New Year

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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Faith

For some time now (as in, the last two weeks), I have been reflecting, wondering, and praying over what my “word” for 2017 would be.

Now, I know choosing a word for the year is a very blog-y and social media thing, but I truly love the idea behind having a “theme” to help set your focus and intention for the year ahead. It can be hard to remember and to fully live according to that theme throughout the year, but it’s definitely something worth striving for.

Last year in 2016, my word was abide and I think it fit me well for where I was at this time last year. I was coming out of 2015, a year that completely changed my life from the losses of my maternal grandmother and aunt less than 48 hours apart to my decision to take my career in a new direction. I was in the midst of a season in which I felt the indescribable peace and joy of Jesus’ presence in my life so deeply and abiding in His undeniable presence and love in that season was such an incredibly beautiful place to be.

But as I’ve written in the past few weeks, I began to realize towards the end of 2016 that things start to look and feel different when you’ve “come out” of that immediate season of grief. While I certainly am not “over” the six losses that I experienced, the grief and the pain have gotten significantly easier. Now that life has returned to a sort of state of equilibrium, how then do I continue to root myself in God and abide in Him?…

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He Walks Before

Happy New Year, everyone!

There has been a plethora of 2016 recap posts and 2017 resolutions posts in the blogging world this past week, it’s come to be expected at this time of year.

2016 was an interesting year.

The year began with the losses dear family members, my paternal grandmother and our sweet Nellie in January. The New Year was a ending of sorts on a chapter of my life in which the Lord rescued me, guided me, and restored me. In the time between December 2013 to January 2016, the Lord called six of my family members home to Him. He called me to step out and make a way for myself in the church and led me to a new church home. He tested my faith through the students in my classroom, through the disease that my dad carries in his body, and through calling two of my closest relatives – my maternal grandmother and my Aunt Shelia – home to Him just 39 hours apart from each other.

Though this season came to a close in January 2016, I spent the remainder of the year wrestling in many ways with my next steps. My life had been changed, that much I knew. As I stood in the midst of a world that was falling apart around me, I knew I had experienced the amazing and unbelievable peace that could only come from the presence of Christ Jesus. The barriers that I had around my heart had come tumbling down and I was finally able to feel Him more fully and more profoundly than ever before in my life. I knew how to worship Him and sing His praises in that season because I had just seen firsthand what leaning into Him could look and feel like in the midst of turmoil. But once the dust had settled? Where I did I go from there?…

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2016 in Review

It’s the last day of 2016, say what?!

It’s hard to believe that it’s about to be a brand new year. For me, the Lord certainly taught me a lot in 2015, but the bulk of 2016 was characterized by the return to a new sense of normalcy and reflecting on how to love and live well in the aftermath of a tumultuous season of loss. It’s “easy” to turn to God when you’ve been broken and He’s your only source of strength, but to keep turning to Him when things improve? That’s harder than one might think and something tells me that it will be something that I will continue striving to improve on in 2017.

In the meantime, let’s look back at some of what 2016 had for me!…

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