One month. Only one month till I am halfway through college… And I can’t believe I’m already here!! All I can say as I look back on this year, is that it is absolutely AMAZING to see what God has done in my life. Thinking how I started this year in August, after growing with Christ on my own over the summer, I dealt with my first real heartbreak, lost my sense of confidence and security in my identity, and felt as though I was forcing myself to act and do the things I had always done and loved about myself. It was one of the lowest points in my life. This past weekend was the 2nd year Mount retreat, and it was truly a completion of coming 360 degrees from where I started.
Forgiveness is so liberating. I had heard the phrase “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.” And this is true, but I don’t think you can ever truly trust and love that person in the same capacity. But when you unexpectedly get that apology you waited for, I think you make an exception, and let that person back into your life. I got that apology on the retreat this weekend. It wasn’t upsetting, it wasn’t confusing, and it didn’t tear open any old wounds… It was uplifting and encouraging. I could feel how God had filled the holes in my heart. Now, I know God has been with me this entire year, even the times when I felt most broken and alone. It makes me think of the sand poem… Even when I was blind to it, God was with me, moving my life in amazing ways.
They say some years are full of questions, and others, answers. I posted this link because it is filled with so many of the lessons I learned. It is 30 things to stop doing to yourself. Some of the pieces I truly connected with are:
Stop putting your own needs on the back burner: “The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.”
Stop berating yourself for old mistakes: “we may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.”
Stop holding grudges: “Forgiveness is not saying ‘What you did to me is okay.’ It is saying, ‘I’m not going to let what you did ruin my happiness forever.'”
Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others: “Just do in your heart what you know is right.”
Stop overlooking the beauty of the small moments: “The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.”
Stop following the path of least resistance: “Do something extraordinary.”
Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t: “[…] there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.”
Stop worrying so much: “Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.”
From all these things… I’ve learned what you SHOULD do. Love and thank God every day. Love yourself. Make time for yourself. Live adventurously, untamed, and present in every moment. Appreciate your loved ones and spend more time with people who make you laugh, inspire you, and lift you up. Try every day, to really live to the fullest, and give your gifts to this world and these people.
Hope is powerful. It is only three months into this year, and there are so many incredible things I am looking forward to. I am surrounded by absolutely amazing people. I am completing Mount; even though I haven’t finished all my hours, I know I was being called elsewhere. I am so enthusiastic about my friends in SAC and staying connected to them. I feel as though I am figuring out career options that make me excited and capitalize on my strengths. I am studying abroad this summer, one of my life long dreams, with one of my best friends. I am riding 100 miles, and raising $850, pushing myself for a cause so much bigger than myself, in Pelotonia 2014. I am really paving the way and creating a role in the chapter for my director position as Alumnae Relations in Chi Omega. I am living in my sorority house next year, to be a light for God and amazing friend to all of my sisters. I am applying for two of my dream jobs: a University Ambassador at Ohio State, as well as an internship at the non-profit my sorority works with, the Make-A-Wish foundation. I am doing things I feel in my heart God has given me a passion for, and I’m growing every single day.
I keep a busy schedule. A lot of people will say, “It is okay to be happy with a simple life.” But through all of these amazing things, I have connected with so many people, and had the chance to be a woman of influence for Jesus Christ in so many peoples lives, even including my family. I know God is calling me to reach out to people, for Him. The opportunities He has already given me this year have blown me away, and I know they will only continue to come. God is truly amazing.
It’s funny, because a year ago, I seemed to know everything would change. I like to think that all the instances “intuition” kicks in, is God speaking. I felt Him guiding me into the relationship that broke my heart. I was so happy, but so nervous, because I had this feeling it would all change. I thanked God, telling Him my worry that everything would change; and boy, did it ever. 2013 and 2014 is the first full year of my life dedicated to Jesus Christ, and I have been so radically changed in such a short time. God has healed me. He has given me a sense of security and confidence in who I am. He has been with me through it all, leading through the dark, so that I could reach the light, a point of greater happiness and fulfillment than I even began with. He has given me lessons on living; He has given me peace. He has given me hope for the future. He has given me two huge gifts: a love for others, and a spirit for adventure. I thank you God, and pray that I will always use these gifts to keep working in His name and for His glory. I am so thankful for EVERYthing, including the bad times and heartbreak. It has led me to a transformation I could never have never imagined for myself, or achieved on my own.
Here is 2014, and the rest of the journey!!