08 was GREAT!
Yes, I know that a lot of people said that 08 would be great simply because it rhymed (most of this happened in late 2007 as people looked forward to the new year), but for me 2008 literally was the best year of my life. This year was not wonderful because I made it wonderful, but rather, because I let God make it wonderful. *more*.
If I wrote about EVERYTHING that happened in 208, no one would ever read this note and I would have had to start writing this MONTHS ago. So, instead, you get to read highlights:
*Leader’s meeting for Passion: DC with Matt and Ray.
*Meeting Louie Giglio at said meeting.
*Church retreat (made even better because someone else paid for me!)
*Catherine bought me a pro flickr account! 🙂
*Day of Prayer on campus
*Switchfoot concert where I met Jon Foreman on the boardwalk!
*My 20th birthday!!
*Started my summer job. It wasn’t always fun, but it was better than ACME and Subway.
*Decided to accept Mark’s offer of being worship leader in the summer (note: This isn’t a worship leader who directs the music. I have very little musical talent. In our church, the worship leader directs the service.)
*Passion Kampala, which was our partner city from DC. Over 25,000 students worshiping Jesus together +recording it for a podcast+ God’s timing =awesomeness.
*My family and I went up to Pastor Ray’s church, IBC, and absolutely SURPRISED everyone.
*Mike came down and we talked to my church about Exuma.
* I was worship leader for the remaining three Sundays in July. This is huge for me, since only a few years ago, I hated even reading an essay in front of my English class. My church isn’t *huge*, but it is definitely bigger than my English class!
*We repainted my bedroom!
*Revival service at church
*Won a church scholarship contest (essay). Totally didn’t expect it at ALL.
*Moved back to Stockton
*Revelation Generation (where I heard Chris Tomlin’s interview session, met the newsboys, including Paul Colman, was onstage with Duncan of the newsboys, and had fun other ways )
*Got my on-campus job back
*Read my winning scholarship essay at the ABCNJ Annual Session.
*Became part of the group of leaders for a retreat for high-school kids called Mid-Winter Advance.
*Met SCF alumni Jaimie, who I’ve heard about since I joined SCF.
*Leeann’s birthday party aka good food with family.
*Phillies won the World Series!!
*Voted for the first time
*Pieces of my future came together in a way that can only be explained as God working.
*Caitie called me and we ACTUALLY GOT TO TALK instead of leaving voicemails! (I called Cait and got to talk to her once earlier this year, around the Day of Prayer on campus).
*Bethany Dillon, Phil Wickham, and Shane & Shane concert
*Dad & George’s birthday dinner.
*Home for break.
*Casting crowns concert
*Going to IBC with Matt, Chris, and Amanda 🙂
There were a few events of 08 that were sad: One of my track coaches died, Cait’s best friend Andy died, Colleen’s mom died and of course there are the normal “bad days,” being annoyed with my sister and parents at times, having to quit Michaels because my boss (at the store near school) was a jerk, etc. (Even though death is a very hard thing to fathom, it the big picture, these events were not bad things–they are with Jesus Christ and that’s pretty awesome). This year, the good far outweighs the bad. One highlight that I didn’t mention was the fact that I consistently fell more in love with Jesus Christ. It didn’t just happen at one point—it was a continual process throughout the whole year. My journals from this year constantly bear some combination of the words “OMG GOD IS AMAZING,” “WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!” “YAY GOD!” “GOD IS DOING CRAZY STUFF IN MY LIFE!”…you get the general idea. I used a lot of smiley faces this year =). Also, when I was super excited, my handwriting would get much bigger and much less legible. I can’t help it though, I was experiencing God. When I experience God, it still blows my mind, and probably always will. Christmas day, Mom told me after I opened my gifts that I had a surprise gift. I opened it, and instantly, my heart was filled with joy and excitement. My surprise gift was a ring that says, “I am my beloved’s, my beloved is mine.” Song of Sol. 2:16.” in Hebrew! Mom told me that she was tired of seeing my finger turn green (from my cheap-o ring that I wore all the time), so they got me a real ring. It is definitely on the list of “best Christmas gifts EVER.” It is perfect, and a perfect symbol of my love for Jesus. It is also the perfect ending for this year. When I get back to school, I’m going to have Marcia teach me how to read it. I know what it says, but I want to be able to read it myself, to point out the characters and know what they mean.
I have no idea what God has in store for me in 2009. I have to trust God in regards to money. I have to continually ask God to help me stay focused on my schoolwork. I have to continue to seek His face as He reveals more of His plans for my future. Even though a lot is uncertain, I have this peace that is flowing throughout my body, casting out any fear, and letting me know that everything will be okay. I’m looking forward to Exuma in March, along with a few other events. I’ve learned recently how to truly cherish each moment because in a flash, that moment will be gone forever. I’ve learned how to enjoy my family and friends even more because the day will come when I will not be close to them to hug or hang out with me.
I’ve grown a lot this year, and can’t wait to see what else God has in store for me. This has been a year of music truly touching my heart—different songs changing me at different times, but God has used songs to draw me closer to Him. One of my Christmas presents was Phil Joel’s new CD called “The New Normal.” There is one song on it, “Call Unto Me,” that I knew was a powerful song because of my friend Ashley. I just didn’t know how powerful it was until I heard it. I think it is a wonderful way to close out this year:
Call Unto Me
Cant see the stars tonight
clouds move and hold back the moonlight
you leave the crowd inside
time feels like it’s moving in slow motion
the questions on your mind
fill the air tonight
something’s stirring inside
Do you feel it rising?
Call unto Me and I will show you marvelous things
You would not know on your own
I hold the keys to your life
there’s so much to be shown
you’re not in this all alone
Don’t be so mystified
there’s no need to complicated
slow down your crazy ride
breathe out the air you just breathed in
there are secrets to unfold
and visions to behold
about the here and now
Do you feel it rising?
So high, My thoughts are much higher than yours
My way is far better than yours
this way is far better
You say you want to be safe not sorry
you say you’re done doing things the hard way
can’t follow those feelings anymore
you’ve been trying to heal a heartbreak
are there still things that need to be forgiven?
don’t want to be lonely anymore?
you say you really wanna run with freedom
talk about your secret addictions
the silent treatment’s not working anymore
Call out to Him and he will show you marvelous things
you would not know on your own
He holds the key to your life
there’s so much to be shown
we’re not in this all alone
Greater things have yet to come!