2017: A Year In Review
Well after a not so forgettable and hard 2016, I thought it was safe to say 2017 would be much much better. But, I can go ahead and add 2017 to that list of unusually hard years. But I don’t change my case- with hard years always comes sweet blessings. This year, I have most certainly learned God is faithful. In all things. Even in the hard times, He is faithful in His Goodness. Ultimately, His Goodness has nothing to do with our circumstances. He is always good. 2017 has brought me that strength and I cannot believe another year has passed. I feel like I was just writing 2016: A Year In Review and it was fun to go back and read about the 2016 God blessed me with as I prepared to look back on all God has done this year.
[2017 WORD] wonder: noun; a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. verb; feel admiration and amazement; marvel.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His Purpose.” Romans 8:28
Absolutely, #1 of January 2017 was getting to see my friends Jason and Katherine Wolf speak at Passion to over 40,000 18-25 year olds. Incredible. It was so fun and amazing to see how their story has grown so much from the huge testimony of God’s incredible miracle nine years ago (almost ten years ago now) to the amazing message of God’s incredible strength and power He has shown ever since. Something about all of us being in the Dome together was such an amazing experience and I don’t know if anything will ever top that. I have loved watching everything God has done in their lives this year and how He has continued using them in so many BIG WAYS!
After losing my dad, my granddad became the next best thing in my life to him. And I don’t think I really even realized that until my granddad got sick too. Losing him was extremely hard. But I didn’t just lose him in February. I lost him in March 2016. I lost him later when he could no longer get out of bed. I lost him again when he no longer understood what I would ask him. And again when he could no longer communicate. You know how people say “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” I knew what I had in him but I never thought he would be gone. I learned so much in the year he was sick. I learned how to love and be loved. It was so hard to see him sick and lose him more and more every day. But I will always remember and see God’s faithfulness in the laughs, the sweet conversations and all the love in the world we felt in that year of simplistic living. I miss him every day. I will alway cherish the memories.
Dr. Deb came to see me in March. She was passing through on one of her journeys as part of her 2017 Quest to visit everyone she loves and she counted me in. Deb was energy to my soul. She had a way of seeing things in me that I could never even muster up enough confidence to imagine. Wow! She put that confidence in me daily. I remember us finding every way possible to extend our time together. Later this year, these two hours would become some of the sweetest two hours of my entire year. Another huge highlight of March I cannot fail to mention was going to Honduras because one of my Girl Talk girls came with me! Ella fell in love with Honduras when we collected clothes for Maria, our newest Grace Girl, last July. For spring break, Ella got to come with me and meet Maria. My favorite was between skating with Vanesa, our Girl Talk Honduras girl, and Maria and hearing Ella give her testimony to the girls on why she wanted to come and spend time with them. So much fun! I saw God’s faithfulness in both of these. God allowed me time with Dr. Deb in our busy schedules He carved out time just for us. I loved seeing His Faithfulness play out by allowing Ella to come to Honduras and connecting our hearts with Maria.
April was fun! Our cousin Matt got married and we celebrated Lauren’s upcoming wedding at the beach with all the girls! Try having 17 women in a beach house. Enough said 😉
Girl Talk is always the highlight of my summer. I absolutely love it. I cannot believe we are completing our fifth year! It’s crazy. I love every thing about Girl Talk. My highlight for the summer was having Cheer and Dance Camp with the girls at Common Ground! My dream for Girl Talk was to bridge together East Montgomery and West Montgomery partnering with Common Ground. I absolutely love our partnership and the relationships I watched form this summer as our girls spent their Monday afternoons teaching, loving and let’s be honest.. chasing the girls around the room trying to get them to pay attention! Haha! I love seeing God’s Faithfulness in watching our girls grow in their relationship with Him. We studied the beatitudes this summer and I really saw the girls understand it as we started small groups and continued discipleship.
My big sis got married!! And Christopher seriously.. couldn’t ask for a better guy for her!! It was so much fun celebrating them and having so much down time in preparing for the wedding with a torn ACL. We both had surgery a week apart this year and recovering gave us a lot of good quality time. I’m so excited to see what their marriage brings and the happiness they have together. It’s been fun watching their story unfold and celebrating at their wedding was just the beginning! And it was FUN!
August did not disappoint. Our sweet Missionary Girl Clara Rose was baptized and we had the most fun celebration to end an incredible summer of ministry and preparation for serving with For His Kingdom Missions. I love watching my girl find her place in this world serving Jesus! Can’t forget about… that Eclipse. I got to see totality with my awesome friend and mentor, Mary Ruth Wolf!! We drove to Nashville just to see it and it was totally worth it. I think every one in the world should drive to totality for the next eclipse. Our God is so incredible! He showed me His Faithfulness by just showing me how incredible He is. He made the world dark for like 2 seconds, just because He can. That shows me not only His Faithfulness but His Power. I mean.. wow!
Nothing could prepare me for what September would bring. My mentor in all things ministry, seminary and life- Dr. Deb went to see her favorite person, Jesus. On her 2017 Quest to visit all the people she loved, I often wonder if she had an idea that Jesus might be on that list. In my eyes, Dr. Deb will always have left too soon but in God’s eyes we know she finished her race well and in just the right amount of time. She ran her race with endurance until the very end. Sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe she is gone. I literally went to her for everything and I find myself so many times with questions and wonders with no where to go but Jesus. That’s where she always led me to anyway, so I try to take the wisdom she instilled in me and apply it. But it’s so much harder without her and Jesus is teaching me every day. Read more about what Jesus has taught me here. He has shown me His Faithfulness by never leaving us. I mean just the fact that I got to have Deb discipling me is enough to know how faithful our God is, but for so much He has shown me since and the legacy we have to live through.
My baby sis, Pressley, turned 16!! I never thought I would feel this old. It seems like just yesterday I was turning 16 and we were driving around for the first time by ourselves! Insane. It’s been so fun to watch this sister of mine grow up into the beautiful girl she is! Inside and out. She is so fun to be with and she is sweet to the core. I love most of all our conversations. I always thought how fun it was to talk to her when I was in high school and getting to tell her stories and all the questions she would ask. I love that she still asks me questions but now at 16 we can talk on a level that she understands me. And she’s coming back and saying “remember when you were in high school and you told me about this? Well now I understand because I’m going through it too and I know what to do because you told me about it when you were going through it.” Ah God is so cool and so faithful. I love watching Him work through this girl’s life. Praying safety over her and all the sweet conversations she will have on her car journeys!
So we all know that November had the highlight of my year! I had the amazing opportunity to speak at Lifeway’s Women’s Forum to thousands of women. I loved connecting with women who have lost their dads, who minister to girls, who work with middle schoolers, who have daughters and just so many women from all over the country serving Jesus. If you read my post Full Circle In My Balcony, you know that four really important people were there hand placed by our incredible Father who loves us so personally. My short version goes something like this- June 2014, I was at a cross roads in my ministry. I would either walk forward full force or walk away. My friend Carrie Rester told me about the Beth Moore conference in Biloxi where she lived not knowing where I was standing in my life. That weekend I met Dr. Deb Douglas at YouLead and she introduced me to Chris Adams. That weekend I knew God was calling me into full-time ministry with Him. So last month, as I shared how I have seen God’s faithfulness in my life God was faithful to show up to remind me just how faithful He is. While my sweet mentor was with me from Heaven, our personal Father hand placed Chris Adams, Carrie Rester and Beth Moore right there to show me just how faithful He is. The four that were there in my ministry crossroad are there today and the One that is there in every road ahead.
Girl Talk Christmas was so much fun! When you think 30-40 girls show up and almost 100 show up.. uhhh chaos?? No, GLORY!!! The best part about our Girl Talk Christmas was the toys they collected for the Common Ground Christmas Store. We had so much fun swapping socks, playing games and drinking hot chocolate. But when it all comes down to it, that has nothing to do with Christmas. Christmas is all about celebrating the Savior who came for us. I love our girls’ hearts. I love that they bought toys for families they may never meet. We also had the party at the Chantilly House where my parents got married and that was so much fun seeing 30 years later a piece of how God has used my parents’ marriage standing in the same place they began. FAITHFULNESS. What a year for faithfulness.
My 2017 Favorites:
Book// Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen
Author// Jennie Allen
Bible Study// The Quest by Beth Moore
Bible Study Teacher// Beth Moore
Speaker// Beth Moore
City// Nashville, Tennessee
Restaurant// Lek’s Railroad Thai
When I think back on 2017, I will think about our sweet Deb and how much Jesus brought to my life because of her. I’m thankful for the time I had with her, the late conversations and the billions of texts I have to go back and read. I will always remember how faithful our incredible God is and how He works in the most incredible ways. I am so thankful for every single person God has brought into my life. This year I lost some really great ones but I gained some pretty extraordinary ones too. God reconnected me with a friend and mentor so sweet to my aching heart and 2017 ends on a pretty sweet note when it comes to seeing just how captivating the wonder of His Faithfulness truly is. Oh what a wonder in the wild. Thank you Jesus!
I pray your 2017 was full of faithfulness as well. But if it wasn’t, hang on my dear friend. Our incredible Father is not done with you yet. Here’s to you and an incredible 2018
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
I am thankful for you and I am praying for you.