2013: A Year In Review

2013. I didn’t know that one year could be so full of life and change. As I look back on all that happened this past year, I find myself surprised. This year has been so life changing. Here are 13 things that happened in my life in 2013:

1. My family went on our best vacation yet. Only four more years until the next family cruise.

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2. I decided to change my major. Education majors are overrated, right?

3. I quit my full-time job to go to school full-time instead of part-time. Finally!

4. I was able to baptize 3 students from my church. Seriously, such an honor!

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5. My good friend got married! Bridesmaid swag.

6. My brother-in-law came home from Afghanistan. Reunions are beautiful.

7. I decided to start a blog! It has been so rewarding.

8. I turned 21. Old maid status.

9. My work was published in a book! Probably the most exciting thing that happened this year.

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10. I ran my first 5k with my family. Blood, sweat, tears, and horrible running times. We all got better though!

11. I watched the most precious little boy for 3 months full of dirty diapers, spilled baking powder, and so much joy.

12. I spent hours and hours laughing until I cried with my two best friends. They bless my heart and challenge me so.

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00313. I learned that God has a way of doing things that is much better than my own.

This year has been surprising in so many ways. At the beginning of the year, I had no idea I would be where I am now. This year I learned that I can make as many plans as I want to, but God’s will prevail. And not only will His plans actually come to be, but His are so much better than mine.

As I’m sure everyone can say, there have been some good times, and there have been some not-so-good times. But through it all, I know that God was present and working through it all.

I wonder though, what does next year hold? This year has been full of transitions and changes, will next year settle everything, or will I be as uncertain as I am now? As far as uncertainty goes, I think its a good thing for me. Being uncertain keeps me searching, it keeps me from getting into a rut, and it keeps me dependent on God to show me what is next.

Everyone always says that life is an adventure, after 2013 I think I believe them. As for 2014, I can only wait and see. I do know a few things about 2014 though. I know that no matter what happens, God is already there and is able to do far more with it than I can do myself.

I have a feeling though, that 2014 will be my best year yet.

So here is to the new beginnings that come with a new year. May we take advantage of the time we have and do all the things we wish we had done last year. May we live our lives without fear of what is to come because we know the One who holds all.

Happy New Year, friends.

image (1)As I have probably mentioned before, Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite book. I read it for the first time when I was probably nine or ten, and fell in love with the story. As I grew up, I learned to appreciate the writing style of Jane Austen, the history behind her life, the sarcasm in her words, and what the story says about Austen’s opinion of love and being human.

The first line of Pride and Prejudice is as follows: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”  I mean do you feel the sarcasm? Oh, I love it. The idea of a truth universally acknowledged got me thinking, what are some things that can be something we all see as truth?

Is there any truth that can be referred to as universally acknowledged? In this day and age, everyone has their own opinions on what is true or false, right or wrong. How do we find a truth that is truer than any other?

Being a college student, my classes are full of young people with opinions. College seems to be the place where all of those opinions are not only tolerated, but appreciated and encouraged. It can be hard at times to believe in what you know to be true when the opinions of others can make more sense. There are many college students who lose their faith because of the opinions of others. When their faith is questioned with logical thinking, it can be hard to defend what they think is true. So how do we find this truth?

The only place we can go to find the absolute truth is the Bible. In it are the very Words of God, and God cannot lie. We can know then, that everything in the Bible has to be true. It may not all make sense, but it is the only source of pure truth.

In my college experience, I have learned that everything that is said needs to be placed through a truth filter. If I can put what others say is truth through the filter of the Bible, I can be confident in my decision to believe it or not. There have been many times that something has been said in a college lecture that I didn’t agree with. I had to put those statements through my truth filter and see what the Bible had to say about them.

One thing I have learned about using the Bible as a truth filter is that you can’t use it as one unless you know it. Memorizing scripture is the best way to learn what the Bible says about certain situations in life. The more you know about what God has to say, the easier it is to be confident in your faith.

I know that the Bible is not a universally acknowledged source of truth, but one day it will be. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 14:11). One day, the Bible will be a truth universally acknowledged. I can only hope that Jane Austen stands in Heaven that day and whispers,”That phrase? My idea.”

Love Never Fails

As I conclude my little journey through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, I find myself thoughtful. I have realized a lot about myself and how I respond to others in my life by really thinking about what this passage means. I am also starting to understand that I will never know everything there is to know about the Bible. And I sort of prefer it that way. If there was ending to the knowledge and understanding of the Word of God, that would mean there would be a point in time when someone knew it all. And no human can fully comprehend somethig as big as the Bible. All we can do is prayerfully enjoy its promises and obey its commands. We will finish off this journey with one of the most comforting phrases in the Bible.

“Love never fails.”

Most of you can hear this verse and think about the last wedding you went to. You can recall the mother of the bride wiping her eyes as her daughter walks up the aisle, you can remember the joy of the day. Maybe you remember thinking something along the lines of, They are so young! or, They don’t know how hard married life can be.  I know that the last time I heard this passage at a wedding my response was something along the lines of, Love never fails? I guess I won’t be getting married! What I have to remember though, is that I am not love. I can, at times, be all the different things that love is, but I cannot on this earth be love. Only Jesus can. With this understanding can come a sense of relief. I don’t have to be all things at all times. I can’t be all things at all times. And thats okay. All I can do is try my best to be more like Jesus, the one you never fails.

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling twenty-two!, but I am more than glad that Jesus never fails me. I know I have failed Him so many times, and will fail Him again. But even then, He loves me. The Bible says that even when we were sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Even when we were enemies, Jesus loved us. The Scriptures also say that when we are faithless, He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). My relationship with God is in no way dependent on what I do today. Even when I mess up, God never fails me. While this doesn’t give me an excuse to sin  (Romans 3:4), it does give me a reason to believe that I can go on after I do.

Knowing that love never fails fills me with such satisfaction. Jesus loves me! He will never fail me. He is always there for me, comforting and challenging me. As this little journey ends, I hope that you’ve learned a little something about yourself, but mostly I hope that you are reminded of how much Jesus is for us. He is love, and loves us in spite of us. Live in the freedom that comes with His love.

Always

I know that this journey has taken quite some time to get through, but I honestly think that slower is better in this instance. I have breezed through this passage hundreds of times in my Christian life, it was time to really sit and reflect on it. Let’s talk about this verse here:

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

Always.

Human nature is not about always. We are constantly changing our minds. We are not very good at consistency. Because of this I can say with certainty that we will not be always protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering. We are only human. We fight, doubt, wonder, and give up.

My mom told me all growing up to not use the words, “always” and “never”. Because chances are, they aren’t true. We will not always protect, trust, hope, and persevere. But that doesn’t mean we never will. I don’t want us to be discouraged with all that love is. Love is a lot of things, all the time. I know that I have failed the love test, and will fail it again. The good news is that Jesus, the Perfect One, is all of these things, all the time. 

God is love. He is love always. This should be the most encouraging thing to us. In looking at this passage, I can see how much I am not when it comes to love. I have to remember that God is all of these things, and He is all of them for me.

Have you failed the love test? If so, don’t be disheartened. God loves you always.