Thursday, December 31, 2015

A journey to hope

"The journey for me has just begun.  Fitting as Advent rings in the new year, my "new beginnings" have already begun.  I have been praying for a theme for 2015, but I think this really will follow me into next year.  I don't know what's to come, but I will remember the words I shared with Jesus on the stroke of midnight as my birthday came...'Lord, You have prepared me for this year.'" - First published 12/31/14 on decision to make "Enjoy the Journey" my theme for the year

As the story goes, I just turned 33 and was ready to face my "Jesus year".  I was feeling good coming out of Advent.  I was ready to take on the new year.  I just wasn't sure what theme I'd go with, but carrying out the Advent theme just seemed appropriate.  

And it was.

I never really thought I would encounter a loss that led to my own self reflection.  Last Christmas, a woman I worked with passed away over the break.  We held a memorial for her in January, and it was that event that made me reflect on my own life - What will I be remembered for?  Suddenly, I felt as if I hadn't been doing enough in life.  I wanted to do more.  I wanted to serve Jesus in a different way, but I wasn't sure if going full time missionary was necessarily my calling.  I remember driving home one night asking God, "So, what's next?"  A few months later, I never thought I would attend an event that would re-trigger this question.  I attended a talk called "Passion & Purpose".  Even thought it was my second time, I had a feeling this round would be different from the first.  Someone shared towards the end about how he moved his family from NY down to Cincinnati to do this job he felt God calling him to do.  I remember looking at the friends I attended the event with and saying, "Wow that's dedication.  I don't know if I could do that."  But somewhere deep in my heart I already "feared" that maybe I was called to do something similar.  I never thought that I would take on a new job that would lead me to where that person was working at!  Plus I never thought I'd make it back to the midwest...that WASN'T Chicago.  Talk about a JOURNEY to be enjoyed!

I've truly "enjoyed the journey" as much as I could.  There was a lot of uncertainty this year, but I made it a point to take it all in and be present.  I tried my best to really revel in each step and feel all the feels.  I gave up reign on my life and trusted God would guide me on the right path.  I know it's easier said than done, but this year was different.  I'm so grateful for every move I had to take, every extra step to the right direction.  And now on to the next.  It's been a good year and I learned a whole ton at 33.

This Advent, my theme was around knowing that "Hope does not disappoint" as my 2016 theme is "A promise fulfilled."  I don't know what that said "promise" is, but I know that God will let me know when it happens.  I will truly find my hope in the Lord and have faith that He will not disappoint.  I will continue to be present in each moment with each person I encounter.  I will try my best to continue enjoying this journey the Lord has brought me on.  I know there's a lot of work that needs to be done, but I must have that hope in the Lord and know I won't be disappointed.

I'm looking forward to a new year.  I'm so blessed for the past one I've just experienced.  I know I've heard many times, "I just want this year to be over," but be grateful no matter what happened.  Every year has it's hardships and we have to be thankful for what we've been given in order to really make the most on what's to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, friends.  My love and prayers are with you xo

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