2017 was a year of diving into the unknown.
I dove head first into student teaching back in January. I was unsure of myself and stressed a lot over planning the perfect lessons. I learned that kids love you no matter what and that lessons will never go as planned. Throughout the rest of the semester, I wrestled back and forth with God over Him sending me to Cambodia for 3 weeks. I eventually surrendered to His will and obeyed the call to go. And I am so glad I did. After graduating college and hugging my family goodbye, I hopped on a plane to fly to a small country I knew little about. I saw some gut-wrenching sights, heard stories of freedom and of fear, held little girls on my back, and left a piece of my heart on the streets of Svay Pak. After I returned to the States, I started searching for a job. I decided to randomly apply for a job in a new city – because what could it hurt? I got a call a few days later and interviewed with the principal. I toured the school and sensed God telling me that this is right where He needed me to be. So I packed up my room and moved to Winston-Salem. Thankfully, the Lord did not leave me to be lonely in a new place. He placed two college friends right next to me and I am forever thankful for their presence. I started teaching in August and I was in love with my class. I went to work everyday to see 18 beautifully diverse faces that reflect God’s kingdom. It wasn’t easy though. All the way through October were some of the shakiest moments of my life. I struggled to plan lessons, to be enough for my students, and to trust God to carry me. I ran away from His strong hands and tried to teach and live life on my own strength. If you’ve done that before, you know it results in darkness. I felt like I lost His light. But it was still burning dimly around me. In the form of the godly counsel I sought, in the form of family who checked in daily, and in the form of friends who pushed me back to Christ.
There are still days when it seems like the darkness is louder, but the last few weeks have been full of light. If I learned anything in 2017, it is that God is always working for our good. Even in the midst of confusion and pain, He is doing something. That something might not be seen in our lifetime, but it is producing a weight of glory for eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The unknown of a new year is scary for me and maybe some of you. I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know where I’ll be sitting next New Years Eve. What I do know is that the Lord is already there. He’s already planning how He is going to use broken people like us to proclaim His name. Isn’t it wonderful that He doesn’t need us – yet He chooses to use us anyway? He is already in 2018 preparing the paths we will walk down. Some of those paths may be full of joy and laughter and some of them may be full of tears and sorrow. But I am choosing to take comfort that He is already there to walk with me on each of those paths.
I’m sure the unknowns of 2018 may produce fear in my heart. But I do not want that fear to define who I am, and more importantly who my God is. My goal for the new year is simple. It is one word.
That’s all. I want to live everyday in complete surrender to the King of kings. I want to surrender my fears, my unknowns, my plans, my people… All to Him. It’s in surrender where we find freedom. Where we find rest and peace. And where we find ourselves itsy bitsy compared to our great God. I pray that 2018 is full of Christ and that we can find Him in each moment of our days.
Happy New Year friends!