2012. (January 1, 2013)

2012 was a big year for me. Correction: HUGE… and that’s an understatement. I can’t even begin to grasp how much God has shown me over the past 12 months of my life. It was painful and ugly at times, and exhilarating and amazing at others, but all in all it was beautiful, and I’m so thankful. Out of all of my Tweets, Facebook Posts, and Instagrams this past year, there are three words I most remember using: Thankful, Humbled, and Blessed.

I had my first real boyfriend for most of the year, and maybe one day I’ll share details about it, but all I can say right now is that it was a learning experience, and although sometimes I wish I could re-do it, I’m grateful for lessons learned.

I had my first real fight with my BFF since birth, and that hurt. But we’ve learned to protect each others feelings, and are closer than ever before, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I was in a fashion show to raise money for an organization that is dedicated to the rescue of women and girls involved in sex trafficking in Atlanta.

I went on my first international mission trip and absolutely fell in love with the country of Nicaragua and everyone in it, especially my “baby” Antonio {who actually happens to be 10, 1 year older than my own brother}.

I learned… I am learning TRUE forgiveness. I’m learning grace expecting something in return was never grace to begin with. I went through some of the darkest times of my life this past year, all because of things that people did against me. I’ve never ever experienced so much hatefulness and I was hurt badly because of it. And before I could learn forgiveness, I had to accept that fact that I had been so wounded. I would like to say that I’m one of those people that isn’t affected by what others say and do to them, but that’s something that I struggle with, and it took a long time for me to admit that even to myself. But through that, I felt the grace of Jesus and in turn, was able to extend that grace to the people that had hurt me… And it felt awesome.

I lost three important people in my life: Sharon Flowers, Andrew Pray, and my precious Nanny. However, I know with every fiber of my being that eventually I will be able to worship our Creator alongside of them and I am so anxious for that day!

2012 was without a doubt the most influential year of my life thus far. I could go on forever about all of the opportunities I was blessed with, but that would take ages, and I would bore the few people that will read this to tears. Basically, what I learned this year is that suffering is good and necessary.

My mom shared something that she read with me & it went something like:
“Imagine spending Jesus’ last day with him. Feeling everything that he felt. Experiencing everything that he experienced. Literally being nailed to the cross with him. You each have your own cross to bear, but as you’re crucified, you lock eyes. You are suffering with Jesus and NOTHING could be more intimate than that.”

It’s so true. Suffering brings us closer to Jesus. We should be praying for suffering. And the best part is that Jesus identifies with suffering. He felt all of the things that we feel. I can be content with suffering because my God experienced suffering. It gives me chills every time I think about it.

So… 2012 had its ups and downs. But I can honestly say that it was the greatest year of my life. I am so in awe of my Father, and I am Thankful, Humbled, and Blessed.

[There is a faith proved of more worth than gold, so refine me Lord through the flames.]