Not ever! It’s my last post as a fifteen-year-old. It still strikes me as crazy that after today… I won’t be fifteen anymore. And I’ll never be fifteen again (profundity stands on obvious shoulders!). God has been absolutely incredible through this year, changing me, molding me more into who He wants me to be. And though that process can be painful, His will for me is slowly and surely becoming my ultimate desire. And just knowing that gives me joy.
So, this post is meant to be a brief recap of an unforgettable year in my life to help me to remember where God has brought me so that I can better see where He wants to take me in the future.
Early in the year means one thing: tournaments. Every aspect of tournaments grew me in one way or another. I experienced the reality that trusting God is truly better than trusting myself (particularly competing in impromptu..). I started to see the real importance of humility as I tried to conquer pride in my own life and instead humbly love others whether I personally enjoyed their company or not. After all, that’s not the important part. Jesus is, as always. And of course tournaments helped me improve my public speaking and gave me the opportunity to share Christ through my speeches, but I believe the most important thing I gained from that tournament season were amazing friends, especially my club: Rainmakers. You are all such an encouragement and I pray that the relationships forged through speech and debate will continue to be used for God’s glory.
Just after Regionals, I headed to Mexico with a bunch of amazing people for a week at an orphanage/school: Rancho Santa Marta. (The picture is of an adorable 3-year-old named Daniela.) I not only got to know a bunch of amazing people (both American and Hispanic!), but I saw what God can do with a bunch of under-equipped people who simply want to serve Him. I saw how stepping out of your comfort zone – trying to have conversations with other high-schoolers… in Spanish – may be scary at first, but the rewards are overwhelming. And we haven’t even received the eternal ones yet!!
Then there was the trip to Virginia for the National NCFCA Speech and Debate tournament, as well as touring Washington DC afterwards with the Aldrich girls and dad. During the tournament, I learned about the power of prayer, and the purpose of prayer! Not only did we pray for God’s will to be done in every round, but I started feeling the need to pray regardless of the circumstances, good or bad. And touring DC opened my eyes to the real world around me that is so thirsty for truth and is simply determined not to consider the one option that will actually quench that thirst.
Summer was filled with wonderful things, the most unforgettable of which was of course working as a camp counselor at Canby Grove. This summer I got to spend time playing, talking, praying, and more with 27 different 9-10 year old girls. I’ll never forget their precious faces and personalities. I learned more about how to share the importance of Jesus to kids who maybe don’t realize the importance of a Savior. And most importantly I learned that these girls really didn’t care how much I knew until they knew how much I cared. Showing them by my actions that I thought they were truly unique children of God impacted them much more than simply asking them to believe that they are truly special. I know that this is something I will take with me through the rest of my life: actions really do speak louder than words.
Then summer was over and school started. This will probably be the best school year of my home-educated years. Debate has been teaching me so much about not stressing over… anything. In fact, God commands me not to worry. Stress and worry show distrust in God, whether that thing is big or little, from a debate partner to a debate round, from breaking to a brief (debate lingo).
And of course, my Worldview class with David Knopp has been and is continuing to be life-changing. I know that I’ve never taken a class that has impacted me for God as much as this one does every single week. Not because it answers all the questions (huh…), but because it raises the questions that have to be answered and teaches me how to find the answer. I’m still struggling with many issues, but I know that God will pull me through and that what I will gain from these tough times will be used for His glory for the rest of my life.
And that brings me to where I am right now: still far from worthy of the goodness poured out on me, and realizing more everyday that this life is not about earning grace or love, but about living a life completely abandoned to Jesus. I’m feeling the overwhelming joy of loving Jesus; not just loving the things He gives, but loving, deeply and truly loving Him. That joy is absolutely indescribable. I’ve got goose-bumps right now.
So, this year is done. Tears are filling my eyes as I think of what is done that will now be left so that greater things can be accomplished. It can be hard to leave behind years as wonderful as this one has been. Even though I know I’ll still be the same person tomorrow, I’m leaving behind a chapter of my life, a chapter that God wrote beautifully.
God has used me this year and through Him I have gained many things in this world. Yet none of them compare to my relationship with my Savior. Indeed, everything grows dim in the light of His incomprehensible and unconditional love. And thus, I will close this fifteenth year of my life with this verse from Philippians 3:7-8.
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Nothing compares to the surpassing worth of Jesus. My lover. My savior. My Lord. My God.