This is literally unreal to me. I'm sitting on my bed writing to you, looking forward to my next week and 4 days here. Can you believe that I've been here for 103 days? I CAN'T! Today is Thanksgiving, and it feels incredibly strange that I am missing it. My sweet grandma emailed me and said that she's setting a place for me at the table. How precious is she?!? In my family we have a tradition of writing in our Thanksgiving journal everything that we are thankful for from the last year... so, because I'm not there to add it myself, I'll make a list of my own to add when I return.
I'm incredibly thankful for...
-Westmont and all of the friends that God blessed me with during my first year of college.
-My beautiful section of 3C women, who I adore with all of my heart, and our amazing momma/RA Kim.
-The opportunity I had to co-lead a group for VBS in Mexico over Spring break
-The godly man that the Lord brought BACK into my life in the august of my freshman year, and has allowed me to grow with in these past 9 months.
-The beach house and time there as a family relaxing in the unmatchably beautiful creation that is the beach.
-Reuniting with friends from Mariners, and being reminded of the family that I have in them.
-Working for my daddy and spending time in his office helping him out... tutu working hard daddy ;)
-Our family vacation to the dude ranch this summer!! It was so amazing to experience the beautiful creation of Colorado as a family and ride horses together.
-LAKE POWELL trip with the Parsons family and the INCREDIBLE memories that were made there.
-Getting accepted to the India team with my family, the Roots, Wesley and a bunch of other amazing people that I cannot WAIT to serve our Lord with!!!
-I'M SO THANKFUL AND FEEL SO BLESSED TO HAVE BEEN CALLED OUT ON THIS SEMESTER ABROAD IN MEXICO.
-For all the ways that God has shown himself faithful to me and the fire that he has set in my heart to live a life that brings honor and glory to HIM.
-The JOY that the Holy Spirit has filled me with and reiterated in me over these past three months.
-My incredible WIM group. It is so evident that the Lord hand-picked each one of us to be on this semester, and we have learned and grown tremendously through each other.
-The Identity Issues series that my Church in Santa Barbara has podcasted. It has taught me so much about who God is and in light of his magesty, who I am: a chosen and delighted over child of the creator of the world. wow.
-Forgotten God by Francis Chan. The Lord has blessed him with an unbelievably inspiring ability to spur on the body of Christ and challenge it. This book has encouraged me in massive ways over the past few weeks and reminded me of the importance of living in communion with the Holy Spirit. One of the things that he talks about is not letting our fear get in the way of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives, and I can honestly say after stepping out in faith on this semester, I feel incredibly bold and empowered by the sovering and guiding hand of the Holy Spirit in my life. Amen to that.
-TIME. I have been so blessed with time to DIVE into the word and develop that discipline. When he says, "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will SEEK me and FIND me when you SEEK ME WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART"... he really means it. "I will be FOUND by you declares the Lord". (Jeremiah 29:13-14)
-A friend told me in the beginning of this adventure that this was going to be the igniting of my love story with Jesus. And, my dear friends let me tell you that she could not have been more spot on. I can truthfully say that after three months of walking with our Lord through the ups and down of being abroad, I am more in love with him than I have ever been. He indeed is sufficient for me and had incredible plans for my life. I am enthralled with his loving and graceful character, and the way in which he desires to be in relationship with me. THE CREATOR OF THE WORLD WANTS TO BE IN AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH ME?! All time coolest realization to ever have.
-HAVING MY FAMILY (well, minus brian) come hang out with me in October. It was so sweet to spend time with them and show then around the city that has become my new home for this semester.
-My incredible support system (YOU FAITHFUL READERS AND PRAYER WARRIORS)! It is absolutely obvious that I would not feel as content and joyfully present if it wasn't for all of your fervent prayers. Thank you so so so much for loving me and for coming along side me in this crazy adventure.
So, there you have it. An extremely condensed list of the things that God has blessed me with over this past year. The best part about loving Jesus and desiring to follow his is this... for the rest of my life I will have new realizations about his character and continue to fall deeper in love with who he is. And with that being said, I stand confidently in this truth, "I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will CONTINUE his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns" Philipians 1:6
May the Lord our God fill you with JOY and THANKFULNESS today, and may you continue to be astonished by who he is.
"I pray that out of his GLORIOUS riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being ROOTED AND ESTABLISHED IN LOVE, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine, according to his power at work WITHIN US, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. AMEN" Ephesians 3:16-21