I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
Compassion lavished, love extravagant.
He said, “Without question these are my people,
children who would never betray me.”
So he became their Savior.
In all their troubles, he was troubled, too.
He didn’t send someone else to help them.
He did it himself, in person.
Out of his own love and pity he redeemed them.
He rescued them and carried them along
for a long, long time.
The above passage is from Isaiah 63:7-9 (The Message). This past Sunday, we attended church with our grandparents in Raleigh, and the pastor spoke on these verses. He admonished us to remember and recount God’s faithfulness, for we become what we remember. Inspired, I have decided to make a list of some of the exciting memories from 2013. I usually do this in my journal every year, but now I have a blog so I can share it with you all. Bear with me, this could be a long post! 🙂
A Year of Firsts…
– First official college visits
– First time taking the SATs
– First time taking two AP classes and exams
– First internship (Ken Cuccinelli for Governor)
– First time going to South America (Costa Rica in July)
– First time surfing
– First time caving
– First time going to Africa (Liberia in November)
Random Favorite Moments of 2013
Spending my 17th birthday (on a bitterly cold night) going out to eat in Shirlington and attending Alvin Ailey at the Kennedy Center with three of my bestest friends!
Dancing the night away during the Father-Daughter Dance at my home church, BCC. My dad is an excellent dancer (no, he did not pay me to say that) and it is so freeing to dance surrounded by little girls.
Dancing with my family at my cousin’s wedding in May, and eating yummy barbecue at the pig roast that followed. I love outdoor weddings! 🙂
Going go-cart racing with my family (another “first”). I was actually scared but ended up loving it.
Spending two weeks at the beach in August – the crunch of the sand under my feet, the rush of the ocean over my body, and the blaze of the sun on my skin.
Staying up until early in the morning, reading Christian pick-up lines aloud, and laughing ’til our sides hurt with friends from dance.
God’s Faithfulness in 2013
This was a year of God teaching me about His faithfulness. I am learning to trust that His plan is best and to believe that He is truly in control. There are so many instances where I clearly saw God’s faithfulness this past year, but I chose two specific stories for this blog post.
During the last school year, a group of juniors and seniors composed the leadership team and planned a spring dance concert called “Unbound”. We designed a program that focused on how God sets us free from our chains of sin and gives us a new identity–free. For the first year, a dream of mine came true and Children of the Light was able to dance at my home church. I felt a lot of pressure, because it was my church. I was also feeling disappointed, because I was unable to book the Worship Center and we ended up on the shaky student auditorium stage. But God was faithful. More people showed up than any other performance; it was standing room only. All of the dances and testimonies went smoothly, and the audience responded to the alter call. Even though I was discouraged, God was working to change lives that night!
Last winter I had to make a decision whether to attend a missions trip to Costa Rica with my church youth group. In my journal I wrote that I was conflicted for three reasons: “1) The financial aspect, because I also have the opportunity to go to Liberia in the November. 2) I don’t know many of the youth well or I am not comfortable around most. 3) Should I go my junior or senior year?” Looking back, God took care of each of my concerns. First, my parents offered to pay my way to Costa Rica instead of going to a summer camp, so I could go to both Costa Rica and Liberia. Second, during the trip to Costa Rica, I grew much closer to all of the youth on the team. I was able to see the heart of many of the teens, and I found myself “falling in love” with my youth group again. There was a unity between the team that I had not expected. Third, I found out that our youth group would not be making a trip back to Costa Rica this summer. If I had waited until my senior year, I would have missed the opportunity. God heard each of my fears and was faithful to calm each one.
2013 was a challenging year, but it was also one of my favorite years yet. I grew academically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. God was with me each step of the way, and I am so grateful for His blessings. I look forward to seeing His plan for 2014!
– – Phebe