Well, it’s that time again. Yet another year has come and gone. I know, it’s hard to believe a year has gone by. Nevertheless, following my tradition, I’ve chosen one word to summarize what the Lord has been teaching me throughout the year. (Here’s a recap: 2013: Faithful, 2014: Trust, 2015: Surrender).
But this year I decided to switch it up a bit. I want y’all to really understand why I chose this word. So I’m giving you a glimpse into my quiet time journal from this past year. And obviously, I haven’t typed up every journal entry, I’m just sharing the main ideas I found while reading through.
So here goes.
“We shall all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus on the point He has asked us to yield to Him.” -Oswald Chambers. This year, I want to be filled to the measure of the fullness of God. By no means do I want to be left sinking in shame because of a heart refusing to yield to God. My prayer is that I will walk in the Light, following wherever He leads, trusting in His faithfulness, while constantly surrendering my heart and desires into His hands. So fill me up, God. Fill me up. // January 1
I’m not supposed to press on alone. God goes with me. He doesn’t call us to do things that can be done without Him. //January 11
“Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). I am trusting. I am believing. I am resisting the enemy. By the power of the Holy Spirit within me, I am saying no to fear. I am welcoming God’s Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline in my life. // February 1
On this beautiful Sunday, my focus has been on freedom. Freedom from sin. Freedom from burdens. Freedom from weariness. Freedom from the enemy. I find God constantly reminding me that I am no longer a slave, I am set free. Because God gives me His Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline, I am not a slave to fear. Because I hope in the Lord, my strength is renewed, setting me free from weariness. And because Christ came and died on the cross and rose again, I am no longer a slave to sin, to death, or to the enemy. How great is our God! // March 13
Well, I graduated yesterday, turned my tassel, grasped my diploma, and stepped outside the doors of the school I’ve attended since 6th grade. It’s so strange to think that those hallways won’t be the ones leading me to my classes and friends anymore. I’ve heard it said that it all stops here, that it’s finished. But I’m having a hard time believing that statement. I don’t believe these chapters are mean’t to be forgotten. These chapters are mean’t to be used for moments of inspiration and thanksgiving. They may be closing, but one day they will be opened. They will be read. They will remind me of God’s faithfulness. They will remind me of the love God lavishes upon me throughout every moment in my past, present, and future. I will read these chapters and re-read these chapters. I will remember them because I choose to remember the goodness of the Lord. Yes, I will grow and change. Yet I will not forget these moments for they were a part of God’s plan for me. // May 1
“Truth I need: My imperfections are safely resting in the reality of God’s perfection” (Lysa TerKeurst). For the past few weeks, I have felt inadequate. I’ve distanced myself from my Savior and listened to the lies of the enemy. But I’m surrendering my imperfections and inadequacies into the hands of the Savior of my soul. I acknowledge my imperfection but rest knowing that He is perfection. I acknowledge that a part from Him, I am inadequate. Yet in Him, I can do all things. // May 19
God has given me a new identity. I’m not perfect. My aim is not to be perfect, it is to use my every breath, every word, and my every action in every moment to point people to my beloved Savior. My confidence is not in myself or even in the people surrounding me and loving me. My confidence is found in Christ alone, the One who is working all things together for my good. // June 12
The volume of God’s communication is not dependent upon my ability to hear it. He communicates in various ways at various moments – pillars of fire, promising rainbows, thundering earthquakes, numerous people, and soft, gentle whispers. His presence surrounds us. He never leaves us. We need to learn to keep our eyes fixed upon Him, to tune our ears to hear those gentle whispers. Where we are in our lives has nothing to do with who He is. We can’t only listen for His voice when we are at peace. We listen always, in life’s every moment. We learn to see Him in every open door and in every closed door. And as a result, we are changed. // June 20
This week wasn’t what I expected because God tends to show up in areas where I least expect Him. Sometimes I find it a little too easy to allow distractions and exhaustion to weary my soul, but God has shown me this week that even when I get too caught up in life, even when I can barely find enough quiet time to read one chapter in His Word, and even when I fall asleep during a pray at the end of the day, His presence never leaves me. His plans never cease to exist. He continues to work all things together for the good of those who love Him. He rids me of my pride and humbles me in order to use me to speak life over the people around me. This week, He gave me energy when I felt empty. He placed a rainbow in the sky, reminding me of His faithfulness. He took me to the tops of the trees, leaving me in awe and peace as I glided across the zip line. He answered prayers. He overcame my fears. He brought unity among the body of Christ. Thank You, Jesus. // July 10-15 (Mission Trip).
“Always let Him lead you and He will clear the road for you to follow” (Proverbs 3:5-6 CEV). As I sat down to have some time in God’s presence tonight, I read these words and realized my recent faults. I’ve been attempting to shape my own future. I’ve been trying to control everything. But no more. By the power of the Holy Spirit within me I surrender and press on. If there is one thing I’ve learned this past week during disappointment it’s this: never set your heart on anything but Jesus. I allowed myself to slip away from seeking the Lord and instead set my heart on one possible outcome. But no more. I press on in Jesus, trusting that His plans are far better than my own. I will let Him lead me as He clears the road for me to follow. // July 23
I have a feeling my mom and I just made our final trip to my future home (aka college) before I move in next month. I couldn’t help but feel emotional on our way back home because next time, I won’t be in the van riding back with my family. But I find strength in God, knowing He has plans to work everything together for my good. I was able to walk across campus in the calmness of the summer and as I took in deep breaths, I could feel the presence of the Lord calling this place my home. // July 27
Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord. // August 12
Today, I am abundantly thankful for the unwavering character of the Lord. When everything around me – all that I’ve ever known – is changing, I find my resting place, my firm foundation, in Christ alone. // August 15
Remember the faithfulness of the Lord. Always. This weekend has been an emotionally draining weekend. I woke up this morning missing home and all I wanted was to be with my family, where I have always found comfort. But God saw my heart and took a hold of me. He kept reminding me that He is the One who called me here. He has a purpose and His plans are good. // August 27 (college move-in)
I am thankful. I’m thankful for God’s sovereignty over everything, especially me. I’m thankful for the class I was dreading, for the dorm I didn’t want, and for the beautiful walk I’ve complained about. I’m thankful I have a family to get homesick for; a family that loves me and gives me a reason to miss home. I’m thankful for my roommate and our daily prayers, for where two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name, there He is, in the midst of them. I’m thankful for old and new friends. I’m thankful for growth and for my university. I’m thankful God placed me here. And I’m thankful for Jesus, so rich in love, mercy, grace, and peace. // August 29
I am thankful for a God who sees me. I am thankful that by Him, I am fully known. I am thankful that He fights for His people, sometimes all I need to do is be still and know that He is God. I am thankful that He has not given me a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love, and self discipline. I am thankful my fears vanish in God’s perfect Love. // September 5
“The devil has got no more power over your life than you give him. No failure is fatal. No ending is final. No mistake is unredeemable. No person is unreachable” (Brian Houston). Wednesday night was filled with God’s presence. Hands too numerous to count were lifted in worship. Voices were raised. Prayers were on the lips of so many within the congregation. God’s presence was filling the room. He was and is nearer than I can imagine. // September 9
As I sit here in these last few moments of being an eighteen year-old, I find myself reflecting on the goodness of the Lord. My God has been so incredibly faithful throughout my almost nineteen years of living. He has and continues to draw me close to Himself. He has and continues to mold my heart after His own. He has been my firm foundation, never leaving my side. He was the one with me in every challenge and in every joy. He has been my Strong Tower, my Refuse, my Shield, my Protector, my Comforter, my Redeemer, my Savior, and my Prince of Peace. He is infinitely greater than all this world has to offer. He is more than enough. // October 21
“In the quiet, in the stillness, I know You are God” (Hillsong). Wow, recently I’ve forgotten how mighty God’s voice is during quiet moments. I’ve tried voicing my heart so loudly that I’ve forgotten to stop and be still in His presence. Yet He knows what I need before I even ask and He knows my words before they form on my lips. Forgive me, Lord, for not dwelling in the moments of stillness You’ve given me. Forgive me for avoiding the quiet and teach me to be still. Thank You for giving rest to my soul tonight. // November 11
I find myself constantly in need of God’s grace. I need Him when the sun rises in the morning and when it sets in the evening. I need Him when I lie awake in the middle of the night because my mind resists the rest and peace that is already mine in Christ Jesus. I need Him when I feel alone and when I’m ready to drop everything and give up. I need Him when everything is running smoothly. I need Him always. If there is anything I’ve learned during a year of constant changes and shifting seasons it is that I am in need of Him and He is all I need. He’s bigger than my fears, bigger than my failures, bigger than my regrets, and bigger than my successes. He is better than anything I could ever desire or dream up. He is stronger. His ways are higher. His understanding has no limit. He is able to do immeasurably more than my mind can even comprehend. And oh how great it is to belong to Him and praise His name for all my days. // November 13
It’s all about Jesus. This semester God has taught me how to live independently while depending on Him. He has drowned my numerous fears in perfect Love. He has loved me with an everlasting love despite my sinfulness and selfishness. I went into the semester with expectations, but I praise God that His ways are higher than my expectations. And I thank God that He doesn’t look at the things man looks at. God sees our hearts. So Lord, continue to remove from me my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh – a heart to love You and earnestly seek You with. I am Yours. // December 9
And there you have it. 2016. A year of constant changes, new adventures, and tremendous growth. I praise God for every step along the way.
As you can see, this year I continually found God washing away my fears by teaching me to dwell in His presence, to embrace His peace that transcends all understanding, to trust in His good plans for me, and to find my strength in His unending supply of joy.
I actually chose my word for the year way back in February when I found myself worshipping God with new friends in a new place 9 hours away from home. And then God continued to place this word in my life as I chose a college, graduated high school, and experienced continuous change. This word followed me as I moved to a new state, as I persevered through my first college classes, as I made new friends, and as I learned to depend on Him independently. Over and over again, I found God whispering into my heart,
“Perfect love drives out fear.”
“I am able to do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine.”
“I have not given you a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.”
“I am all you need.”
So as the sun sets on 2016, I praise God for yet another year of living and I pray for tremendous spiritual growth among Believers in 2017. God’s perfect love drives out fear. He has given us His Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. Fearlessly go wherever He leads. He will be with you, always.