I can’t really remember what I hoped for and expected at the beginning of 2018. About all I do recall is that I wanted to maintain my grades and make it alive through another school year. And that I was going to enjoy a year of celebration – for the second year in a row. I guess some lessons just take longer to learn.
Still, there was a lot of learning and growth in 2018, and I’m so excited for that. I’m walking into this new and unknown year with a heart full of confidence that life will keep getting deeper and sweeter and more purposeful, because – honestly – that’s just what life with Jesus looks like.
2018 — Highlights & Take-Aways
+ I spent a lot of time in western North Dakota soaking up prairie sunshine and prairie rain, reveling in the goodness of the badlands, reciting poetry and building friendships, dancing and taking in local plays.
+ I planned two surprise parties – and I co-planned a surprise proposal! I think I like surprising people.
+ I attended my very first Bison game. (Actually, I’m pretty sure it was my first college football game ever.)
+ I completely revamped my website. For those of you who don’t know, The Merry Mess started out as “Contemporary Psalmist” in the autumn of 2017. It began as a safe space to share my writing. One year later, it’s become a platform for me to share as much as I can about living life to the fullest as a young Christian woman. (By the way, if that sounds like you, I’ve got a super awesome workbook right here that I developed just for you. It’s totally free; just plug in your email and I’ll send you a copy.)
+ Speaking of my website revamp, I learned so much about celebration, living in the moment, building friendships, and gratitude. I can’t wait to share more of that with you in the coming year.
+ I applied for my substitute teaching license. I want to teach someday and won’t be eligible for licensure for at least two more years – but as it turns out, I’m (99% sure that I’m) eligible for a sub license now. (It’s still processing. We’ll see.)
+ I learned to break up with grace and love and hope – not hope in a guy, but hope in the Lord’s plans.
+ I led a group of five amazing women through Stephanie May Wilson’s small group guide (and I highly recommend it).
+ I missed an entire semester of school because I totally messed up my financial aid. (Oops.)
+ I got a firsthand, hands-on lesson in the all-surpassing sufficiency of Christ. Y’all, I am not messing when I say that I am frail. I’ve come to realize that I need Jesus for the most basic things, like getting along with my roommate and being productive at work. He’s not just my miracle in times of desperation; He’s my daily bread.
And, one of my favorite lessons . . .
+ God is a God of the best. From start to finish, that’s a consistent theme in the Bible. Everything God created in the beginning was good. He put Adam and Eve in the very best environment for their well-being and their literal walks with Him. He gave His people Israel the best standards to live by; He even gave them the best food to eat while they were in the desert. What’s more (because God is a God of abundance, too), God gave humanity the best and highest sacrifice so that we can each have the opportunity to be free indeed. AND, He announced that He’s coming back. Not just to judge and condemn, but to establish a new city with inhabitants – His children – who are fully made perfect, and fully brought into sonship. I serve an exciting, faithful, creative God!
God is making all things new. And that’s what I’m looking forward to and expecting in 2019. Newness of life. A continuation of the good work God started in me. New good works to perform in the pleasant boundaries He has allotted for me. Total provision from His holy hands.
I believe some of that will involve this website. I believe some of it will involve my education and my teaching license. I believe that God has a lot to offer me, and because of that, I believe I have a lot to offer He and His people. I know beyond a doubt that God has written each day for me in His book, and in every day He has made, I will have cause to rejoice and be glad in it.
Friend, I’d love for you to drop any lessons you’ve learned in the comments below! I just love hearing from my readers. 🙂
– Justine Elice