January. The close of an old year and the beginning of a new one. January is always a time for reflection, regrets and resolutions.
If I were to describe the state of my heart with one word for each month of 2014, these are the words I would choose:
January – pain; February – emptiness; March – crying; April – darkness; May – hardening; June – cold-heartedness; July – brokenness; August – softening; September – relief; October – forgiveness; November – healing; December – hope.
These past 12 months included a season of heart wrenching turmoil, a season of distant coldness, and a season of healing through tears.
God is good. God is merciful. God is Love.
After leaving a legalistic lifestyle and mindset, the freedom I feel is parallel to that of a caged bird being let out and allowed to spread her wings for the first time. To experience the breeze flit through her feathers, to enjoy the sun shining on her eye lids and beak, to soar through the air because God created her to do so. She is free.
I am now free to be myself. I am now free to be who God created me to be. I am now free to live. Free to love.
God is great. God is gracious. God is Love.
In the fall I enrolled in 15 credits of math and science classes through Pima Community College. My goal is to become a teacher in the math and science department. I finished the semester at the top of my chemistry class and was asked by my teacher to tutor chemistry at my school next semester. I am humbled by the opportunities God has given me to finally develop the talents He has given me.
One of my fellow students in my math class was this handsome brother of mine.
My sister and I moved out in the middle of October. We have our own apartment in the middle of town and are loving it. We feel we are in the perfect location; closer to our schools and jobs. We have immensely enjoyed having our own place to host parties, movie nights and game nights for our friends.
Moving out has been an amazing growing experience for both Lydia and I. Our friendship has grown closer and deeper. This season in our life is sweet and precious and we are cherishing every minute we have together. We feel incredibly blessed by God to be expanding our horizons together. Maturing and developing our talents together. And healing together.
We love having our parents and siblings over at our place for movie nights, girl talk with mom, minecraft with the brothers, and sleep overs with little sisters. And it’s also fun to go “back home” to spend the afternoon with our family.
Our new social group is made up of young people from many different churches around town. The main activity we enjoy together is country two-step dancing. We go to Denim & Diamonds twice a week to dance for hours into the evening. Lydia and I have been touched by the loving kindness we have been shown by this dancing group, now our close friends.
Exciting news! this past fall has found Lydia and I both in relationships.
Lydia and Bob:
Jake and Abbey:
My little sister loves him already. Yeah, I’m actually a little jealous of the attention he gives her 🙂
One year ago my family left a community of people who would judge me and think I have gone off the deep end for doing almost everything I named or pictured in this blog post: for wearing short jean shorts, for going to a non christian college, brothers with shaggy long hair, for having a boyfriend, for partying late into the night (even withOUT beer, by the way!), watching movies, playing computer games, and for dancing in a bar.
You know who you are, go ahead and judge. But know this:
I have been set free. I am free to live. Free to love. Free to love like Christ.
All those added extras do not make a person one bit more a better person, or more spiritual. Having shed the spoken and unspoken man-made rules, I am now free to enjoy Jesus and share His love with the people around me.
Jesus plus nothing.
My heart is free. No chains on me.
The song “Blessings” by Laura Story has helped me get through the darkest parts of this year. These are my favorite lines of the song:
Cause what if Your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home
I am ready to watch the sunrise on 2015