Right, so I'm currently sitting in a service station just over the Scottish border and this blog post will be relatively short, sweet and to the point 😉 Primarily because (surprise, surprise) I'm running late! It's New Year's Eve, it's 7.15pm and I am due to be in Dundee to spend Hogmanay with some of the best people on the planet… But I got a little waylayed in England spending quality time with some more of the best people on the planet. It was always going to be catch 22 really….
It's New Year's Eve! And that means that I have successfully completed the challenge of blogging everyday for a year! Wow! This feels pretty epic to be honest. This blog, which was begun for my prayer partners to map my 2013 journey, has kind of grown some arms and legs in ways that only God can orchastrate. For one, loads of you now follow it… Which is humbling and I am thankful! For two, this lil' old blog has had over 20,000 hits this year… Which is also humbling and I am thankful. Going into 2014, I should warn you, I may not be blogging each day… I will still be blogging.
Language study and dissertation writing in Japan will take priority and I will keep you posted at least once a week. However, until I go… Watch this space!
So today I began with some urban theology reading, then went for a truly beautiful goodbye lunch with my wonderful parents and my precious godfather at a pub run by some of their friends (random in the best possible way!), and then stopped for a rather spontaneous mission-chat-over-tea with a friend in Warrington, kind of enroute home… Kind of.
(I will take this opportunity to mention that my good friend Levi is going to Japan next year as a full time missionary with OMF and his vision is AWESOME! So… This is a completely shameless plug for his rather-excellent blog, which gives far more useful information about Japan and missions than mine… Please check out reversedthunder.wordpress.com right NOW, follow it, pray for him, stand in awe of his almost-fluent Japanese, join the Jesus-please-get-Levi-to-Japan-by-May prayer team, or give financially to support the work God wants to do! Ok? Good. Phew. Glad to get that out of the way…)
Very simply, I want to leave 2013 with three of the big lessons that Jesus has been teaching me this year. I will expand on these over the days and weeks to come, but because time is short, let me offer a summary type overview 🙂
1. God told me 2013 would be a year of healing. And He was so right. It has been. But it hasn't all been easy. There have been some serious highs (like time at IHOP-KC and being out in Japan), but there have also been some moments of brokenness and heartbreak and serious wrestling. But, the big but, God has been so faithful to ALL His promises and not one has failed. And I am so thankful to a God who holds this journey and knows it better than me. In all honesty, sometimes I think my heart is still a little bruised from some of the things that have happened. Sometimes. But Jesus has this. He has me. And his timings are perfect and best and beautiful. Because He is beautiful. And I fall more in love with Him everyday. Every single day. He is my Healer. And He alone is enough.
2. I have become so thankful for community. Real friendships. Real community. If you'd asked me a year a go which people would be central in my life right now, things might look a little different. I had expectations that have been turned on their head. But again, God knew and knows best. And I can honestly say that I am SO flipping blessed with the best friends, mentors and people on the planet!! I have never felt more loved by God than I do right now (which is my increasing awareness to His Presence and grace) but I have also never felt more loved by others. Genuinely, we-will-fight-for-you-and-pray-for-you-and-see-you-through love. I cannot even begin to express how full my heart is. For my precious family. For my elders, and those who teach me so well. For my friends and those who have laughed hard and cried genuinely and prayed earnestly. Man, I need to stop gushing because I just can't stop the thankfulness. This has been my best Christmas… Like, ever!
3. Everyone should try tithing 10 percent of their day to God. It's been a year. There's so much I could and will probably say. But I'm going to leave it here. Give God time. He is so worthy and so worth it. He changes everything.
Oh man, He is so beautiful and awesome and holy and just incredible in all His ways.
So 2014, I stand with Jesus and He has this. Bring it on!!!
Love you all!!