James and I try to intentionally reflect on our lives as much as we can; every night, we talk about 3 highlights of our day, every Thursday on date night we talk about a highlight of the previous week, every month we pick a word or theme we want to focus on, and every year we look back and identify high and low points, and pray for vision for the next year. Why do we do this? Two reasons: 1) to cultivate gratitude and perspective and 2) to live intentionally. Reflecting back on 2016, I identified 7 things or events that were high points for me (in no particular order or rank of course :))
It’s funny how this all happened, because it wasn’t really on purpose, but God brought together me, Leah, Ranae, and Megan with a shared burden, passion, and vision to develop a culture of women’s discipleship in our church. Then He plopped Julie in our lives, who, without knowing any of us previously, jumped in head first to labor with us for this vision. We have discussed, prayed, and met with people for countless hours over the past several months to make this vision a reality. There’s so much work left to do, but we have seen some incredible progress made. I love these ladies with everything in me; their wisdom, wit, intelligence, compassion, leadership, everything. It’s amazing how intimately connected you become to people when you are working together toward something so much bigger than yourself.
In the spirit of discipleship, Tuesday nights have arguably become my favorite night of the week, because I get to disciple one of my favorite people, Kristin. It is an honor and I feel completely inadequate about 95% of the time, but it has been such a fruitful relationship for both of us. Also, I accidentally promised her I would make dinner every time, so now my cooking skills have been challenged greatly as I’m forced to come up with something new to cook every week so I am not feeding her leftover spaghetti. We eat together, study God’s Word through the book The Four Priorities, then head off to The Well to worship God with our young adult community. Every Tuesday night, I fall asleep with so much gratitude and my heart completely full.
After nearly three years on staff at my wonderful church, I decided it was time for a change, and got a job as an Executive Assistant at a software company called Accruent. I love it for many reasons: it has challenged me professionally, great company culture, everyone that works there is extremely intelligent and driven (I’m still trying to figure out how I snuck in), open PTO policy (for real), the opportunity to work from home several days a month, and mostly, I get to work every day with one of my best friends! I tell James at least once a day how thankful I am for this job, and I’m excited for future career opportunities there.
I got pooped on by my unnamed favorite person (she’s 3 so I’ll forgive her) and was sick for 4 days after, but that was all completely worth it for FORGE 2016. I loved everything about this young adult weekend; the preaching and worship, my group (#fearthedeer), sleeping on a squeaky bunk bed with a sketchy looking mattress, laying on the dock looking at stars, being outside all day, the deep conversations, losing all the games we played, and just the comradery of it all. FORGE is special and magical and I love being apart of it. I’m already looking forward to 2017.
I have a group text with my college roommates that runs almost every day, and we are still so connected in each other’s lives even though we all live in different cities doing different things. I love those 5 girls with my heart and soul, and I am committed to those relationships for life. We got together for a weekend in November, and it was just about perfect in every way. The best kind of friendships are those where you pick up right where you left off, and that’s exactly what we did. Our weekend consisted of eating, talking, more eating, dancing, more eating, talking, little sleeping, and starting the show This Is Us. We have already planned out our reunion locations for the next 6 years and you bet I will be at every one.
Three Years of Marriage
On our 3rd wedding anniversary, we didn’t celebrate with a fancy dinner or trip; instead, we spent the night on the living room floor in sweatpants worshiping God, reading His Word, and praying with our community group. When James and I got married, we said we want our lives together to be solely about God and people. Sitting on the floor the night of our anniversary surrounded by our community that we have worked to build, all worshiping God together, was the best possible way I could imagine celebrating three years of marriage. Afterwards, James and I went out to get ice cream, and were surprised by some of our friends who snuck in to pay for our food. 🙂
Speaking of community group…we truly believe that the gospel and kingdom of God spreads most through multiplication of disciples, communities, and churches. We always have multiplication on our minds as we lead our group, and had been praying for several months on who would lead the next group to multiply out of ours, when Ryan & Catie approached us with the call & desire to do so. I feel excited/sad about this all the time, but I am so excited for them to step out in obedience to what God has called them to. James and I have been in their lives pre-Jesus (for Catie), in their single days, as a dating/engaged couple, and now married and starting to shepherd their own group of people. It is so rewarding to watch and be a part of.
2016 was quite alright. 2017, I’m ready for you!
Until next time,