Chapter 2014

new year 2015 written in sand

First off, where did this year go?  I really can’t sum up 2014 in one word, so much has happened in the last 12 months.  In January I was lost, I spent most of 2013 facing some hurt from my past and picking up the pieces.  I arrived in 2014 with nothing but myself sown back together again and looking for a purpose.  After hearing a New Years sermon series at church I decided to give God 2014 and rededicate my life to my first love, Jesus.  Also after hearing my pastor say,”If you get involved in this church and everything there is to offer and you don’t experience change I’ll quit the church with you!”, I decided to get involved in my church. Because change was exactly what this girl needed!

My first task was to join a small group, so I chose a girl’s Proverbs 31 small group.  I remember that first meeting like it was yesterday, I sat on that couch looked around and thought “I am never coming back, this is awful!”  I laugh thinking about it now, but I stuck it out…it was hard, especially those next few weeks.  But I knew that it was something that I needed to do, so I did it.  I probably didn’t speak an entire paragraph that whole semester, but those girls touched my life in so many ways.  They were real, they struggled with the same things I did, they didn’t have it all figured out, and they cared about each other in a way that was so foreign to me.  They will probably never know how much God used them in my life.

The next change in my life was the revelation of Grace.  It was everywhere I kept hearing it in songs, sermons, blogs and there were books that came into my life about it.  If Grace were a human it would have been my creepy stalker.  There was no avoiding it.  And ultimately it has changed my life! I was looking back on my journal entries from this year and found this one dated March 28,2014:

“I’ve fallen in love with my Savior and it’s beautiful.  I feel changed, I want to spend so much time with Him.  I’m happy again, life is so much better.  All these years I’ve tried to have this and I’ve failed time and time again.  But for the first time I’ve discovered Grace, when you live in God’s grace sin isn’t a desire anymore.  His desires become your desires, I have a long way to go but praise God I’m not where I used to be.  I’m just so excited about Jesus!”

And this one from April 15, 2014:

“Everyday I’m learning more about God.  I’m trusting Him more and when I fail I simply crawl back to Him.  Understanding Grace has really changed my Christian walk.  I feel like I was deceived my whole life about how God really feels about me.  He loves me, He truly loves me! He doesn’t punish me, He teaches me.  He has good things for me, for so long I felt like every bad thing that happened in my life was because of something I had or hadn’t done.  But now I’m understanding God’s love for me.”

My next step of faith was the decision to go on a mission trip in June.  This was a huge step of faith for me.  I’d never been this far away from my family, I didn’t exactly have $2,200 sitting around, I didn’t know anyone that I was going on this trip with and I was going with these strangers to meet more strangers in a foreign country.  Thanks God, sounds like a great idea!  But God gave me peace about it and provided every dollar that I needed down to the very last deadline.  I was kinda bummed about how the trip went, I didn’t have some life-changing encounter like some of the people did.  And honestly I didn’t feel like I made a huge impact, and I got a little upset about that.  But I feel like God told me later on that He just wanted to see if I’d do it.  So I look back on this trip knowing that it was a test of faith, and that even though it didn’t go exactly how I had planned it went exactly how God planned.  Sometimes He just wants to see if you’ll say “yes”.

My most recent step of faith was joining that 2:52 Ministry Internship at my church.  I remember the night that they had the information meeting, I remember thinking about it the entire service and then walking out of the sanctuary, looking at the meeting room and turning to walk out the door.  No joke, I stopped myself, turned around, and went into that meeting.  Once again I had all these excuses in my head, but I signed the paperwork and turned it in anyway.  So here I was in September starting a new job and an internship, with no idea how either were going to work out.  But it turned out to be the best decision I’ve made in a long time.  It’s amazing how close strangers can become in such a short amount of time.  I’d never had friends that encouraged my walk with God or lifted me up when I was down.  What a difference it makes when you surround yourself with the right kind of people or better yet when God places those people in your life.  I’ve listened to their stories and I know that God placed each of us together in that semester for a reason.  I also discovered how much I loved getting to serve others, and I didn’t even know that until 2:52.  I love how God knows exactly what we need and exactly when we need it!

I look back at this year with nothing but gratitude. Because “He has given me a new song to sing….Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:3)” .  He put a new song in my heart, I’ve begun to dream again.  I’m no longer lost or broken, I am a chosen child of God.  I look forward to going even further with my Savior in 2015.  I refuse to look back on 2014 and be sad because how much greater are the plans He has for me in the future. If He can accomplish this much in 1 year how much more can He do in the next 3, 5 or 10?  I don’t know where the next year is going to take me, but I keep hearing “Just trust me” over and over again.  Doubt rises, “Just trust me“.  I try to make my own plans, “Just trust me“.  He knows where I’m going I just have to trust Him. Our journey doesn’t end here…

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:13-14)”

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