Looking back Thankfully and Looking Forward Faithfully!

“We have this moment to hold in our hands2014-Sign
and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.”

So so true! Those are probably some of my favorite Bill Gaither lyrics. Each day of our lives is filled with moments that could be our last, I’m so thankful that the Lord gave me another entire year to live out, to grow in, to love more, to bless others. I’d have to say that, looking back, 2013 has been one of the best years thus far! I’ve grown as a person, a writer, a musician, and most importantly as a child of God. The Lord’s blessings on my life have been so overwhelming this year that it goes far  beyond a “Happy New Year!” Facebook status.

God has placed so many amazing people in my life, each helping me to grow, encourage me, and just love on me. I’m so thankful for my wonderful family, my church family, and my friends. Because of these beautiful people, I know there will always be someone there for me to turn to in times of trouble, to pray with me or for me, to share my joy with, just to do life with! Each of them means the world to me and I’m so thankful for their presence and involvement in my life, be it everyday or once a year. I wouldn’t be who I am without the impact they’ve had on my life.

2013 was not only filled with wonderful people, it was also overflowing with incredible inspiration and growth in my writing. If you would have told “senior in high school” me that four years from then I would be writing poems, for fun, I would have laughed at you. When the Lord hit me with that initial poem in August of 2012, I assumed that it was a one time only thing. Boy was I wrong! It was five months until He fed me the second one, but since then He’s handed me the inspiration and words for 30 more of them. I’m in awe everyday as He works through me. It’s an amazing feeling.

As much as I LOVE to write and the quiet time that comes with it, I love even more being able to play clarinet to bring glory to the name of Jesus. I’ve mentioned this in multiple posts, but it’s such a huge part of who I am, I can’t be thankful enough for the opportunity! Our church has been blessed with an incredible piano player, (whose CD is playing as I type actually!) she blows me away every week. Not only has our church been blessed with her wonderful music, I personally have been blessed with her  love of accompanying. Many Sunday mornings she’s come in to rehearse and told me how late she was up working on an arrangement, then hands me a beautifully printed and bound piece of music for us to begin working on that morning. Each time we get together to play, I grow in musicality and how I express myself through my playing. “It’s better to express than impress,” that’s what we live for. I’ve gained confidence in my playing and learned things that I would have never learned had I continued on my career path for music education. I’m right where the Lord wants me musically and I’m forever greatful that He’s put me here. I’m in awe of her abilities. Her and her husband are so sweet to me and I thank the good Lord EVERYDAY for the blessing they are in my life. Piano and Clarinet

Last but not least, 2013 was a year of incredible spiritual growth. I’ll be honest, I didn’t manage to read through the Bible in a year, but what I did read of it, has done so much work in my heart, my life, and in how I look at those around me and the situations life throws me. I’m taking my time to read through the Bible so I can have the time to listen to the Lord and soak up what He speaks to my heart.  I may not have spent my childhood in church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night, but I’m so thankful for the solid Christian upbringing I did have. My grandpa was a huge part of that and I really don’t know where I’d be today if he hadn’t been there to tell me Bible stories, teach me the life lessons he did, and show me the love of God from a young age. Now that he’s gone, and I’m at the age that I understand and explore God’s word for myself, everyday I find that I long for that guidance that I didn’t completely understand while he was with us. I want to have those deep conversations, to run my blog post topics by him and get his input.

I also wouldn’t be where I’m at in my walk with God if it weren’t for the two incredible men I get to call my pastors. I’m beyond thankful for their guidance, love, and encouragement. I know I can always turn to them when I doubt myself or need clarification. I’ve been blessed with the best!

Through the notes my grandpa left behind, his resources, and the guidance of the Lord, I pray that I can continue to grow in my relationship with my Heavenly Father and become a woman of God that my grandpa would be proud of and impact the lives of others with God’s love and message of hope and salvation through His word.

Thank you 2013 for being so good to me, I can hardly wait to see what the Lord has in store for me in the coming year! I pray that it’s used to bring even more glory to His name!

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

Papa Bible

Advertisements

Your Dream isn’t Necessarily God’s Reality!

A.W. Tozer

Sorry to break it to you ladies and gentlemen! Just because YOU have your heart set on a path for yourself, it doesn’t mean God is in agreement. But believe me, God’s plan for your life is so much better than anything you could ever imagine for yourself!

“But I want…” “Why can’t I…?” “Do I have to…?” The one that sticks with me is “I could NEVER do that! I’m not good enough.” or “I’m not qualified for that!” I’m not sure who’s credited with this quote, but it sticks with me… “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” If God only called the qualified, I’m pretty positive that NO ONE would be qualified enough to accomplish the tasks He has set out for each of us in His will for our lives. Without His grace, love, and guidance we really can’t do anything. Let me share how He’s been working in my life over the lsat few years and maybe you’ll see what I mean! 😉

When I started high school, I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do with my life after I graduated. There wasn’t one area of my life that I excelled at and could make a career out of. I was super quiet, got average grades, and at that point really just planned on taking a year off after high school to get my life figured out. Then, at band camp the summer before my sophomore year, something sparked inside of me and I decided that I wanted to make a career out of my music. So, I quickly started taking lessons, I was blessed with a teacher willing to push me farther than I thought I could go and keep up the momentum to make up for the lost time.

Three years of clarinet lessons, a crash course in music theory, some piano (HA! Definitely not a strength of mine…) and two years of choir later, I made it into my music program of choice. Through many auditions, recital performances, lessons, piano quizzes, I was a ball of nerves. (There’s a reason I wasn’t a performance major, my nervousness was it.) Long story short, I made it through the first semester, came home for Christmas break and ended up absolutely dreading going back.

HOMESICKNESS. DEPRESSION. STEESS. Basically I was an emotional mess! So when the end of the second semester FINALLY arrived, I went in to play my jury, (basically a huge final playing test that lets music majors move on to the next level of classes, if passed.) feeling pretty confident…

Scales.

Prepared piece.

SIGHTREADING.

Oh shoot, sightreading… another one of my weaknesses. (Ironically, I’m pretty good at it now. I have no idea how that happened…)

In the end I failed it, came home for the summer and decided that it just wasn’t in the cards to go back the following Fall.

Now, I had to figure out something else that I liked well enough to make it into a career. Easier said than done. I dabbled in photography, overpopulated field. Business Administration? Pretty flexible, but I’ve heard it’s like watching grass grow, so I’ll pass on that one too. Okay, now what?

You see, the Lord used this time to draw me closer to Him and really begin to work in in my life to help me become the woman I am (and am still working on becoming) today! He uses our rough patches, valleys, good days, and bad days to shape us into Godly men and women who reflect His love into the lives of others.

I thought the calling for my life was to be a middle school band director, now I look at my life now and then look back at that thought and laugh. Really hard. (No offense to all of you middle school band directors out there, you are superheroes, really!)

Where am I at now in life? Well, for now I feel drawn to a career in Christian counseling with a concentration in drug and alcohol abuse/addictions. I’ve found my place musically, playing clarinet at church with a beyond amazing piano player by my side, singing on praise team, and teaching clarinet lessons. I have a wonderful Monday through Friday job that allows me to stay as involved as I am with my amazing church, and I also just recently started teaching Sunday school. (That last one is a shocker even to me, never in a million years would I have seen that one coming! Thy will, not my will, right? 😉 ) I’m exactly where God wants me to be as He continues to work in me and through me and I’ve never been happier!

So, after all that, what am I trying to tell you?

Wait on God.

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

~Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

God’s way is better than your own.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

~Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

Trust Him completely with your life.

Never say never. (Although it holds a lot of truth, I cringe a little every time that phrase gets thrown around because of it’s affiliation with Justin Bieber… seriously.)

God works in mysterious ways, never doubt His faithfulness.

And hang in there, God knows what He’s doing, I promise!