HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Whooo. What a year! Okay...honestly I can't even remember half the things I did xD. What I do remember, though, is that God was sooo faithful each and every day! He never left my side, never let me go, never stopped loving me or forgiving me. I am SO grateful for that!
Out of everything I learned this year, I think one of the most important lessons was learning to rely on God and trust Him more. So many times I caught myself trying to do it on my own strength. So many times I tried to forge my own path and make my own plan. But always, in the end, I had to come running back to my Savior, because I just couldn't do it. It was that simple. I can't and never will be able to do anything on my own; it's all God.
You're driving in the middle of the night. It's pitch black, and you can't see even an inch in front of you. So, you turn the headlights on, and now you can see a littttle more. But you're on a winding, steep road that snakes in and out of tall, dark trees. You can only see a few feet in front of you at a time, and usually you don't know you need to turn until right before. You grip the steering wheel tightly, knowing a wrong turn (or lack of!) could send you spiraling off the path and down below. You can hear wild animals around you and you shiver - but you choose to focus on the light and the path it's showing. You take it one foot, one turn of the wheel at a time, trusting that the light will not let you down.
After what seems like an eternity, you make it out! It's the early morning now, and you see the sun again. It's honestly the BEST feeling ever. You did it. You're safe. The light from your headlights led you out, safe and sound.
Now, you might be going through a dark, lonely trial right now. Maybe you're scared, and you have no idea what to do, where you are, or how to get out. Everything and everyone might seem like they're out to get you. You have no clue what's next.
What do you do?!
I played those final notes wrong. I passed all of those balls horribly today in practice. I missed every hit. I overcooked it again. I totally failed that speech. I didn't say enough. I said way too much. I didn't play those last notes right.
For pretty much as long as I can remember, I've tied my performance, my talents and my outward appearance to my worth. I guess part of it is the fact that some people assume I'm "perfect" - and so when I'm not, (which is like all the time), I think I've lost who I am. I've subconsciously told myself basically that if I didn't play well, look cute and act right, no one would like me.
And if no one liked me, I must be a...a failure.
A nobody. Just another average person in the daily life. I had to stand out and do something admirable to be worthy and something. If I didn't play volleyball well or had an off-day, then I must be the worst player and no good and everyone would look down on me. If I wore my black-rimmed glasses and looked less than stellar and put together, then people wouldn't want to be around me. Boys would stop liking me. If I played those notes wrong on the worship night, nobody would want to play with me again.
I'd lose their respect.
A few days ago, I was talking with a friend, and he asked me how I was. I shared about how life was okay but still strange and different. When he asked why, I shared about how fast-paced the missions trip was and how different it was here. Our conversation went something like this:
I said, "You know, when you're doing something you love and then come home...it's just different."
He responded, "Oh, what do you love doing?"
"I love sharing the gospel." I smiled.
"Okay, share the gospel with me." He looked up at me from the pool. "Actually, sing it, so I can listen!"
I glanced back at him. "Um, okay!"
Thank you, God, I thought. An opportunity to share the gospel! Yay!
And then I froze up. Where did the gospel start? At the beginning of time, at the beginning of Jesus' life on earth? I could probably eventually figure it out in words, but singing it was way harder. What he said next, though, really hit me.
Hey family! Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I had the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Costa Rica earlier this month. To say that it was amazing would be an understatement. It was beyond amazing seeing God work! He not only moved in the hearts of those in Costa Rica, but in the hearts of the team and in my own heart. I entered the trip with chains and left the trip SO much freer. I left believing and experiencing the fact that I was fully known and fully loved by our amazing God. It was such a blessing being His hands and feet!
One of the highlights of the trip for me was definitely praying. Being a part of the prayer/evangelism team, we spent at least one or two hours in prayer together every day, which was newer to me. Oftentimes I forget how important prayer is –that without it, none of the other ministries can really happen! It was humbling but encouraging praying with my amazing team. I had to continually remind myself that it wasn’t about how good my prayer was or how eloquent the words I used were, but that it was about what GOD can do, not me. Also, at the end of a women’s event/service, there was an altar call in which women who wanted to encounter God/accept Jesus could come to the front. I went up to pray for those who were there, and as I was praying, I said, “Thank you, God, that she is free.” And it just hit me. She was free. She was free…she was FREE!! I just started bawling with her, and our tears fell onto the floor together. It was suchhh a beautiful moment! I’ll never forget that. I don’t even know if I was crying for her or for me (it also hit me that I was free) - or maybe it was for both of us!
Heyyy family! I just got back last week from Costa Rica and let me just say that God is SOOO GOOD. Like wow. I could go on and on about the trip, but I'ma save that for a later post (more like postss because there's soo much!!). Today, though, I wanted to share something that actually happened before I left.
When I was young, I was often by myself. We'd go to events or family dinners or parties, and I would be in the corner, alone. It wasn't necessarily that people didn't want me to join them. It may have been because I, as a shy kid, was too afraid to join. But I never thought of that then - I just kinda felt left out all the time and doubted myself.
Even though I'm much older now, I still have scars from that. I still hurt from it (though not as much) It still pops up every now and then. Insecurity is so real and feeling left out is something that a ton of people feel but only a few talk about!
A few days/weeks (I forget) before leaving on my trip, an image popped into my mind (no coincidence, fam!).
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."