1)I have survived living in my own home for an entire year.
This has been a crazy thing to learn. I have used a hammer, drill, wrenches, pliers, etc more times than I can count. Praise the Lord I had a father that let me tag along and watch him do this stuff. Despite learning how to fix a disposal, switch an outlet and replace a tub faucet thingy- the greatest lesson I learned from owning my own home was to ASK FOR HELP. Humbling.
2)I was able to see a baby being born.
If you have seen this miracle happen, you understand why it changes you. And how you look at every human being. The complete adoration I have when I look at this child is baffling. She has done nothing to please me, yet I am pleased in her existence. That's how Jesus loves us, and how He calls us to love others. Love them just because.
3. Sorry kitties, I am now a DOG person.
Welcome home, Polly Flinn. I picked this mini lady up in the Spring while working. After a crazy (and expensive) ordeal involving her permanently zombie-like eye ball, she is the perfect guard dog, and snuggle partner. She has stolen my heart. Which is good, because she has stolen...and CHEWED....every item in my home lower than four feet off the ground (such as my college graduation Bible.)
4)I have learned the reality that for every hopeless situation, God has an answer.
The picture for this one is solemn. It is from the memorial service of all of those who have lost their lives to the streets in Indianapolis this year. In the midst of hopelessness, we spoke of hope. I have walked right to the very edge of my bottom. To the place where I have thrown my hands up and said "I don't think I have an ounce left to pour out." My coworkers at Outreach, Inc. have walked with me through a year of seeing unbeliveable miracles in the lives of homeless youth, as well as many times of teary prayers where no answer seemed in sight. But God is good. His mercies really are new EVERY MORNING. And I am still in love with my job, and even more in love with Him.
no longer homesick less.
I am now a Hoosier. There. I said it. Indiana is my *home* now. I miss Pennsylvania so so much, and it will be years until I have the intimacy in friendship that I have with people back home, but this place has grabbed my heart. I am learning to love Indiana, and some days, I even delight in being here. Farmers, basketball, corn and all. Indiana's not too bad.
6)The internal work of discovering "humble confidence" is taking shape.
Yep. That's a shameless selfie. Ha! But in the sake of being transparent, I wanted to put down a comment about the work God has been doing within my heart. Wounds from past ministry had me living life under the assumption that "if my voice was really heard, it would be bad." God has been healing this deep down to its roots. God has done amazingly amazing work in me, and its ok to say that "I am worth hearing, and what I have to say is pretty awesome." This sounds cliche or like something you would read on a motivational poster, but I am worth hearing. And when I recieve compliments, it isn't arrogant to be thankful. Every compliment adds to the crowns I get to throw at Jesus' feet. Glory Glory! I am ok with gaining those :)
7)I have discovered my undercover farmer.
If God were to tell me "Stop doing urban ministry. Right now." I know what I would do. I would be a farmer. With veggies and herbs and fruit trees. Ohhh, and have I mentioned my chickens? My mind is clear and my heart is joyful when I am out in my yard tending to my 'fields' and gathering eggs. On the third day of creation God said "It is good" twice. And THAT is the day vegetables and plants were created. It makes sense that time in the garden is healing for the soul. Ohhh, but if I were to REALLY become a farmer, I dream of owning cows. Grass fed ones of course :)
8)I know the delight of "one man's trash is another's treasure."
I took the leap this year. Right into a dumpster. Several times actually. It seems there is a whole resource at our disposal we aren't tapping into. I dipped my toe into the world of dumpstering this year and its actually a blast. And free, AND you get free stuff at the end. Just be careful to inspect everything VERY closely.
9)The wanderlust inside of me is bigger than ever!
Before this year I have traveled to far and distant lands (Africa, Asia, Central America, the Middle East) and loved every bit of it. I didn't realize the amazing thing it is to travel within the US. Now that I have seen the west coast, I am more excited than ever to spend time and (less) money exploring the states in years to come! Grand Canyon anyone?
10)I have become a part of the best neighborhood (in the 317 at least)
This neighborhood. It's so fun. My friends are here. The next door neighbor watches out for me. The children chase my chickens around and help in my garden. It's such a blessing to be here! Sure, it's not going to win any awards for "Best Place to Live in the US" any time soon (just wait...that time will come!), but it's home. And I love knowing the people that live around me. There's so great...and there is never a dull moment!
11)Every day I understand how much bigger Jesus is than my attempts to 'fix things'
It is almost laughable when I work so hard at my 'job'. It's always the moments when I am without an answer or 'getting out of the way' on purpose that God shows up and miracles happen. These are the moments when my voice doesn't break the walls down in someone's heart, but the Spirit does it...because really, He's the only one Who can. And I am learning how to shush and watch Him do it daily.
12)I have seen a dream given to me by God made real.
Four years ago, I don't know if I could firmly say "I believe God still gives prophetic words." But even then I heard one. God told me to stop teaching, and that He would give me a job in full time urban ministry. In the states. In faith (and with a considerable amount of fear) I stepped out. It's a beautiful thing to walk in the fulfillment of a delightful dream God has given you. Realized, after four years of frustration...this dream of urban ministry has been a joy each and every day. My God is good, and His love for me is as real as why my alarm goes off every morning and I get up to live out worship to Him. It's a rare gift, and I find delight in the Father Who gave it to me.
13)I am more confident that God is going to do things beyond my wildest dreams.
This year has provided me with reason after reason to know that God is real, He loves me...and He is ready to blow up my life for the kingdom, and for my own joy. I'm so excited to see what 2014 brings!!!