Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Looking Back, Thinking Ahead

Done with my thesis 

Hello lovely readers,

It is Christmas time and I feel this a curious time of year, at least for me. It is a time of reflecting about the year that shortly ending and it is a time that we are preparing for the year to come. 

Looking back at this year I feel this year has been filled a lot with my thesis...and maybe thats how it should have been but lately I have felt I spent so much energy, so much time, and devotion to it that I kind of lost focus on what the most important things are in my life. On mentally preparing this post I began to look through my photos (on Facebook) to remember all that has happened over this year. Some of the highlights have been getting to spend so much time with my family; I spent some time with my family in May, August, October and just recently when my parents came up here to see me present my thesis. If you don't know I live in Boston and my family lives all over so I usually see them only twice a year (minus skype dates) so I feel that has been really neat this year. Another highlight this year has been moving in with my current roommate and friend. Last year (until end of August) it was a struggle with my apartment. I never felt like my last place was home. Moving into my new place has felt like home the moment I started unpacking my boxes.
with niece and nephew in May

So as I began to think about 2014 and everything that happened, there have some parts of it I wish I could put behind me and never think about them again, but I know those moments have shaped me. And instead of looking at them with regret I am going to try to give them over to God and let him use them as moments of development. While 2014 has been a mix of both of ups and downs (as years are) it is what 2015 brings that I am most interested in.

Lately, I have been praying a lot to hear God's voice to feel his guidance but in reality I have felt distant from God. I know He is with me and He is the hope I have anchored my life to. Hebrews 10:23- Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful- has been a verse I have had to repeat to myself a lot through the year. I think it is more true lately as I am coming to terms with the fact I am done with school.

Birthday celebrations 

For 23 some odd years, I have been a student and I have almost placed my identity in the fact I am a student. Especially in undergrad and grad school my life has been about the next homework assignment, the next chapter to read, and the next paper to write. In grad school I felt life was on hold until I finished school and sometimes I felt angry I couldn't do things because I was in school.

I have been praying for God to use me in such a way that I would make an impact in this world for Him.  I have also been praying to hear God's voice and feel His guidance.  But I have felt stuck and sometimes useless. I am not blaming Him for this... actually I am holding myself responsible. Because I know I have filled my life with clutter, I sought fulfillment from temporary things. So one thing I really hope for 2015 that He prune and cut things out of my life that are not from Him. This is going to take work on my end, because it is easy for me to turn on the TV, go on Facebook or Pinterest, listen to Spotify and block Him out. But I don't want to do that anymore.
Being a bride's maid in my friends wedding, in July.
On Monday I prayed:
Lord I pray you lead me. Lord there are so many big questions on my mind now. What do I do for a job? Where do I go from here? Lord I need your guidance with these questions. Lord, you are the only one that makes my life make sense and I pray oh Lord I pray you lead me on. 

Then on Tuesday morning I read the passage: 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2. 

Visiting my sister's family in August...
Sadly my nephew was in the hospital.
With nephew in hospital I got to spend a lot
of time with niece... blessing in disguise 
These things may not seem immediately linked but they are in my mind. I think one thing I really need in upcoming year is to renew my mind and heart in God. In that I believe I will be able to truly know what God wants from me. However, I have no idea what that looks like. 

Over the fall my church went through a series called "Resistance" and it was about remembering why we have the Sabbath, a time of rest, a time of remembering what is important to us, and a time to remember what God has done for us, I think over the last year and especially this last fall I have kind of forgotten that.  I say my faith, my friends and family are the most important things in my life... but I felt distant from those things. I have felt very much like I have been drifting through life, not really making connections. So, another thing I would like in 2015 is to really invest or reinvest in things that are important to me. 

Here I want to say I am sorry to anyone that I was not there for over the last year...even if you understood why I am sorry I got so blocked by other things I could not see what was important. 

Fancy night with roommate. 
On the job front I will take my time to figure things out. Fortunately this year I have been blessed with two part time jobs that have really been relief when I have been stressed about money. I think it is important right now to get things worked out in my relationship with God... so I am not going to dwell on that.

I am thankful for this year I have had the support system (friends and family) that I have had. I don't know how I would have been able to get through the struggles I have gone through... and I promise I will not forget it.

I am excited to see what 2015 has in store for me and I am already starting to shape my New Year's resolutions.

1. Invest or re-invest in the relationships I have
2. Work on transforming my mind in order to understand God's purpose for my life.

Those are 2 pretty big things so I will leave it at that for now... if I fail I will (with God) pick back up and try again.

There are other things I am looking forward to as well in 2015.

1. My sister and brother-in-law are expecting their third baby... from the pics above you can see they make cuties so I am excited for this new little one. 
their birth announcement.
2. My mom and I have been dreaming about and plotting a trip to Paris and now done with school, we have been planning one for May. 
Mom and I from recent trip to Boston 
3. Also I have been thinking about going on another short-term missions trip. I remember how impacting my trip to Honduras was and my church does a trip to the Dominican Republic every year and watching the videos of the trips have made me want to go.
4. I am also looking forward to getting back into doing some of my own fun writing. Though I might be writing more with pen and paper than typing... my eyes are getting tired looking at word document. 

"Mary did you know"-Pentatonix
This has been my favorite song this year. 

Merry Christmas!