Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflections on 2013

I can hardly believe how fast this year has flown by! It feels like I was just writing my Dreams for 2013 post. I wrote this in that post: "Every year, I literally could never plan or predict how God is going to move. So, we will see what the "Reflections on 2013" post contains in 12 months from now! Jesus, this is all for You...so take my life and let it be all for Your glory!"

The year has certainly been full of answered prayers, unexpected blessings, challenges, lessons, and adventures. And it's true... I never could have planned or predicted how God would move. That's what's so exciting about living life with and for Him! Most of the things I dreamed for this year (and much more) came to pass... but the things that haven't happened are in God's perfect plan and timing.

Some of the highlights from the year:

-In January (Sanctity of Life month), I went with my mom and sister to my first March for LIFE in Washington D.C. for the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I was given the blessing of sharing my story in front of the Supreme Court with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign! You can watch me speaking HERE.

-I walked through the Forgiven and Set Free Bible study at a local pregnancy center. I plan on writing more about this soon... it's amazing how God led me to do this and how He's brought further healing.

-I started volunteering at Your Choice Pregnancy Clinic, a local pregnancy center here in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is something the Lord has been stirring within me for quite some time and He made it evident that this year it was time to get involved. I finished all my training and got certified.

-Luke's 4th Heaven Day was in February and Lily's 3rd Heavenly Birthday was in March.

-It's been so amazing how God stirred within me the desire to be a speaker and how He showed me this year would be the year that it would "take off." Well, it certainly has and it's only by God opening the doors! I spoke many different times this year across the country, from churches to pregnancy center banquets, among other places. This is a vision God placed within me four years ago and it is really special to watch Him bring it to fruition. You can watch a video of me speaking HERE.

One of the biggest lessons God has taught me this year is that I will only ever find true satisfaction and fulfillment in Him. As humans, I think we often are looking forward to the next "big thing" that is coming, like we will finally be satisfied and happy once we attain it. In a way, I suppose I thought once I was finally a speaker, I would finally feel content. I knew God was calling me to do it and expected it would make bring me happiness. I am so excited, humbled, and honored to now be a speaker. But, I am realizing more and more that nothing in this entire world can ever bring my soul satisfaction apart from Christ alone. I guess before this year, I could have told you that, but I didn't know it with all my being. I am so thankful the Lord is teaching me this. No degree, no relationship, not marriage or children, speaking, writing, or anything else I could ever desire will give me what it is I'm searching for. God is teaching me to keep my eyes fixed towards the Heavens, on things of eternal value... is what I'm doing today going to make an impact for eternity? I pray that I see through an eternal perspective, rather than an earthly one. I could go on and on (and might in a future post), but this is something the Lord has been teaching me that I wanted to share.

-I was profiled for an article in WORLD Magazine, I was interviewed for an article in LifeSiteNews.com, and I was featured on Live Action News for Life of the Week. The Lord is opening up so many opportunities to proclaim what He's done!

-I wrote many articles that were posted on LifeNews.com, LifeSiteNews.com, Live Action News, Catholic Lane, Still Standing Magazine, etc. You can check those articles out HERE. Writing is another passion of mine and it's been incredible to see God open the doors for that as well... another dream He placed in my heart that's been brought to fruition.

-I was published as a contributing author in two books that came out this year - "Couch Rebels" and "New Life Within!"

-Lily's stone was designed, ordered, installed, and completely payed off this year! This is something I have wanted to do for a looong time (which you know if you've read my blog for a while). Her stone is everything I ever wanted and more! You can read about her stone and see more photos of it HERE and you can read about her stone placement ceremony in November and see photos of that HERE.

-In July, I was a counselor and spoke at Camp Joshua North Carolina, a pro-life camp for teenagers.

-I turned 24 in August.

-This fall, after prayer and consideration, I decided to go back to college to continue pursuing my degree. I just finished my first semester at Liberty University Online and am going for my B.S. in Psychology/Crisis Counseling. It is a wonderful school and program and the Lord has definitely led me to this. I should be graduating in 2 1/2 years.

-In October, I started B.L.A.S.T. Mentoring with Shannon Ethridge (which stands for Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers, and Teachers). The Lord led me to this amazing program and I know it is exactly where He wants me to be in my life and ministry... another thing I plan on writing more about soon!

-My brother, Joseph, and best friend, Kala, got engaged in March and married on October 11th! I was the maid-of-honor in their wedding. It was a perfect fall day in South Carolina. Now my best friend is my sister! Their wedding and love story is so beautiful, redemptive, and God-honoring. I plan on sharing more about this soon. Here is a photo of my family at the wedding. *From left to right: my brother Adam, sister Emma, mom Ginny, sister-in-law Kala, brother Joseph, dad Chuck, and myself. :)

-I started sponsoring a child from Compassion International who shares Lily's birthday.

-I shared my "aha moment" this summer.

-I got a new logo for my website/blog/social media! It has a rose, lily, and butterfly to symbolize me, Lily, and Luke... it is perfect! This is something I have wanted for a while.

-I launched my new speaking website.

-I created a Facebook page and Twitter account for people to keep up with my ministry that way.

-I am no longer nannying a little girl who I was with for over a year (it was really hard for that to end). But, I am still with another family I've been with for quite some time.

Whew - what a year this has been! God has moved mightily... I am so excited to see what He brings in 2014! I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know it is HE who holds it. It is especially impactful to put all the highlights of the past year together and see just how much has happened in only 12 months! And these are only the highlights. I will share my hopes for 2014 in another post soon.

What did God teach you this year? What did He do in your life? I'd love to hear your thoughts and reflections!


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