Saturday, January 5, 2013

Year in Review

2012. What did God teach me? Where do I even begin?

This year was full of many life changing experiences, both "externally" and spiritually. Above all, I am filled with gratitude for the good God who is faithful in all things. When I look back and thank him for the growth he gives me each year, I am always led to question whether or not I was even a true Christ follower the year prior. In a strange way, I love the drastic, messy, humbling, heartwrenching change that only he can inspire. The Holy Spirit is magnificent.

To boil 2012 down to a few things, I would say that I have encountered specific attributes of God's character on a greater personal level. In the process, I have grown to know myself better and been pushed to surrender the deeper things at heart-level that I hold so dear.        

More specifically...

The last 12 months have shown me that brokenness is a permanent posture that all believers should embrace. I learned that it is not a passing state, but a lifestyle that means agreeing with God about who He is and who I am in light of that. I also learned that being honest about my brokenness in the context of community is a tremendous blessing. God is insanely glorified in this. It's partly how he designed the church to work.   

2012 taught also me that the word GOSPEL is really important. So many of our problems as a church and as a people are a direct result from perversions of that Gospel. Colossians 1:21-23 is so great: "And you, who were once aliented and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard..." 

To piggyback off of that verse, I learned I am already holy, because Jesus has called me as his own. I also came to the realization (for the upteenth time in my life) that following Jesus isn't about trying harder. It's about him being enough.

And grace. Glorious grace. That's what I learned this year. I wish there were more words to describe it, but it truly is indescribable. 2012 showed me that God never witholds grace from his beloved. He lavishly gives and pours it out again and again.  When I look beyond my promiscuous heart from time to time, I never cease to be amazed by the violence of his grace.

I feel so crazily blessed to be surrounded by the people God has placed in my life this year. I have met so many individuals who truly love Jesus and are excited about following him. Not only that, but I continually find myself in circumstances I would have never dreamed possible.

This year God was faithful in loving me while I graduated high school 6 months early to live, study, and play volleyball at a college I absolutely love.

This year the Holy Spirit was my guide as I had multiple spiritual conversations with my college volleyball coach.

This year, Jesus was my faithful rock in a whirlwind volleyball season that I was priviledged to play a signficiant role in.

This year, God demonstrated his goodness in the death of my pastor's young son. He has continued to reveal himself to my church body in the grieving process.

This year, the Lord was powerful in providing insight on how to love a close friend who is struggling with an eating disorder.

This year, my God was gracious in allowing me to share in a friend's wedding day and work through some changing friendships.

This year, God moved a teammate to come to church with me for the first time.

This year, Jesus prompted me to have spiritual conversations with close friends who do not know Him personally.

This year, God blessed an opportunity I had to hand out food and pray for people in the inner city.

This year, I encountered the glory of God as he faithfully worked in my life. I have no words to express how humbling that is. 

"For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." -2 Corinthians 5:14-15