”.

What were some of the highlights/defining moments?

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.03.30 PMLF: The first thing that comes to mind is getting published on ‘Darling’ magazine’s website. It was a poem I wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day and it was exciting to share that. Also, seeing the youth engage in worship and leading by example, especially during November’s Wednesday Worship Experience, was amazing. Oh, and our one-year anniversary trip to Chicago…

CF: Yeah, our travels to Chicago and St. Louis were pretty epic. I’d say graduating with my Master’s in Education a couple weeks ago was a highlight, though if I had to choose one in particular, I’d go with LEGACYouth reaching a new level in its ministry this summer. It’s been exciting to lead such an awesome group of students during a watershed year. No doubt, it’s going to be even more amazing in 2015 as God continues to lead us in developing the worship culture.

How would you compare the sophomore and freshman years of marriage?

LF: I feel like we hit a pretty good groove this year…much more in balance. The first year featured a lot of learning. I feel like we click more. We laugh more. We cry more…but it’s with each other rather than ‘because of each other’. I also feel like we have become better friends and as a result, better partners. We anchor and support each other and it is a joy to operate that way.

CF: Amen. I feel like our emotional unity has helped us press through some hard times. Overall, I think we understand and compliment each other more. We’re not as afraid to be vulnerable and transparent…and that, in turn, has enhanced our relationship. Everything feels more settled now. The honeymoon year was pretty sweet, but I think the second year has been even sweeter!

What lesson from 2014 are you eager to apply in 2015?

LF: There’s a difference between motivation and determination. You can be determined to complete something or apply yourself even when you don’t have the motivation. All too often this year, I held back because I didn’t “feel” like doing something. But that is not a scalable philosophy. Determination and dedication will take us so much farther than “feeling motivated” ever will. I feel like this applies to multiple areas in my life right now.

CF: Word. I’ve felt this on the work front a couple times this year. Even when you feel out of place…and your drive is splintered, you can thrive by allowing God to breathe faithfulness into your pursuit of excellence. On a more personal note, I’ve learned, at least to a higher degree, the positive consequences of trusting God while feeling alone/disconnected (relationally outside of marriage)…when wrestling with fading strongholds…and when setting boundaries, whether in ministry or with finances and time management.

What do you hope you’ll be saying at this time next year?

LF: The dedication is paying off. The query letters have been sent. Only three months to go until we’re debt-free. We’re expecting.  I think those are the big ones.

16449_10100287050750132_1109098363311312523_nCF: I second these. I’ll also add: What a successful first year of His Girl Fryday (cough, cough), what an effective year serving The Gate Community Church as a new Messenger Fellowship associate…and what a thrilling year seeking fresh leads on a new career pathway. Oh…and I’m hungrier for God and His ways like never before and thus, ending my third decade of living on the highest possible note.

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2014 – By the Numbers

  • Estimated miles driven: 27,586
  • Deep Fry blog posts: 52
  • His Girl Fryday blog posts: 16
  • Fall 2014 GPA: 4.0 (clinching Magna Cum Laude Honors)
  • Snowchased Snow Amounts: 17.4″
  • Miles run (Cameron): 674