Happy new year! I pray you are experiencing God’s blessings this Christmas season and have had a wonderful first day of 2014.
The year 2013 was transformative for me in so many ways. It began exactly one year ago today. As many of you know, I had written the Prayer Workshop on prayer beads for the January/February 2013 edition of The Upper Room. It was the first time that anything about prayer beads had been included in The Upper Room, and we were all curious – and a little nervous – to see the response. I remember sitting in a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas with my husband and son on January 1, 2013. Together, we watched the stats page on this blog as the number of “hits” skyrocketed over a matter of hours. Little did we know how accurately that moment would capture the spirit of 2013 for us.
In 2013 we:
- went from 15,000 hits to 150,000 hits to our blog;
- witnessed an avalanche of orders for prayer beads from our Etsy shop;
- tried desperately to keep up with the phone calls, letters, emails, blog comments, Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. from people who wanted to learn more about prayer beads for Protestants;
- failed to keep up with all the phone calls, letters, emails, blog comments, Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. (please keep trying!)
- hired three high-school students to help us in the Studio, in addition to putting various family members to work;
- worked with Upper Room Books to publish our first book, A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads;
- received the extremely gracious response to the release of our book;
- fielded many requests for retreats and workshops;
- celebrated the news that Upper Room Books wants us to write a second book on prayer beads;
- made plans for me to be able to spend more time in the Studio for 2014; and
- (best of all!) joyously received countless testimonies from you about how the prayer beads have helped you connect or reconnect with God, return to the church, find peace, experience healing, pray with your families, etc.
As if this was not wonderful enough, 2013 was also the year in which I experienced God’s true healing from a childhood trauma. It was an answer to a long-held prayer, and the result of God’s work through The Academy for Spiritual Formation, my spiritual director, my therapist, my family and friends, and yes, the prayer beads. As a result, I am finally able to live from a place of peace, rather than from a place of fear. It is all I ever wanted. And so much more!
Thus, it is with great joy, hope, and peace that I enter into 2014. I am looking forward to seeing how God continues to guide all of us in this journey of beads and prayer. I hold you up in my prayers. May you be blessed . . .