Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: The Year of Grace

Well, here we are. It seems the end of the year arrives way too quickly, and I find myself sitting in front of my laptop again in my dining room, with a blank look. 

I'm waiting for the right words to come to mind, that could somehow summarize all of the events that have happened in the entirety of 365 days. 

While many try to only highlight the most amazing things and erase the not so good that has happened... I'm choosing to see how the not so good things played a really important role in how it has strengthened me and my relationship with God. 
Truthfully, 2018 you were a year full of leaps and really hard trials. 

And as a result of those leaps and trials, many tears--- both of joy and sadness were shed.

Now that I think about it, there's one thing that I kept praying to God. I told Him, 'God I'm choosing to trust You, whatever comes... let it be what You want, for my good and Your glory.' 

// And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. // Romans 8:28

When I couldn't wrap my brain around why certain situations were happening in my life, why things were going a certain way... I remembered what I had said.

Through my tears of confusion...  the enemy was always there to remind me that if God loved me, this wouldn't have happened. 

And that's when I reminded him, that God's grace is sufficient for me. That when I vowed to follow Jesus for the rest of my life, I vowed that whatever may come my way and that God would allow... I would stick by Him no matter what. 

// But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. // 2 Corinthians 12:9

I reminded him that I knew, even if I didn't understand it right now, what he had intended to break me... God would use even that for my good. 

// But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. // Genesis 50:20

I was baptized this year and finally let go of that fear of proclaiming I will follow Jesus for the rest of my life. 

We began a girls bible study group: The Truth Tribe, and I have continued to grow in God's Word. Our friendship and honest talks with one another continues to lift me up. It reminds me how much we need each other and that we're never alone.    

I got to be part of one of my childhood friend's wedding. It was a reminder of how beautiful it is to grow together in life's many seasons. 

I've had the opportunity to meet and photograph beautiful people and their families. 

And I've learned that it takes real grit to stand up for what you believe in in this life... even when it means that most of the world is running the opposite direction.

But the most valuable thing I can say I've learned is this: Forgive

It's really hard to understand why people (including ourselves) do the things we do... but we need to learn to forgive and let go in spite of it all. 

We need to love when it's really hard to love. 

We need to pray when the feeling isn't there. Because we truly underestimate the power of prayer. God has shown me that this year. 

Prayer and love cuts through the hardest of hearts. 

We need to remember we're not each other's enemies. When we can truly learn to forgive, that's when things will begin to change in our lives. I believe more than anything God can do that for anyone that has a willing heart. 

I'm so grateful for the friendships I've made this year, the people that continue to love me and lift me up, the clients who continue to entrust me with their beautiful memories, and for the opportunities of growth I've had. 

Finally, thank you for taking the time to read these words. I pray they bring you hope and more than anything point you to Jesus, the One who continues to love us more than we deserve. 

In 2019, may we be braver than we think we are. 

May we speak for the Truth. 

May we have the courage to follow what's right, and may we love and forgive more than we'd ever thought we were capable of.

Here's to another year full of joy, overcoming, grit, grace, surprises, love, and moments that help us realize we are here for a purpose. 

Happy New Year!!!

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