I’ve been trying to write something insightful all day to mark the beginning of a new year. Something to evoke the hope of a brim future that 2014 may hold.
Instead, I’m drawing a blank.
An all-day, excessive blank.
Today was my first day “back at work” and I didn’t really do much. Well I did try out a new CoWorking Space and I did have lunch with a friend. So that’s good. But an actual productive work day? Not so much.
And this has been my year so far. Granted, we’re only one week in so far. I have a ton of goals and vision for this new year. Habits I want to throw out and new ones I want to take its place.
But really, I just keep thinking that 2014 is going to be different than the rest. Just new.
Every year I sit down and take the time to reflect on the year. Looking back at the good, the bad, the lessons, the hurts, the challenges … searching for ways that I grew and where God hid little nuggets of blessings.
A debriefing. That’s what I always called it. One of my Teen Mania terms that I’ve adapted into my life.
I could sit down and tell you all the hi’s and lo’s or read you the little stories in my memory jar. But I’m not going to. At least not right now.
I’ve been reflecting. Selah.
I don’t know about you, but this year has seriously beaten me and a lot of my friends up. Like beat the crap, kick you while you’re down, type of stuff. There’s been job loss, strain on friendships, multiple divorces, suicide, stillborn birth. Too many things. All so heavy.
My brain is so jumbled with thoughts right now. Because I know God is a good God, which totally contradicts how the past year has been for so many of my friends. Sometimes refinement is a bitch. It feels like fiery hells at times, but really it’s just a purifying process.
Anyways I wanted to share this video. It’s a combination of my love/hate, need to reconcile, God is still working in me, RLV music session. It’s a live recording of “Oceans” by Hillsong United.
I chose this song because the lyrics are amazing. I used to not sing the bridge because those were dangerous prayer words. It’s like asking for it. Asking to be tested.
I’ve been there before and it’s the worst. But the worst times always preceded the BEST times.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith would be made stronger in the Presence of my Father
I guess it something I’m always learning.
I’m just believing that God isn’t done yet. He has good things in store for us. He really does.
Hello all. Sorry that I’ve been MIA with the posts and such. I’ve been meaning to write but really just never got around to it. My bad.
Anyways. Here are 5 Things going on with me:
1 DEBRIEFING 2013 - Every year I sit down and debrief everything that happened that year. The good, the bad, the triumphs and the struggles. This year has been full of all of that and everything in between.
It’s just been kind of nice since work slowed down and everyone is in the holiday mindset, giving me the breathing space I need. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that sometimes you forget to process everything.
And I need that. God has been so good this year. It’s tough and I’ve grown a lot. But overall, 2013 was a good year.
2 JAROFMEMORIES - So I tried something new this year. I saw this idea on Pinterest where you write down your happy moments and place it in a jar. And at the end of the year you can open it and read it all. I pulled it out during a conversation with my roommates and it was a fun thing to share. I haven’t opened it yet. I wonder what memories I wrote …
I know I wrote about how Glove Actually scored a run and how it was like we won the World Series. Definitely the epic story of Katie eating the black bean brownie. There’s so many little pieces of paper in there. I’m kind of excited about reading them.
3 THEENVELOPESYSTEMHASBEENSAVINGMYBUTT - You guys, I’ve been successfully on the Envelope System for the past couple months and it’s been both kicking my butt and working miracles! Dave Ramsey would be proud. Who knew that discipline like this could actually work.
I’m learning so much about good stewardship, it’s crazy. Even as a finance major, a sender, the former finance manager at RELEVANT - God still has so much to teach me about being content with what I have and having a generous heart. It’s been so good.
4 LACKOF A MONDAYMUSICSHARE - So if you’re an avid reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I have a few different series. The 5 Things Tuesday one is a popular one, but I definitely have a few others: Monday Music Shares, For the Love of, and Photo Chronicles.
The nice thing about MMS’s and 5TT’s, the name alone keeps me on a specific schedule. But I’ve been seriously lacking on my Monday Music Share’s because I’ve been kind of unplugged from all my regular music sources.
I’ve always pulled my favorites from specific soundtracks (Skins has a rad soundtrack and so do the Twilight movies), favorite DJ’s and personalities (Parker’s Playlist is the best and Dianna Agron actually has amazing taste in music), and well I just haven’t been paying attention to what RLV has been playing either.
I honestly have been listening to just a few worship albums on repeat lately. I mean seriously, it’s so good. I’m pretty sure there’s all sorts of amazing music out there but I’ve just been knee deep in the worshipping mood. Sorry about it.
5 CARLLENTZONKATIECOURIC - Check it! Pastor Carl Lentz from Hillsong NYC was on Katie Couric. His hair is really cool.
1 MOSTEPICDISNEYDAYEVER -So this past Sunday my friends and I had the most epic day at Disneyland ever:
we rode the Tower of Terror 3x in a row
had tons of fun waiting in line for the Christmas Choir show to start because of an app called “heads up”
ended up getting seats for said concert
was blown away by the Christmas Carols and the fact that Kurt Russell read the story of Christ’s birth at Disneyland
it “snowed” during the fireworks … and it was legitimately cold outside
Plus - I was with the BEST people ever. Such an epic Disney Day.
Way to do it big before letting the pass expire.
2 I REALLYNEEDTOGETOVERTHISONESTUPIDPHOBIA - So in recent news Paul Walker suddenly passed away, which genuinely makes me sad. He was such a young and talented actor.
And it also makes me sad that I all of a sudden couldn’t watch any of his movies anymore. You see, I have this weird phobia where I can’t watch things where the actors have died. It’s morbid to me.
Not actors who were always dead to me (like Audrey Hepburn or Lucille Ball) but those who I’ve known as living but then die (like Heath Ledger or Cory Monteith). In light of this, I haven’t seen Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, and old seasons of Glee in a very long time.
And well, I have to get over this. Because people die all the time. And I don’t want to stop watching some of my favorite shows or movies because of that.
So I’m going to make myself watch a Paul Walker movie soon. Either Varsity Blues or one of the Fast & Furious movies. We’ll see. Baby steps here.
3 GETTINGHEALTHY 2014 - We’re doing it! The girls of Tres Dudes (plus a few more awesome ladies) are going to get fit!
Hopefully accountability will get our butts into gear. Not just in the work out realm but also in the nutritional side of things. Andi is going to help us eat right so our running/boxing/Jillian Michaels/hip hop dancing won’t be in vain.
I’m just glad I’m not doing it alone. Getting healthy won’t be as intimidating if I have other girls running along side me.
4 MONDAYMEETUPS - So yesterday was a great day. I met up with two of my really good friends. Living in LA is great because there’s so many amazingly talented people in this condensed city, but with traffic being so stupid and our schedules being crazy - our meetups are so few and far in between.
I got to hang out with Beth, a friend from my RELEVANT days, who is now doing the whole comedy writer/UCB thing. And then right after I met up with Elaine, my old roommate from Teen Mania, who is doing the whole music thing here.
It’s really cool and encouraging to see some of my favorite people doing what they love and actually go places. And still love the Lord in the process. It’s pretty much the best.
5 PASTORISAACHUNTER - Today I found out that my pastor from the church I attended in Orlando, FL had passed away. It grieves my heart that things were so bad that he had taken his own life.
About a year ago I found out about his resignation due to a very public scandal that caught me off guard. Sometimes you never know what demons people fight on a regular basis. And I guess it’s been something he’s been wrestling with for a long time.
There’s not much more that we can do besides pray for the family and those who loved him.
I’ve been having a hard time processing the sudden death of my former pastor, Isaac Hunter.
There’s so much to think about. The good, the bad. The struggle, the fall from grace. And somehow it all just boils back to however you look at it, God still used him for good in so many lives.
There is still God’s grace.
Both Cameron and Tim posted some thought-provoking words, better than I ever could say. But Timmy really got Isaac’s words perfect in this graphic. This was his closing prayer in pretty much every sermon.
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Whatever anger or compassion you may feel at the passing of our former pastor, Isaac Hunter, the fact remains that God used him to minister to me in a place where I’m not sure another would have been effective. I never thought the story would end this way, but thank you, Isaac, for being faithful when you were. My life will never be the same.
I took some time this morning to journal, pray and process and created this desktop wallpaper for myself. Its nothing special artistically, just a visual reminder to the significance of these words that he always prayed before teaching. May we pray them and mean them.
It’s taken me 8 hours to write this. Earlier today, I learned my friend Isaac Hunter took his life. Isaac was my pastor for several years. He was an amazing teacher. He went with me on an 8-day trip to the Holy Land last October. He was the son of Dr. Joel Hunter, who many people know as President Obama’s pastor. He was 36.
Around this time last year, Isaac resigned his position at our church amid some very public scandals. He had a wife of 13 years and 3 young kids, and the time since then has been incredibly difficult for our church. His family lives around the corner from me, and I see them often.
Isaac loved Jesus and was a talented and dedicated pastor for more than a decade. But he had some significant struggles. The unfathomable news today is devastating for many. Please pray for his family. Please pray for our church. Pray for his kids.
Please pray that somehow, some way, someday, good will ultimately come of this. That this tragic story can be used to reach and rescue others who are silently battling the same demons Isaac did.