Looking Back and Looking Forward

Whoa.

To say that 2013 just FLEW BY would be a HUGE understatement.

One minute there, then it was gone.”

Let’s say it whizzed by and leave it at that.

I did a ton in 2013. A lot of new things, and a lot of old things.  We had a few deaths in the family, and we had a few new arrivals. My family laughed a lot this year, and we also cried a lot (especially this past week, when I said goodbye to my older sister for the next few months).

2013, for me, felt like a year of discovery.

I discovered Aaron Tveit, Tom Hiddleston, Samantha Barks, Star Trek (I’m a bigger fan of the new movies), completely fell in love with Marvel movies, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Boy Meets World, Wicked, NEW YORK CITY, Hunter Hayes (thanks to my fellow CollegePlus-ers), and books.  Yes, I discovered books again.  I read more this year than I have in the past two years, and it’s been great! Oh, and I also discovered coffee.  Previously, I only drank coffees that were heavily sugar and chocolate (like Starbucks’ Java Chips – yummm…).  Now, I drink hot coffee on a regular basis – thanks to the extremely cold camping trip we went on a few months ago where the only hot thing available was coffee.  I don’t know if I should be happy or not…. Now I’m just hyper.  😉  One more thing – I discovered this cutie pie.  She’s my roommate now and it’s no secret that she likes me best.  😀

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More than that, 2013 was a year of discovery about God and what He wants me to do with the gifts and talents He’s given me. Earlier this year, I honestly thought I didn’t have any talents.  I mean, yeah, I play the piano and violin and write, but I always felt daunted by the fact that there were tons of people out there who were better than me.  Now, I realize that was a horrible mistake. God gave me the love of music and creativity for writing, and I’ve been blind to the fact that He gave me these gifts for a reason. Even if there are people out there who can play Beethoven or Mussorgsky better than me, I need to use the skills I’ve been given to the best of my abilities and let God do the rest.

In 2013, I finished my first novel. It was crazy. (Right now, it’s in the final editing stages and then it’ll be published.  That’s even crazier!) I also started another novel in 2013, this time armed only with characters and a setting – not time period, no plot, nothing.  Recipe for disaster, I know.  I wanted NaNo to be a challenge – and for any of you who followed my blog or emailed me or talked to me at all during last November, you’ll know how much of a challenge it turned out to be!  Thankfully, I won NaNo… and now that novel, Sneakers and Hot Fudge Sundaes, is in the final writing stages.  (I’m doing pretty evil things to my characters.  It feels great.)  I’ve discovered that character-driven plots are the best… even if you don’t know where the characters are going to take you until you’re halfway through writing their story.

In 2013, I started college and graduated from high school. In that order.  (#homeschooling_rocks)  I’m looking at an English degree – to pursue all of my writing fancies.  I’ve already got eighteen credits!  With the help of CollegePlus’ Navigate, I’ve been able to sort through all of my random thoughts about where God has called me to serve Him and discover what He’s called me to do.  I’m not sure about where this will take me in the next few years, but, hey.  That’s okay.

In 2013, I discovered that it’s okay to not know where God wants you to be. The important thing is to obey Him – sometimes blindly – and trust that He’s working out your life.  Trusting Him blindly was a lesson I learned just this past month when we were deciding who would go to help out this family.  It wasn’t until I said, “Okay, God, I’m willing to do whatever You have for me,” that I truly felt at peace about the whole idea.  I still had no clue if He wanted me to go or not, but I felt like He would reveal it in His timing and, if He wanted me to go, I would go and trust that He would give me the strength.  (As most of you probably know already, my older sister went.  She’s having a great time and I can already see how God ordained everything.  She’s really the perfect person for the job.)

2014 already looks like a year of stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’ve already had to do things that I, honestly, would just rather not do.  However, as “Number One” (as my dad now calls me… thanks a lot, Daddy), this is my responsibility now.  Arwen was such a good example of what the oldest does – help Mom out, pick up after others’ slack, and be the peacemaker.  Now this is my job. (GAAAAAH!!!  WHERE’S THE PANIC BUTTON?!?!?!)

For the past few years, God’s given me verses to live out through the year.  I’ve tried to look at things through these verses and it’s changed my perspective a ton. This year’s verse is Joshua 1:6-9.

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.  Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God gave me this verse about a month ago when I was panicking over going to live with this family or not.  The last part gave me strength. (And so did all of the reminders to “Be strong and courageous” – because everybody knows that when God says something in threes, you’d better listen!!) Also, I think it’s worth mentioning that I kinda-sorta-slightly forgot about these verses up until Sunday, when my dad asked me to move my car, which was blocking our family car, which would take my parents and older sister to where Arwen would be living for the next few months.  I pulled it out, backed onto the curb, and waited for my parents to pull out.  They were talking to my younger siblings, so I turned on the radio while I waited.  Guess what song was on. ‘Courageous’ by Casting Crowns.  Me: Oh, yeahhhhh….  Wow.  I’m speechless, God.  Thank You for that reminder.  (And then the waterworks started to flow as I watched my sister leave for the next few months.)

So, yeah.  The past few days leading up to 2014 have already been a roller-coaster (and I hate roller-coasters)… but that’s okay.  I’m learning to let go of my wants and desires, reach out for others’, and step outside of my comfort zone.

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This is me.  No idea what the next year has in store for me (except maybe some pretty insane fangirling over Captain America: The Winter Soldier).  Strangely, I’m okay with that.  It’s a scary thought, but, hey.  As long as I lean on God and remember everything He’s shown me, I think everything will be alright by this time next year.

After all, I like a challenge.

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3 thoughts on “Looking Back and Looking Forward

  1. Pingback: year in review: 2016. | inklings press

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