It has been a life-changing year indeed. There are no words to describe the magic, heartache, growth, and impact this year has had. For me personally, I focused on some specific things throughout the year.
1. God told me that I was to be a Shepherd:
This always happens to me. I always am afraid that I will not be able to find a community or make friends and God is just like.."let go of the toxic people so that I may bring you the people that will shape the rest of your life." So many new glorious friendships found me this year. New work out buddies, iron-sharpeners, collaborative artists, and older adults who could pour into and guide me along. In small Bible studies, in trips to new places and concerts, and in the lives of young children and older women, I was a shepherd this year. He taught me about myself. How I could shepherd myself, feelings, likes, dislikes, emotions, and a path to look more like Jesus.
2. God told me that revival was coming:
After helping start a ministry on my Campus, I learned the true definition of walking by Faith. I learned that family is not accidental. It is attention, intentional, and can take you by surprise. I learned the importance of being in the word together at Pine Cove because that automatically creates unity and breaks down comparison. I learned that it is important to share your testimony and talk about the Holy Spirit because you never know whose life you are going to impact. Hundreds of people have been healed, saw God's love, and had a perspective shift all through the boldness of my fellow believers and me.
3. God taught me patience:
In struggling with jealousy, not getting certain positions I wanted, and sharing my life with three amazing new roommates who I do not always see eye to eye with, I have learned that sometimes the best way to retaliate when feeling offended is not to retaliate at all. Because of the quiet work I have done in myself, I have learned the importance of remaining dedicated to my friends even when it gets tough. I have also learned how to be patient with my own progress. When I haven't been consistent in my workouts and quiet times when my writing is subpar, and when I find myself falling short in ministry, God is like, "Honey, it's about your heart. Trust the process."
4. God taught me honesty:
When there seems to be a gaping divide between you and another person, it may be because there is a lack of truth in the foundations of the relationship. When I finally was honest and vulnerable in my relationships, no matter the person, breakthrough immediately happened, and it became stronger than ever. I can't lose that.
5. God told me not to fear:
After seeing the way God works in another country and the way He protected me even in the heart of a heartless city, I can now confidently say that I am almost fearless with Him. Write and finish a play no one else agrees with? Sure. Go out, converse, and pray for a man who hates me? For the gospel! Pour into friends that may never pour back? Hello, that is what Jesus did all the time. My fear is gone, but the next step for me is to learn how to trust.
6. God taught me about letting go:
When people have gotten married, when people have gotten into relationships, when people have moved away, and when people have rejected me, I felt alone. The core of my sinful, human heart of flesh longs for the approval of man and tries to fill my God shaped whole with lies. But there is nothing I should hold on to. I should climb this mountain with my hands wide open. I don't need the attention of others. I don't need everything to go my way all of the time. I just need Jesus. And as I have realized that this year, I have grown so far. Thank you Lord. Amen.