Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ending 2013 and On to 2014

Here we are, in the final day of 2013, the first year of this century to have four unique digits (as was pointed out to me a year ago tomorrow). Last night, I re-read my post from the last day of 2012 for inspiration. In that post, I highlighted what had been that year’s best memory and best experience. 2013 did not have a single best memory or single best experience for me, but there were two overarching themes.

The first was the blessing of continuing to be part of the Wheaton College community. One particular highlight was the graduate class I took at Wheaton this summer, Theology of Education. It was an immensely refreshing two weeks of study and discussion with like-minded learners, and I was pleasantly surprised that the content had relevance not just to my work as a teacher, but also to my work in music ministry. In general, it has been great to just be on campus regularly, spending quality time with friends from my undergraduate years who are still there, as well as making new friends among the current generation of students. I could write an entire blog post about my experiences at Wheaton just this year, but suffice it to say I am so grateful it is still a major part of my life.

The second overarching theme was simple yet profound: the grace of God. It was on my mind so much more this year than I can ever remember. From re-reading my journal entries and Facebook statuses, and even just flipping back through my calendar, I see all the seasons that, but for the grace of God, would have been unbearably stressful. But none of them were! Instead, I now have many more stones of remembrance for God’s faithfulness to His promise to never leave me or forsake me. God’s grace was manifested to me in the people He has placed in my life: my parents, family, colleagues, and many, many friends, who are all so instrumental in shaping me and pointing me toward Christ. I would attempt a few shout-outs, but I know I would leave out many important people in every category but the first, so:

To Mom, Dad, and everyone else – thanks for being there this year!

Looking ahead, I really only have one New Year’s resolution. I want to read more books. I read plenty, of course, but the majority of my reading is articles and blogs, not full-length books. I want to shift a bit to a balance between the two lengths. I already have a few on my list, and recommendations are welcome!

However, my main resolution is what I resolve to do every day: to be faithful to God who appointed me to His service (1 Timothy 1:12), to seek the welfare of the city (Jeremiah 29:7) ,and to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8). And to do all that by, and only by, the grace of God, for the glory of His Name.

May the grace of God be yours in overwhelming abundance in Two Thousand and Fourteen!

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