I am convinced that if you will wait for the Lord's timing and the Lord's provision, you will experience the truth that "God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Gerard Long in "Awakening to God")
Oh, how chilling it was to read these words, among pages of my own journaling, during the first month of the year! I began 2016 seeking God more than ever before through a 21-day social media fast, which quickly transformed into a month long break. Never before have I experienced what I experienced during that month. God did some crazy amazing things: answering prayers, revealing over and over the same messages and Scriptures, drawing me closer to Him, and even preparing me for probably the greatest tragedy I've ever experienced thus far in my lifetime: the loss of my grandmother. Losing her was a horrible experience and one that made this year probably the toughest one yet, but I stand today stating with full confidence that I would not have been able to handle this tough loss in my life if it weren't for the Lord preparing my heart during that fast.
I asked God to reveal a word or two during this fast that would define my 2016, and by the end of the month, He sure did! Through all the trials during the fast, as well as my constant prayers and concerns about my future with college/a career path, God put the word "trust" in my head not long after the fast began. He revealed again and again that I was in a waiting season, and that He would not delay to provide His best and to reveal the next step for my future at HIS timing. I just had to trust that He is in control, that He is on the throne no matter what comes my way.
But He didn't stop with the word "trust". Seemingly in every book, daily devotion, everywhere I read, the word "go" would pop up! He surely seemed to be calling me to go and make a difference this year: to pray for and reach out to the lost, to stand up and be bold, to let go of my fears/shyness, and to walk out in faith and fulfill the calling He has for me. To go and LOVE on people!
Sure enough, He moved in crazy ways during my 2016. He revealed my career path an hour before the fast would end, and slowly but surely guided me to the college I would attend during the following year. Concerts, prom, and fun events filled the concluding months of my senior year. He spoke to my heart about writing letters to children in poverty through the Compassion program (something that ended up happening only through the hand of God!). Multiple scholarships were provided, and at the last minute, after praying every week of my senior year, I was announced salutatorian of my high school class. This was something that I asked God only to provide if I could bring glory to Him, and if I would be able to handle the fears accompanying speaking in front of several thousand people on graduation night, and sure enough, He provided the words, the peace, and all that I needed! Lots of speaking and opportunities to leave my comfort zone seemed to encompass much of the last few months of my senior year.
Summertime brought a season filled with lots of fun memories and unforgettable trips, a busy summer that I'm not at all used to having! Theme park fun for a friend's birthday, a graduation getaway with a different friend aboard the Disney Cruise, attending my church's Freedom Fest concert with a new friend of mine, and meeting up with a close, godly friend and her family for the third time ever (we originally met online!) in her home state of West Virginia brought a summer of not only a ton of fun but one that also brought me out of my comfort zone once again, forcing me to place more and more of my trust in Him! It was a summer of transition, a short but memorable season between the high school and college years, that I will never forget.
Sure enough, the college years would begin, and I would find myself at the local college I was already attending during my junior and senior years of high school through the dual enrollment program. While God revealed throughout the year that I was being called to finish there for my AA degree before I transfer to a university, I did not feel confident until I actually began the semester. An extremely heavy workload made it the toughest semester yet, but the experiences I was able to have and the ways God moved assured my wondering heart that I was where He was calling me to be. Having classes with some of my closest friends, as well as meeting and interacting with new people (as well as people from the past) made the experience at the college itself an exciting time. I really began to overcome a lot of fear and shyness this semester, as I took on the challenge to love others, and worked on making time to say hello and engage in conversation with those in my path. While I spent the majority of the semester studying and doing homework, as well as in the classroom, I spent my Fridays dog sitting, and one weekend in particular, I attended a Meredith Andrews concert. This was totally another provision from the Lord, as I won a pair of VIP tickets through a radio station on an exact day where I had less homework, and more of an opportunity to go. While the crowd attending this event was tiny, the concert was probably the most impactful one I've experienced yet! God continued to speak to me about waiting on Him about certain situations in my life, and about letting go so I could fully seek Him. What I loved most about this semester though is the Bible study group I began to lead with a few friends on campus, and how God has been moving through that. He called me to "go" this year, and it didn't hit me until recently that He's been helping me do just that!
These are a few of just the big things God has provided in my life this year. It's been a tough, stressful year for my family and I, but nonetheless, there has been so much good as well. I've grown so much in my relationship with God, and have learned to trust in Him and depend on Him more than ever before, but there were also days where I stumbled, days where He wasn't my everything and days where I didn't feel any closer to Him. It's during these moments that I'm so grateful for the grace and love of Jesus Christ, which He so willingly gifted to each one of us when He laid down His life on the cross.
Wow, what a year! Looking back, I'm in awe of what God has done around me, in me, and through me these past twelve months. His still, small whispers of "trust" and "go" clearly defined this year in ways I never would've imagined. I cannot wait to see what He has in store in 2017!