Every year I like to look back over the year and see how I was challenged, how much I grew and the joys that the LORD blessed me with. As 2013 comes to a closing I wanted to do the same by looking into each month since I had some major life changes this year. Join me on this journey as I think you might find comfort or hope in some of the lessons that the Lord taught me.
- Attended Passion in Atlanta with CSU Students. Every year I kind of dread going to Passion because it is a lot of details to get a large group down there and around without many complications especially since it is always right around New Years and Hotlanta is packed out with people! But every year I walk out blown away at how the Lord moves! It is easy to see how He moves in the worship gatherings and it is cool to embrace how He is stirring the student in my groups heart, but it isn’t always easy to see or accept how the Lord moves in my own heart. I would say one of the biggest take aways this year would have to be…Francis Chan said, “If you really want to experience the Lord, then go and make disciples.” We hold back because we doubt and get caught up in false things/lies. When God says that we should make disciples it means to multiply the “witnesses” Acts 1:8 says we receive the power of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of being His witness. When you multiply, there are bonds that hold us together and provide that “safety net” or that strong foundation. The foundation = trust (Gods promises are trustworthy). Trust yields obedience and passion. Obedience yields multiplication. Louie Giglio followed that up with a statement saying, “Many times we say we are waiting on the Lord and in reality the Lord is waiting on us.” This brought conviction that I have to stop “waiting” and begin “making.”
- Chosen is a women’s conference hosted by Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC. For me – it lands during a time when everyone is running to get back into routine for the Spring semester so attending another conference is usually far from the things I want to add to my schedule, but I am so glad I went to this year’s event. I got to hear Dr. Caroline Leaf talk about negative thoughts and how they can be renewed.
- Every year we take a group of students to the SCBC Converge Collegiate Beach Weekend in Myrtle Beach. It is a down scaled Passion, but none the less tons of fun! By this time this is my third conference of the year… mind you four weeks into the year… so I am just going through some of the motions. I think one of the greatest things about this year was watching the CSU student group (largest we ever have taken and 2nd largest group at Converge) come together to collect almost $700 to give to Operation Baby Rescue through World Help to save a child’s life. One other thing that Matt Papa said during the time of worship that stuck with me was that “We never understand God’s grace until we see how real our sin is. We never see how real our sin is until we experience God’s glory.”
- The third annual Women’s Conference hosted by CSU happened at the end of February. Renew’s keynote speaker this year was Esther Fleece from Southern California. I found Esther Fleece through an article in Christianity Today and got a chance to briefly meet her at Passion in Atlanta. I know people think I am crazy that I find people through social media and become friends, but Esther is another one of those great relationships that I’ve been able to quickly connect and become partners in ministry and life. Esther has a huge network, but most importantly she has a huge heart for Jesus. This day was such a highlight because the decorations were off the charts by Abby, worship was indescribable by Kristen, the message was timely by Esther, the breakouts were challenging and practical with people like Becky, Ashley, Dr. K, and others. I pray for the planning and efforts for next year’s Renew Conference as it continues without me.
- I went to California for the first time with the CSU Softball team during Spring Break. I’ve never been to Cali, but it was quite the adventure as I was driving a 15 passenger van in Los Angeles during rush hour (by the way all day is rush hour)! I got to see my long time friend from CSU, Ashley, while I was hanging out on the scheduled off day. Her and her family took me to the beach to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean! I also went looking for the HOLLYWOOD sign with Marcus and KB. Yeahhhhhhhh – we did find it but after an hour of looking up every street for it. The softball games were not ideal outcomes, but we did find where Hugh lives none the less. Overall – successful trip to California.
- I got to serve the other half of my Spring Break with the mission team in Orlando, Florida working with FBC Orlando prepping some homes they were working on as a Phase II housing complex for those coming out of the Rescue Mission Shelter. We also served at the Rescue Mission before taking a break at Islands of Adventures! By the end of this week I was exhausted from flying from Charleston ->Houston -> LAX -> Chicago ->Charleston and then Charleston -> Baltimore -> Orlando then driving from Orlando to Charleston! Whew! But it was a good time to be with some of the best people in the world!
- My best friend, Solmaz, moved back to Charleston, SC in March and I was reunited with her! Plus, I got to meet my new baby niece, Avery Sahel, for the first time and I must admit that she fell in love with me instantly as I did with her!
- I adopted a puppy, named him Lucas (One Tree Hill inspired), went through the process of potty training him. This was quite the adventure, but thanks to Kadie for being such a trooper to help me with Lucas when I had to make an emergency trip home to help with my Granny who has just been attacked by a dog in her neighborhood. If you ever want to know what having a kid is like – adopted a puppy!
- The end of the month marked one year living in my house. The neighborhood was almost fully developed. I had two roommates, Kadie and Hannah.
- Learned what the apostle Paul meant in Philippians when he talked about “the peace that surpasses all understanding…” I have never experienced the peace of God like I did during the first week of May when Corey called me to ask about a job opportunity. Then to have my Granny and my Aunt and my best friend/mentor, Jon, all agree that I needed to walk through the open door, it only affirmed the peace I already had in my heart. Jon was preaching one Sunday a couple of years ago and he made the comment that “Peace overrides logic” and ever since then I have tried to take that in to consideration when I have been at a point to make life changing decisions. This for sure was a life changing decision and I needed that kind of peace. The logic in my head was not enough to make me walk through the wide open door. I had a house, my best friend had just moved back, I had my handful of senior girls to tend to, my Granny needed more attention with her recent accident, and the list could go on.
- So I interviewed and accepted a new job in Rome, Georgia! About that peace… I was walking around the campus praying as I waited for the interview with the President of the University and my prayers began to shift from me to how the Lord would provide for those who were currently leaning on me. PEACE.
- Went to my first Roller Derby Game to see one of my college buddies, Leslie, play with her team. What a fun time! I got to experience it with my friend Faith and her boyfriend (now Fiancé), Alex. That is one rough sport and so crazy to see Leslie so competitive. She’s a beast people!
- At the end of June I closed the door to a job I had been doing for the last ten years at CSU to move to the new chapter in my journey. Those thirty days we busy trying to leave a platform and pathway for the person following me. Those days were exciting to think of new things to come. Those days were hard because this was a place full of comfort and challenges and reward. I had been there for literally half of my life. But those days went quickly and the door closed. I honestly thought I would be freaking out and it was definitely hectic, but that overwhelming peace came back over me. I know it sounds crazy and maybe even too good to be true, but once you ever get to this position then you will understand.
July 1st I started my new job as Assistant Dean of Students at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia. I jumped right in and began to work hard from day one. It was a crazy month, but fun meeting new people and organizing new projects like Hawk Orientation, Camp Hawk, Residence Life, etc.
- The stress level went through the roof during the month of August, but the Lord was faithful to allow me the energy, patience and grace to make it through this month. I started to lean on new friendships at work to give me encouragement to survive the long days.
- September was probably the hardest month of my life – having to adjust to new relationships and learning to balance the ones from Charleston. After my first visit back to Charleston, after so many tears, it was not easy to leaving to drive back to Rome. I was hurt and mad that I had to leave. Everyone said, “time will make that easier.” Now I didn’t feel like I was holding back in Rome, because I wasn’t sitting around doing nothing, but my heart was still committed in every way to those in Charleston.
- Attended Homecoming at CSU for the first time as just an Alum. It was fun to not be running from one side of campus to the other with a camera in one hand and an iPhone in the other hand. Now, I did have my iPhone in one hand for the purpose of taking some pics of me and some old friends!
- Got to baptize one of the CSU Volleyball team members, Carley, during my visit to Charleston. This was one of the best highlights of my year because of the investment that I have been able to make into her life and walk with the Lord. What an honor that the Lord Jesus would allow me the privilege to see fruits of my labor and to sense the sweet aroma of Jesus in her life as she walks in obedience to bring GLORY to His Name and make Him famous.
- Got to witness (and shoot photos of) my best buddy, Trey, get married to his best friend. I am glad I could be there with him especially because I know he was in love and happy!
- Everyone gives me a hard time for listening to Christmas music so early and decorating for the holidays. So in efforts to appease those haters I did the 30 Days of Thankfulness on instagram. The Lord has been so faithful to bring joy and PEACE to my heart during such a busy and stressful time of the year. I challenge you to try that next year – think of something from that day or just something in general that you are thankful for. (i.e.: people, places, events, things, scripture promises, etc)
- Standing firm on the Word has been essential this month. I have truly had to hide the Word of the Lord in my heart as I have reflected and walked forward. During a time when emotions are high and stress levels are rising – you must balance yourself on a solid Rock, Jesus! Since Christmas is about the Birth of Jesus Christ – let him be your balance beam during this coming year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!