I thought it might be a little early to write this post...I wanted to wait until New Year's Eve. But as I sat down with my big cup of coffee, my Bible, and a journal this morning, it was so amazing to me the many ways God has been at work this year. And I'm so glad He isn't finished yet.
It's not that I think God has been more present this year than in any others. I do think, though, that He works in different ways all the time, constantly challenging us to keep our faith strong, seek Him, and trust His will every day. And I think that at different times in our lives, we are more ready and willing to seek Him 100% and reflect on how He has been present, while other times, we choose to "coast" along. I so wish I were a 100% of the time person...but I don't believe any of us are. Only Jesus and His example is 100%, and that is where His amazing love, grace, and mercy fall into place...replacing the pieces we are missing. Isn't it amazing, that our God is a living God, and He goes with us and before us in all we do?! I will never fully understand that while I'm here on Earth, but then, I'm not supposed to. Having faith means trusting in God with our whole heart, even when we don't see or understand.
So - as I look back over this year, month by month, it is almost impossible for me to count all the times I have experienced God's presence. I look at how last year I had just started my blog and only had 10 posts at this time, and this year...I have 105, now 106! I am truly thankful for the ways I have grown and been challenged this year, and am still being challenged as I look forward to 2011. I don't want it to be that I simply look back then move on. My heart's desire is to start where God has brought me to now, and keep building. To stand on that firm foundation and allow Him to stretch me even more. To leave the zone that has now become "comfortable," and step into the unknown.
Just reading and looking back at all my posts from 2010, it is exciting to me to see all that has happened this year. I made a list, thinking about each month...but trying to keep it just that - a list, to help me see as many things as possible . In my mind, I can expand on each one, and by reading over my posts from the year, you can definitely see the more detailed version of many of these things!
January - Returning from a mission trip to Mexico, a fresh start to school in the middle of my second year, MMEA conference, enjoying the snow (sometimes! ha), Wrote and submitted grant to AOSA for world drums to use in classroom next year - (submitted by express mail due to waiting 'til the last minute deadline - this is frequently how I work, and seem to do best this way...lol...)
February - The. longest. month. ever., discouragement at work and just in general, Signed up for Weight Watchers at Work group (a great decision!)
March - Spring Break, Visit with my Aunt JaNelle in St. Louis area, Conversation with the parents of a good friend in college (led my heart to begin thinking about the JM application again!), Weekend in Springfield with my sister, Decision to submit part one (basic interest/info form) of JM application - unsure of what the timeline was (would I have to leave my job before the next year?), Received and submitted part two of the application (a little more in-depth than part one)
April - School was still a little hard (feeling burnt out for some reason), Notification that I received the AOSA grant - (new world drums for next year's classroom! Wonderful news!!), Waiting for part three of the application to come, Phone call from IMB (conversation about some basic concerns with part two of the application, but they could all be taken care of and they would soon be sending part three! - now had a timeline - would not leave my teaching job until after the next year), Visit to Arkadelphia, Informed by principal and superintendent that our school would be closed after May, Waiting for an answer about where I would be next year - (no music jobs open at the time), Courage from the Lord to share something on my heart and have peace about it, Invited to join the praise team at church and began singing in the contemporary services
May - Still waiting for my job assignment, 25th birthday coming - (decided to celebrate every day in some way!), Somewhat started the third part of the app - still feeling a little intimidated by it and hoping to finish over the summer), Packing up my classroom at school, Decided to move home for the next year, Last programs of the year (and possibly for a long time! - it was getting a little harder to think about leaving music, each day), New job assignment! - (Guitar?! and...High School?! Ummm....ok....), School ended, Summer vacation!, Reunion with Swiharts (passing through town - what a blessing!), Memorial Day Weekend with friends in Branson, 25th Birthday!!
June - First summer completely off...ever! (Since I've been old enough to work!), Phone call from HR - new job! (K-6 music at Wood - the other teacher wanted to go to the high school!) Traveled to Salina, KS to visit my sister, First visit to my new classroom/chance to meet new principal, Traveled to Arkansas for a reunion with college friends, Worked at Arms Around Arkadelphia with my college church there, Whole Brain Teaching Conference - (and camping adventure!), Moved home
July - Orff-Schulwerk training with awesome friends and music teachers at UCA, More weekend visits to Arkadelphia, Weekend visit to HS Village to attend church with the Swiharts, VBS - (taught missions to the K-1 kiddos and LOVED it!), completed the "Beliefs" section of part three of the application, completed the rest of the application at the very end of the month! - (Testimony/calling to missions, auto-biography (8-10 pages long...mine was 10 of course!), Health questionnaire (soooo many questions! ha)) all through God's help, words, and presence!, Began the long waiting process after finishing the application...December was far away!, First week of "cleaning/organizing" the new classroom!, My parents decided to retire in HS Village in the next couple of years and bought a small town home there - (super exciting because of all the connections with people there and chances to visit Arkansas more often/kind of weird to one day have no more St.J connections...)
August - Presented at the Springfield Orff workshop!, Started teaching Bible Study/Missions to grades 3-4 on Wednesday nights at Team Kid, New school year/new job/more kids/classes than ever/overwhelming peace about where I was at/now commuting/relying on God EVERY day for strength/counting the days 'til Labor Day/did you get all that? ha
September - Labor Day Break! (fun at HSVillage), Lots of challenges/tears about work, Starting a budget, Fun with a friend from college stomping grapes at the Fall Festival!, A friend interviewed me for the local newspaper, I'm sure there was more this month than I can remember to list here...
October - Survived one quarter at the new job/many challenges, Completed health requirements for application - (now waiting on official clearance so my app could be fully considered), Visit from my sister in Kansas/lots of good family weekend time!, Homecoming at OBU and another visit to Arkadelphia, -27lbs at WW (unfortunately I gained a little back and am working to get back to that point again, but I'm close! ha)
November - Lots of time off from school - Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, and conferences/meetings, First program of the year - (fourth grade and so much fun!), Getting the sound system at school all hooked up for the program (And actually having sound! Plus doing it on my own! - rejoicing in the small things!), New Semi-Criminal Record (See post about the boot on my car! haha), Family time for the holiday
December - Another music program (so proud of third grade!), First day I looked forward to school for most of the year, Tacky sweater fun (oh wait - I still have to post pictures from that!), Paid off my credit card - (without using it at all over the past few months...hooray!), Official Health Clearance - (now just waiting for a letter about the interview conference...), Christmas decorating, Snow, More waiting for JM news - (it's getting harder to go to the mailbox every day!), Lazy days off, Family time, Christmas, Giving something fully to the Lord and thanking Him for the continued peace about it - (I think I've finally let my heart hand it over to Him!), Visiting Mom Chu from OBU, Blogging, Too much candy - (Umm, ok, so the candy was not God's work...haha)
Whew - it feels like a whirlwind just listing all that...and I know I left some things out/forgot some things. Some of those things weren't necessarily all ways that "God worked," but He was present through joy, peace, contentment, and provision. All of the things in my life should be to glorify Him.
I pray that in 2011, I will continue to seek Him, especially in those "everyday" things...to God alone be the glory!
Thanks for following me this year through my blog! I pray God will open your eyes to the many ways He has been present through 2010 and will continue to challenge you to grow in His presence in 2011!