Most people look to the New Year with goals in mind. Although I do have some small goals, I would like to meditate on the past year and the growth that has happened. Of course, I think looking to the future with excitement is great! I also think that a new year gives us one of those rare opportunities to look in the rear-view mirrors of life.
As I think about this past year, I feel very intense senses of awe, peace and joy.
One year ago, I had no plan, my compass seemed broken. I continued playing with it, hoping that maybe it would eventually steer my right. Yet, it never met my desires.
Once I finally began making plans and thought I knew what to do and where to go, they completely fell apart. It was in a graceful, yet painful way. It was graceful because I finally knew where God wanted me, but painful because I had to say no to some things that had really become part of my heart.
Most of you already know that I am talking about Honduras.
During the first several months of 2012, I made plans to attend Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I had decided to major in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I wanted to teach to the less-fortunate, in a large city. I wanted to stay near my parents so that my someday-children would have the opportunity to grow up near them. I would attend Moody’s online school for one semester, and then transfer to campus for Spring semester 2013.
I spent all summer waiting to hear if I had been accepted into their online program. Some of you may know that Moody is a difficult school to be accepted into. I had my doubts, but also knew that if that was where God wanted me, He would smooth out the details.
Then Honduras happened. Only one day into my trip, I knew that Honduras was where I belonged. I have never felt that about something or somewhere ever. This new passion took my plans and completely flipped them upside down.
When I returned home, I still had not heard from Moody, and couldn’t risk waiting any longer. I needed to get Fall 2012 semester planned so that I wouldn’t fall back on my graduation date. I scheduled for courses at the Kent campus I had been at for the previous year.
The next morning, a letter came in the mail from me. I had been accepted into the MBI program. I experienced heart break once again. This was the heart break that kind of makes your stomach turn, and your head hurt. See, once I was eventually on-campus at Moody, my best friend and I had been planning to room together. I knew that I had to say no to MBI though. I didn’t want to tell Chelsea this. I didn’t want to break her heart. I didn’t want her to think that she was less than what my future would be.
After praying about it for several days, I sent an email to the administration office of Moody, declining my acceptance. I cried as I wrote it, cried for quite some time afterwards, and cried when I received an email in return. It was so difficult for me to give up my plans, and trust that God’s is greater.
As I continue to live in Ohio, and be with my family. I also continue to understand why God wants me here, rather than in Ohio.
When I returned from Honduras, my sister-in-law told me that she was pregnant. For me to be home during her pregnancy, and then the day that my niece, Amelia, will be born into this world, is an incredible blessing to me.
My brother and his beautiful new wife got married this past week. To be able to be here for the preparations and be part of their great day, was another blessing.
As many loved ones get sick and have major health issues, it’s a blessing to be able to be here and be present in it. Rather than living hours away from comfort.
It has not been easy by any means. There are many times that I stop and wonder what life would be like in Chicago, with Chelsea. As Spring semester approaches, and I think about what it would be like to be packing my room to live on-campus, it hurts a little bit.
But, then God stops my thoughts and reminds me of where I am right now. He reminds me of the blessings that surround me. He reminds me of this ridiculously crazy journey He has me on. Then, all of the frustration and heart break stops, while peace and joy settle deep into my soul.
There are many pieces still falling into place, and others that I sometimes worry will never fall into place. So much of my future is unknown, but I guess that’s what makes it a journey!
The Lord has blessed my life in too many ways to count in this past year. As excited as I am for this coming year of so many changes, I am even more excited for what God has done in this past year of my life. To see the difference and growth is truly incredible.
Have an extremely blessed year!