New Year

Beyond Measure

I suppose I’m a bit like everyone else out there when it comes to the approach of a new year. I get reflective – more reflective than usual, I mean – and I begin to ponder what the upcoming year is going to look like. The funny thing about that is that I know that the year is probably not going to end at all like what I envisioned in the beginning. I can look back to this these last few days of December over the past four or five years and I see the same pattern. And truth be told, 2019 is one of the first years that when I think ahead – I don’t really have a clear vision.

That’s not to say that I don’t have goals for this year or things that I’d like to work towards, because that’s not the case at all. These past few months have created a new sense of appreciation for detours and a beautiful acceptance in my heart. The road may diverge from where we think it is leading us, but the journey is good and holy and full of beautiful work.

From 2014-early 2018, I was in this season of preparation where I truly felt so in tune with what I felt like God was asking me to step into that I never even considered that possibility that He might change the plans on me. And when He did? Well, that’s how I ended up here. In a city that I’d once prayed that He would send me to but never did. In a job that I’ve spent five years thinking I’d be leaving.

I began 2018 believing that I was going to end up in Central Illinois for grad school and I’m ended it here in Central North Carolina. As Annie F. Downs writes in her most recent book, Remember God, “sometimes when you’re following God, even doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing can still land you in the wrong spot. Or at least not get you where you wanted to go. And yet sometimes, those are the best stories He tells. Heartbreaking. Hopeful. True for me.”

And for me.

As I sit here now, on day three of a new year, I do not believe that I landed in the wrong spot. Different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. But those words that Annie wrote in her book, this book that reached me at the perfect time, are certainly true for me. My walk with God is full of stories of Him using detours and heartbreak to create something hopeful and it gives me all the feels.

Life today looks differently than what I thought it would a year ago. And I will probably be saying the same thing this time next year. But today I’m crazy grateful for our God who consistently gives beyond measure and who chooses answers years-old prayers instead of my newer ones.

2019, Let’s Go

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!

It doesn’t quite feel believable that it’s January 1st around here although that’s probably because it’s legit 70 degrees here in Raleigh today. Seriously.

It seems fitting, though, that today is the first day of the year and I spent a portion of it in the gym. Now, that’s obviously not all that different from thousands, if not millions, of other people but hey, I was there.

I’m beginning 2019 in a manner that I would have never thought I would – and that is with a trainer. It feels strange even saying that, like there’s this weird thing that happens when I even say the word “trainer” but nevertheless, I’ve got one. And truthfully, it was high time.

My health journey isn’t super interesting in the grand scheme of things and I’m still learning to listen to my body and become more in tune with what it needs. And right now, in this season, it needs the addition of strength training and I know myself well enough to know that I’m not going to get very far if I start out solo. Is it uncomfortable? Um, yes. My body kind of hates me. Is it awkward? Yep. But God has been showing me lately just how much I need to focus on my health in all areas (spiritual, mental, physical, etc). He’s reminding me that when one thing is off – whether it’s in my physical wellness, spiritual wellness, or whatever – it shows up in other areas of my life.

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2018

It’s a natural thing, it seems, to become more aware of our hopes and dreams, our shortcomings and our failures, in these few days between Christmas and the New Year. No matter where you look, there is no shortage of blog posts and articles outlining all of the ways that we can become better versions of ourselves in the next 365 days.

It’s overwhelming and quite frankly a little annoying sometimes.

But as I sit here, still in my pajamas, and fix my eyes on what lies ahead I am overcome with this feeling of humility. I feel so small and insignificant under the weight of the things I know 2018 could bring and the things unknown. And there just under the surface I am surprised to find feelings of unworthiness. Unworthy of the calling that God has placed on my life and will be bravely stepping into later this year. Unworthy of the grace upon grace upon grace that was poured out to me over the past couple of years. Unworthy of so much that it catches me wholly by surprise today. The feelings sent me tripping over myself towards Jesus and His truth, swallowing a lump in my throat as my good, good Father brought me to these words this morning.

“You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power. Your knowledge of me is too deep; it is beyond my understanding.” // Psalm 139:5-6, GNT

As someone who seeks structure, predictability, and routines (enneagram type nine, right here), it seems completely out of character to also be someone whose life will likely be uprooted in 2018. The reality is that this Fall I could be setting off somewhere for a four month, full-time child life internship or I could be moving to Illinois for grad school.

I honestly just have to laugh and point to God as my direction for all of this because if it were solely up to me, none of this would probably be happening. I’d stay here, in the only place I’ve ever known besides my college years, and settle into a predictable and stable life. But all praise and honor to our Father in Heaven, who knows exactly what we need, because there is no doubt in my mind that it is He who is guiding every step of this journey that I’ve been on for the past two years. He is protecting and surrounding me on every side, a beautiful reminder that I was graciously given today.

I am reminded in these last few hours of 2017 that as scary as the days ahead may feel – to literally not know where I will be living in eight short months – that they have already been written by a truly amazing Father who loves His children so dearly. I am reminded of my worth, my identity that surpasses anything I could dream up here on Earth. Where I may feel small and insignificant, God looks at me and sees a masterpiece.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” // Ephesians 2:10, NLT

 

2017: A Year in Review

January

The year began with snow the first weekend of the year! It hardly ever snows in this area but any amount brings me so much joy!

2017 Year in Review

February

In February, I got into antiquing with my Mom! One weekend we explored downtown Gastonia, which I’d never really done – surprising, since I came here a lot as a kid. I just loved the remnants of the “old” mixed in with the new.

April

April was definitely a highlight of 2017 for us as a family! For most of my life my family talked and dreamed about one day taking a family vacation to the Grand Canyon and this year was the year those dreams finally came to fruition! It was a week full of joy and love and beautiful sights that left me in complete awe of the God who created it all. We saw Celine Dion in concert for the second time as a family on our first night in Las Vegas and walked down memory lane in Williams, Arizona where we stayed most of the week. My Dad remembers stopping in this town on the train as a kid when his family would journey from California back to New Mexico to visit family and my great-grandfather worked as a dishwasher here in the 1930s. We even made the much anticipated roadtrip to New Mexico to visit the town where my Dad was born and visit with his cousin who shared so many photos and family stories!

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