Goodbye 2011.

This past year has been full of growing, and I have had so many amazing opportunities to do new and great things.  As I reflect on all that God taught me, gave me, and called me to, I find myself humbled and grateful.  I never do these kind of questionnaire things, but I figured this one was worthwhile!

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?  Here inlies the problem: I am incapable of choosing just one thing!  So, a few of the best things that happened were buying a new car, starting a new job, beginning my last year of undergrad schooling, celebrating one year with my boyfriend, and preaching in chapel.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?  All of my "problems" centered around finances (no surprise as a college student, really), and the biggest was when I needed to have some dental work done and didn't have the money to do it.  However, the Lord provided as He always does!

3. What as an unexpected joy this past year?  Being asked to be a bridesmaid in my first roommate's wedding!  It was the first wedding I was asked to be a part of in such a special way - where I wasn't a photographer - and it was so great to be able to provide spiritual support and encouragement!  Additionally, being asked to speak in chapel was a huge honor - and the resulting encouragements I received from peers served as serious affirmation!

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?  I guess that I should have expected it, but just how busy I've been the last half of this year has been an obstacle.  Working a part-time ministry position, continuing as a full-time student, serving as a student leader at my university, and trying to maintain and grow deeper in my relationships has proved very time consuming.  Nonetheless, it has been worthwhile.

5. Pick three words to describe 2011.  Challenging, surprising, and full-of-obedience.

6. Pick three words your boyfriend would use to describe your 2011 (guess, don't ask).  Challenging, exciting, and rewarding.

7. Pick three words your best friend would use to describe your 2011 (guess, don't ask).  Busy, growing, and beautiful.

8. What were the best books you read this year?  What Women Fear by Angie Smith, Visioneering by Andy Stanley, Completely His by Shannon Ethridge, and always the Bible!

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?  The girls I've lived with, my aunt/uncle/cousin, my "second family", my best girl friends.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?  Taking on my first real adult job working part time at a church... while I'm still a full-time student and on leadership at school!

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?  I think that the Lord revealed a lot to me about myself, including the fact that I am an "extreme" person when it comes to my emotions.  Simply put, I feel very deeply, both for myself and others.  This year has been one in which I've been learning to grow in my ability to control those emotions and feel in a healthier way.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?  A passion for the Word has been planted in my heart like never before, and so this year I have spent much more intentional time reading and studying.  Also, I've been forced to my knees (literally) in prayer many times.  I've truly grown closer to Christ and have seen the ways that my obedience has led to great opportunities for His glory!

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?  I started going to the gym for the first time in my life (but have barely gone since the summer), and started jogging in the early mornings last semester.  I've also gotten better at learning to cook more healthy meals for myself.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?  Well, I was able to dive a lot deeper with some of my closest and best friends.  Also I've had the opportunity to mentor/be in relationship with some of the younger girls at my school, which has been wonderful!

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work life?  Working directly with the kiddos!  I absolutely love teaching them about Jesus Christ's life and love while instilling in their hearts the truths of God's Word!

16. What was the most challenging part of your work life?  I had to (and still must strive to) grow in my confidence of my abilities and skills in ministry.  Recruiting has proved very challenging for me, mainly given my own insecurities with my age and life season.  However, I have been slowly gaining confidence in this area.

17.What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?  Other than the multitude of social networking sites, worrying.  I often spend far too much time worrying about both present and future things that I really can't even control.  It is something that I have gotten better at not doing, and will most certainly be working through this next year.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?  Just being present with people is always the best way I use my time.  Other than that, spending quality time in God's Word, in prayer, and seeking His presence were always a fruitful way to spend my time!

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this last year?  That nothing is as fulfilling as obediently following where the Lord is leading, and that taking risks for His glory is always worth it!

20. Create a statement that describes 2011 for you.  "Learning to live simply and joyfully in all situations, with a humble heart and an eagerness to learn."

And now I welcome 2012 with open arms, ready for new and big adventures as I continue to seek to grow closer to Jesus Christ!