Friday, December 31, 2010

"Before the Morning": One Last Post for 2010

Two-Thousand-And-Ten. What a year this has been, and as the last day of December slips away, I stay true to my tradition of reflecting on this past year. :) I read through most of my past 2010 journal entries and blog posts. Wow! What a year!

Since I'm a stubborn-list-writer, here were some of the highlights:

>> Growing close to friends from high school . . . such a blessing.

>> 18th birthday and for all the sweet friends who surprised me with cupcakes and words and receiving Sara Beth Geoghegan's signed CD from Bri among many other things. :)

>> Going to MEXICO for a Missions Trip!!! Good memories <3

>> Having a Cream Cheese war with Briana while making Mom's birthday cheesecake. Oh yes. :)

>> Meeting Sara Reeves at Acquire the Fire.

>> Senior trip! Growing closer to my classmates, laughing, sharing memories and encouragement. Good times.

>> Graduation and Open House! Such a fun time.

>> Being a camp counselor! Miss it and my girls! Hope to go back next year!!! :)

>> The blessing of scholarships, of hearing directly from my admissions counselor when I got bumped up to an unexpected scholarship. GRACE.

>> Making paper airplanes with special needs kids at school Mom takes her patient to.

>> Going to Iowa for family reunion.

>> Older man joining me at Grandma Z's doc appointment, putting a puzzle together with me. Being a friend. :)

>> Making S'mores over the stove for first time with friends from Iowa. :)

>> Catching 4 fish at Clear Lake with family. :)

>> Receiving red roses from my prayer sis from Jesus. :)


>> Finding a church home, Burlingame! After the 2nd church visit too! Such a blessing!!

>> Conquering a rock wall and a HUGE, SCARY SWING at Wildhorse with friend. Some more fears killed. :)

>> Laying under the beautiful stars at Wildhorse with one of my best friends, sharing stories and questions for Jesus.

>> Started work at Glenfair Elementary School, working with kiddos, listening to them read.

>> Mom, Dad, and Sister surprising me by coming to my church one Sunday!!! (One of my favorite memories of this year)

>> Coming home and having chocolate ice cream with my Grandma and Grandpa. Such a special, sweet time. :)

>> Going to the Art Museum with one of my good friends.

>> Eating and talking with friend and listening to his testimony at Catacombs. (Definitely another big highlight of year)

>> Fall Banquet! :) And finding the car LOCKED in the parking garage and Shari's hot chocolate and talking late. Such good times. ADVENTURES! haha :)

>> Bowling with College Group, aka COLLIDE.

>> Donating blood. :) And passing out for the first time ever! :) haha

>> A sweet, older friend at church, her kind words to me. LOVE HER!

What a year. :) And those were only some of the major things. You see, life is like a package. There are big items in the cardboard box, and then there are the packing peanuts. However, each peanut is significant. It's when we can be grateful for the packing peanuts, the little, special events in our life that most would let go unnoticed, THESE are what make life special, like all the times I've laughed with my roommate and friend, when a waitress at Shari's gave a fellow classmate and me a free 1/2 a cinnamon roll because we weren't eating with the rest of our class, like all the long letters from my friend Kayla, from the packages in the mail, for every day when it was sunny when it could have rained. I don't want to stop looking for beauty. In fact, I want to do so much better in 2011.

This was also a year of music. Here are some of the top songs that I played on YouTube:

"Times" (Tenth Avenue North), "Something Beautiful" (NEEDTOBREATHE), "Nearer" (Merideth Andrews), "You Can Have Me" (Sidewalk Prophets), "Beautiful Ending" (BarlowGirl), "Before the Morning" (Josh Wilson), "Everything Falls" (Fe), "Lemonade" (Chris Rice), "Falling Slowly" (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova), "Beautiful Things" (Gungor), "God of the Impossible" (Sara Reeves), "Restless" & "Ought to Be" (Audrey Assad) and many Sara Grove (and other Chris Rice) songs.

"Before the Morning" probably sums up the year best. This was a year of a lot of pain. Things fell apart in ways I would have never imagined. Relationships broke, hearts cracked, and some of us are still trying to figure things out. But morning has begun to come. I see it. I see the shafts, the sunlight and think I maybe hear the last refrain of the music of the dark. Precious grace and goodness of God. We can be free.

I also hope to think that I've learned a little more since this time last year. Well, I'm hoping. :)

I've learned/was reminded that Jesus is powerful and strong enough to change our hearts, to give us the strength and grace to make the right decisions when He is our choice.

I've learned that I can't let the fear of pain keep me from being involved with other people's lives. I've learned about community and how people are so important and how we need to really spend time with each other.

I've learned that we're all from the same clay, just God's kids, that we won't be perfect, but His love is so strong and reaches far beyond our performance.

I've been reminded of the importance of just being still and knowing who is God. (HE is!)

I have been shown in such more vivid ways that Jesus is so REAL, that if He would come to America in our human skin, I'd probably see Him in jeans and a nice shirt . . . He'd look like us because He is REAL and came here in our skin. Jesus is relevant!

Jesus is a firm foundation and a strong refuge. I can be safe in Him.

I am unaware of the least of His intentions for me. I can only see so much.

I've learned to trust more fully (okay, I'm trying to learn this!), I've learned to let go of some of my expectations, to try to accept life with hands more open.

I've been shown that there are four major steps to victory from Pastor Phil: "buy into the vision, know your enemy, pray & keep watch, and know your source of strength."

I'm trying to learn.

I made a whole lot of mistakes this year, but God is redeeming, healing, teaching, correcting, disciplining, loving. I'm so excited that He's not done with me, with this piece of stubborn clay. I'm still on His potter's wheel. Oh how grateful I am for this!

Well, because this blog post is already crazy long, I think I'll wait and spend time thinking about what I hope to see in 2011, but for now, as I continue to think about 2010, I want to glorify the Lord and thank Him. Oh friends, He has brought me through such crazy, good, horrible things. He is my best Friend and all that I need, and I am safe in Him. I want to end this with part of the lyrics from a song that's currently playing on Pandora, . . . "Amazed" (sung by Philips, Craig, and Dean).

"You dance over me,
While I am unaware.
You sing all around,
But I never hear the sound.

Lord, I'm amazed by You . . .
How You love me.

You paint the morning sky
With miracles in mind
My hope will always stand
For you hold me in your hand,

Lord, I'm amazed by You . . .
How You love me."

He is holding us in His hands, friends! Through the last hours of 2010, into a New Year. It is good to be His. <3

Happy New Year!!!!!!!! :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

To Be Free

I'm not sure when I became a Sara Groves fan, but now, she receives credit for being the subject of most of my YouTube visits. (Though, as a side note, Chris Rice has been a fierce competitor. *smile*) Just a few minutes ago, I was listening to her song, "Different Kinds of Happy." I'm stuck on one line.

I'm not holding on to anything I'm not willing to let go, To be free.


I think I can say that I am most free when I am most open. I really think the idea of freedom and openness can really go together. I am free when the senseless clutter of my life, when the bitterness, the sin, the pointless distractions, are out of my life. I am free when the doors and windows of my heart are open so God's Spirit can come in and cleanse me, so He can move me. I'm free when there is nothing I'm unwilling to give up, when my hands are outstretched, palms up, open. To hold or to give. Open.

This freedom that Sara talks about is what I desire, what I pray for this early morning . . . that I hold on to NOTHING that I'd be unwilling to let go of . . . to be free.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


"On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All Other Ground
Sinking Sand."

Anchor me, Jesus! I will crumple if I'm on the sand. My heart shatters on the sand. My mind breaks on the sand. And tears come quick. No. I need to be brave and strong right now. Only on You, Jesus. Only in You.
Solid Rock.
I stand on You.