One year says goodbye, another says hello. What a ride it’s been! What have been some of your most memorable moments? As you leave them in the comments below, take some time to look over these highlights from the past 365 days.
A big white square. That’s what’s facing me right now as I grasp for words to outline the past 12 months.
But blankness is certainly not what lies behind:
Lunch at Vast
Among many other things… College graduation. Best friend’s engagement. My engagement. Best friend’s wedding. First devotions published My wedding. Also throw in a honeymoon, church change, new house, and new part-time job at TriCorps.
Fullness. Newness. Growth. Dreams reaching maturity and blossoming in my hands.
Numerous words have already been spoken on each of these amazing milestones; I am only left with a humble and grateful heart.
I am married to the most incredible man (for his end of the year blog post, click here) and blessed beyond belief to be his wife. My jobs right now are awesome, fulfilling and challenging- and very different from each other!
I have a beautiful home I get to decorate and fix up with my husband.
We both have excellent families that we get to live life with. I could go on…
Tear off that calendar page What now? What is God speaking to me to focus on for 2013?
The words that keeps resonating in my spirit are: hungry, learn, grow. Hungry for more of God. Thirstyto learn. Eagerto grow.
I’ve been filled to the brim and even overflowing this year, but in an odd way, that makes me realize I do need God more and more every day so I can constantly learn, I can constantly grow, and I constantly bless and influence those around me. That gives me an appetite for God he promises to satisfy. (Matt. 5:6)
What words are echoing in your soul as you close your eyes on 2012 and open them to 2013?
“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9
1. Honestly, I could have used this song to sum up my entire year and laid aside the other items on my list. This song is “Never Once” by Matt Redman. Redman is probably my favorite worship artist and I fell in love with this song when I first heard it back in September. I just talked about losing my Grandpa on July 6, as many of you probably already knew. What many don’t know about is the intense spiritual battle our family went through just the day before. On Tuesday, July 5, 2011, my brother was undergoing his second set of steroid injections in his lower back to ease intense pain from two bulging discs. The procedure went fine, but as he was coming to, the doctor in charge of his procedure joined him and my mom in the recovery room. My mom made a comment in passing about “when Taylor gets better.” In what I fully believe was a direct spiritual attack against God’s word that had already been spoken to Taylor and our family about his full healing, the doctor began to repeat over and over again in a very unnatural and combative manner, “Who told you he would get better? People don’t recover from this injury. He is never going to be better. He is never going to get better…never get better.” Her words literally started making my brother and mother feel sick. You can ask my mom and brother for the full story, which I recommend because there is more than I am even able to fit in this post. Late that evening, when it was just the four of us, we spent quite a bit of time in prayer and praise, with the reassurance that the promise of healing was indeed true. Why else would the enemy try so hard to distract and discourage us?
What am I trying to say?
We are not unique.
We are not better.
We are not special.
Other families go through similar trials. Others go through far more intense trials.
I am simply sharing our story.
My brother’s back injury, my Grandpa’s death, other struggles and transitions were all negative events, at face value. They were laden with pain and grief, interlaced with unanswerable questions and wrapped in tears and stress.
But the story doesn’t end there.
And that is the most important point, the only point, in fact!
Just like the song said, never once did God leave my family alone. Never once, did He leave ME alone. All our victories are because of Him. We were, and continue to be, carried by his constant grace and peace. In the face of pain and loss, in the very face of what the Enemy meant for evil, God has returned manifold blessings to us.
Our family is closer and stronger than ever before. Taylor is fully healed and is currently playing basketball WITHOUT any pain at the collegiate level. My brother and I both had an awesome semester of school: his first, my next-to-last. Special people have been brought into our lives, in ways that can only be attributed to God. The list could go on…
More lessons will be learned. More grace and blessings will fall. We do forever breathe in His grace and breathe out His praise. Welcome, 2012!
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”
4. Above is a journal entry from Sept. 26 and this decision of mine had a tangible impact on my semester. The past 16 weeks were truly the most peaceful and least stressed I have had since I started college. While there are many assignments, deadlines, projects and schedules to keep straight in a semester, it doesn’t have to all be painful. I just told myself I was not going to get stressed, that my God is a more-than-capable helper and off we went. He met my needs every step of the way! It is a daily choice to lay down stress. Also, as Christians, it does not make us better, cooler or more elite to be super-stressed and busy all the time. The peace that “passes all understanding” should visibly be resting over our lives as Christians.
3.“We have this as a sure and steadfast ANCHOR of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” —Hebrews 6:19
This is my necklace that a lot of you have most likely seen me wear. It was given to me by a friend at a significant time in my life. Earlier in the summer, I started thinking about goals and scriptures to focus on for my senior year. I usually take time to do that before each school year and at the beginning of each new calendar year. I was reading through Hebrews at the time and my spirit latched on to the above verse. An anchor. I could hardly think of a more appealing object. An anchor doesn’t move and it doesn’t waver. It’s job is to keep a ship in place and that is what God is for our souls. Little did I know that this scripture and the anchor symbol was to become far more important than I could imagine…
2. My Grandpa Ken (my mom’s dad) died suddenly on Wednesday, July 6, 2011. His death has been the toughest personal loss, within remembering, that I have had to live with. For once in my life, I did not know what to do with myself in the days following that awful morning in July. My brother Taylor and I were the main ones that spoke briefly at his graveside service the following Monday morning. I didn’t think that I could do it. I kept thinking, I shouldn’t have to do this. It was years too early. And yet, I made it through that day. We all did. And I didn’t just “make it,” I literally felt lifted up on wings that flew me above the natural grief, pain and never-ending questions and into supernatural peace and comfort. Though I didn’t openly talk about this event on my Twitter and Facebook accounts, many of you did contact me personally and I knew I was surrounded by prayers upon prayers. I felt them. I needed them. I am forever grateful for them. Less than two weeks after his death, I was picking out a new journal at Mardel’s when I saw the above card in a box of greeting cards. Its sweet image and simple message immediately spoke to me. “Today is no match for you and God.” God has proved this truth over and over to me since that Wednesday in July and I hope you realize He is ready and eager to prove the same thing in your life.