'Tis the Last Day of 2009


February 21, 2009
"I'm simply praising God for how good He is, when I deserve nothing."

Looking back over pictures and journaling from the past year, I think this short entry summarizes it pretty well. God is so good--all the time. I am humbled to recall some painful lessons ... but amazed to recognize God's incredible grace to me.

Some other entries bring a wonderful flood of memories; here are a few excerpts...

"God knew ... but I never dreamed!"

"His timing for all involved is truly miraculous, and He's provided..."

"His mercy is evident in the many things He's done through situations, conversations and interaction--that I didn't even realize."

"God was just preparing my heart, because He was one step ahead..."

"The last day and a half have been incredible testimonies to God's grace and faithfulness."

"...God's power and goodness in truly working things out for His definition of good."

A few pictures and notes from this wonderful year:

After signing up to provide entertainment for a banquet, John, Rach and I tried to look official for their ad. :) (It didn't work.)

I've been honored to share time with my three, amazing grandparents this year. In March, Nana Jean moved in with us! What began as a temporary arrangement has opened the door for her to sell her house and move here permanently.

I've played chauffeur for trips and appointments with Papa and Grammy, and always love being with them. Here they are with my cousin when we went to her graduation.

I was able to visit Kaylene during her discipleship program (January-July) in Oregon! Beautiful days, beautiful area, beautiful friend...

The spring violin recital (16 out of 20 students made it!) marked the end of my teaching--for now.

When I wasn't gone ... I was home. I love a Texas summer, a Texas sky, a Texas field.

Continuing volunteer work at the pregnancy center has been major highlight of this year. Besides the exciting projects and growth I've seen there, God's used my time there to teach me so much. The insight and example of the staff and volunteers has challenged me. I have been humbled by the incredible family God placed me in. I have been overwhelmed with the responsibility, and cried out to God. I have had the privilege to share the incredible Gospel of Jesus Christ over and over.
Although, looking back in my journal, I see that "more reading" was a goal this year, I don't think I did too much until mid-year when Dad challenged me with a number of books. Thank you, Dad, for your encouragement.

I joined a team of 28 on an God-ordained adventure in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia! When you try to go without expectations, you expect the unexpected. :) God worked above and beyond anything I could have asked or anticipated.

Four great friends + Thailand = memorable trip

Late summer found me in Oklahoma for a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course, and Wisconsin to join a English camp of students from Tawain and Hong Kong. I met many new friends and learned so much.

After saying good-bye in Tokyo last summer, Rachel and I have kept the phone line busy ... but hoped to see each other in person! I had a great weekend in Pittsburgh in October with her--and got to see several other friends as well.
Naturally, we're really serious when we're together...

A writing project this year falls into no particular month, because it spanned several. It was a highlight of this year, not because of the project or the completion thereof, but because of what God taught me in the process. The topic, God's blessings, intrigued me. The mindboggling concept has been reduced to a religious catch-phrase. As I read and studied, God showed me how His blessings aren't giving me nice things and situations that I appreciate. His blessings are giving me what I need, what will make me know Him more, what will conform me to Christ. His goodness, His sovereignty, His grace, His truth ... these are true blessings.
And naturally, God wanted to change the mental knowledge to heart knowledge. I'm so grateful for His blessings this year to me.

He has allowed the blessing of not knowing what's next, so that I acknowledge my dependence on my all-knowing Author of my life.

He has allowed the blessing of brokenness at sin, so that I experience the power of His grace to me.

He has allowed the blessing of hard relationships, so that I seek His truth.

He has allowed the blessing of changed plans, so that I am amazed at His sovereignty.

God is good, all the time.
"I'm simply praising God for how good He is, when I deserve nothing."


Tosha Payne said...

Laura, I love the picture collages... you did a great job putting them together and writing about your year!

Eunice said...

God has been so good hasn't He? I love you!

Kaylene said...

Wonderful memories my friend. You were a very precious part of my 2009.

Elise said...

Laura! I am so happy that I got to be a part of your year! What blessings I've received through God bringing you into my life!