As I reflect on the past year of my life, I can't help but arrive at the same bit of wisdom I began with in my first post of 2011.
"The ability to see the beauty within the ashes is the fuel for our joy, and the foundations of our hope."Please join me as I attempt to recap my last 365 days and illustrate what I have learned along the way.
If we were to use the analogy of mountains and valleys, I would describe this past year undoubtedly as a valley. A beautiful valley, but a valley for certain. However, I found hope in the beauties seen.
In 2011, I served as the Web Managing Editor for my school newspaper in the spring, won Best in Show at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association conference in Fort Worth, became elected as Editor in Chief of the newspaper for the fall semester, and wrote a series on religion.
I also got to be a Young Life leader, travel to Colorado, travel to Arkansas, build and nurture beautiful relationships, see a best friend become engaged, be a part of her wedding, move into a house with two amazing roommates, nanny for the sweetest autistic child, and register for my last semester of my undergraduate degree.
Truly though, no matter how big my travels may or may not be, and no matter how large or small my accomplishments seem, the time I spent investing in people and cultivating relationships and community surpass any highlight I could report. I'm so thankful for the people who have listened and supported me in a year of challenges, and for the people who allowed me to do so for them. I would never trade these moments whether they were characterized by tears or immeasurable joy.
Now, I implied earlier that I have faced a more difficult year. Please consider the use of the word "difficult" lightly, because I regard difficulty highly if it is learned from, and applied to life with wisdom.
"I believe I grow most through times of trial. whether the trial is self-inflicted or environmental. I hope never to find myself lacking in trials simply because I shelter myself from potential hurting.For a further explanation, I invite you to read a blog I posted earlier this year concerning pride.
However, I do not wish to encounter difficulty as an extremist, believing I cannot grow otherwise...Instead may I find myself taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow from the lesser beauties in my life."
Through various choices made and life altering decisions that needed to be made, my life changed so much in 2011 and this is what I have learned:
- Blessed are the choices taken in faith, no matter how scary the unknown outcome may be.
- God provides monetarily even if the way He provides hurts our pride.
- Community is both vital and beautiful. He will continue to deepen our understanding of community throughout life.
- God answers. Although, most often in a way that greatly differs than what we think we are asking for.
- Deeply immerse yourself in the present will of God. It may be painful when it is time for change, but it is life to its fullest.
- You really are NEVER alone.
- Be proactive about change you wish to see, of course while you seek Him, His word, and council.
- While making decisions remember He stands outside of time. He is sovereign.
- Sometimes the greatest blessings are given when they are truly least expected.
- When you find your identity in Christ, you are able to stand firm even when waves crash down.
Won't you join me in pursing life to its fullest?