What a year.
I just finished a while ago going through my old prayer journals for the year and my oh my. What a ride of a year. :)
This was the year of three mentors. Of four jobs. Of visiting six churches before I've possibly settled on one.
This was the year of new. New experiences, new church, new ministry.
This was the year of being broken, of hurting. This was also the year of healing. Of Jesus coming through.
I would rather not relive most of this year again, but I am still grateful for it. One of the professors at my school was sharing his life's journey, and he gave us ten points. The first point was that the most difficult is the most meaningful. That sums up my 2011. While it was probably the most difficult year I've had yet, it was also possibly one of the most meaningful. Jesus met me in ways I wouldn't have been able to imagine at the beginning of the year.
Jesus taught me so many things and gave me so many good opportunities in the midst of the painful places. Some of the highlights of this year:
My friend taking me to the waterfalls and my nose bleeding. And bleeding. And bleeding. Embarrassing but hilarious memory.
Hearing Josh Wilson live sing on my birthday with two of my dear friends.
Being mentored by Heather. Jesus used her to help change my heart, helped me begin to heal after the brokenness.
Good talks with my family, "healing rain" coming.
Being prayed for as I went through the line of Tadmor people surrounding me on either side.
Working with Jennifer was for sure a highlight of working at Camp Tadmor this summer.
Tadmor letting me off to go to my church camp and be a counselor for a few days/nights . . . highlight of my year. I LOVE Drift Creek and those kids so much.
Laughing with my friends after we hit a deer on the way to our college retreat.
Working on workcrew at Wildhorse (the all college retreat).
Laughing and laughing with my friends Kayla and Clarissa as we went to Thai food, rode the tram, went to Fred Meyers, and tried to act like we knew what we were doing under the hood of my car. One of my favorite nights.
Going with friend Kayla to a hospital, delivering flowers to some of the patients. Another one of my favorite nights.
Having a date with Briana (sister) and going to Portland and to a fantastic wedding. Many memories.
Laughing, crying, and praying with my two roommates: Bethany and Clarissa. They have been such beautiful blessings to me. Jewels. There are several other wonderful memories I have of them both.
People praying for me, with me. Jesus showing me the power of having others pray for you in the moment.
Going on the high ropes course and just hanging out with my class from Experiential Learning on our retreat. Conquering fear of heights.
Being at Multnomah again for another semester. I love that place so much. I love the people. So many highlights of people just blessing my socks off and loving me. Friends? I love you so much. So many fun memories with many different people.
Some sweet, anonymous friend leaving me a wonderful gift of new clothes and boots!!! Blessed me so much.
The times I could come home this semester and rest, and the homecoming when Briana came back from California, and the family could be together again.
These are only some of my highlights from 2011. There are lots more of them and of wonderfully good memories. If you're reading this, and I didn't mention you, please forgive me because you are dear to me too, even if I didn't mention you by name.
I am still quite single. And I still love Jesus. :) But maybe (hopefully) even more than I did a year ago.
About a week ago, some of my friends pointed me (separately) to the Footprints in the Sand poem. Now I've seen that poem/writing several times and thought it was "nice" but didn't think too much of it. After all, it was pretty popular too, and I didn't want to hang on to something just because it was popular. Well now the poem has kind of lost its publicity, but as I read the parts of it that I was given to read, it took on very new, real meaning as I looked at it with new eyes, reading it as if it was my story. Here is part of it:
The Lord replied, "My [daughter], My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During, your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints it was then that I carried you."
Jesus was there. Through all of it. Oh dear friend, can you look back at YOUR year? Can You see that in those times you wouldn't mind erasing or at least pushing back to the edge of your memory, that it was in these times that Jesus carried you? He was there. He knew we wouldn't be able to see Him then, but if we look back, maybe we can see Him now, see that He never ever left. Alleluia.
He walked with me through the "No." He held me when I cried, when I felt so alone, so afraid that no one would really love me the way I needed to be loved. Jesus? You never left me. You let me walk through the process of it all. You held my hand through the "Yes" of Tadmor, and You knew how difficult it was for me to work there and the struggle of it, of waking up early, going to bed late, the constant doing. You held me when I cried as I came back to Multnomah, and things had to be different. And You sent people to love me in the processes. You walked me through finding a new church, new ministry. And in the meantime, You taught me that Your thoughts are greater than mine, that Your ways are higher. Better.
You showed me that You are so very much active and interested in me personally, in my life, in my relationships, my future. You taught me that my desire to be "real," sincere, was more of a desire to be worthy, but the truth is, I am unworthy. There is nothing I can do about that. And that's OK because You love me where I'm at, in my unworthiness. You love me here and make me new. I can give up striving and start realizing that I am Yours, that the story is about You and not about me doing.
You remind me that You sing over me songs of deliverance. You helped me see that I need to keep my eyes LOCKED on You, and I picture that when I pray often now. I picture looking into Your eyes and the setting is the sea and the storm, and we're walking on water, and I need to keep my eyes on Your eyes.
You taught me about being honest with You, about telling You when I'm not on track. You also showed me the importance of just being in Your presence and realizing that even when I'm not on track, I still need to be with You, need You to come into my distraction and pain. I can't just stay away from you and run from You in my pain and in my darkness and sin.
I thank Jesus that I am [hopefully] a different danae than I was a year ago. I am being made new. I'm super curious about what 2012 holds. I still have yet to make resolutions, but even if I don't get around to it or even if I don't have them yet, one thing and only really one thing needs to be settled.
I'm all ready . . . as long as Jesus is coming with me and walking with me through this brand new year. I am ready . . . no matter what comes, just as long as Jesus stays and holds my hand through it. Hallelujah. He has promised to never leave and never forsake. He will keep working on me. He will stay. And because of this, I can face a new year with anticipation. This is His story, and my Father writes fantastic stories. :)
So, goodbye two.thousand.eleven. I am glad to see you ending in many ways. You were hard on me, but I am very grateful for you. I won't forget you. Enjoy hanging out with the rest of the closed chapters of my life.
And hello, two.thousand.twelve. I'm ready for the adventure. With Jesus. :)