Monday, October 15, 2012

The Realities of Living Incarnationally.

So there I sat. Frustration. Anger. Disappointment.

Who was I angry with? Why was I so frustrated? Where was this disappointment coming from?

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Christians in Community Development Association (CCDA) National Conference in Minneapolis. It was an amazing experience to connect with like-minded individuals and be inspired by the stories of transformation that was going on in local neighborhoods. To see God's hand working through people like me.

Coming back home. I began to assess my own neighborhood. Where was the transformation happening in my own neighborhood? Where were those life-giving relationships? Where was the interdependence?

To be honest. I can't see it. And this is where the trouble begins.

I began to compare myself to others. To the stories I heard of living incarnationally. From my perspective. I didn't have those relationships with my neighbors. Why wasn't I able to have these type of relationships? Did my neighbors not like me? Am I not good enough? I must not be equipped to do this work.

The feelings of inadequacy grew and grew.

Why am I here? Where is God in my neighborhood, and why isn't he using me?

It's a trap. And these questions are lies.

One of the things I struggle with is finding my own worth in my work, the approval and acceptance of others. I know and believe my identity is in Christ, but struggles are struggles and they creep up every once in awhile, especially in times like this. I am wrestling through this. But I have faith that God is working. Even when I can't see it. I must live by faith not by sight.

God is here, in the Ramona neighborhood. He has ALWAYS been here. And he will be here when I leave. His hand is working.  But he has put me here in this neighborhood during this particular season for a reason. I must have faith that he will use me, in his timing.

So how is God working?
The work that is being done is not outwardly. Its in my heart. God is showing me to live by faith. Not by sight.

He is transforming me and showing me that the relationships that I'm building take time. They have seasons. Times of abundance and times of drought. In the times of drought, where relationships are not so fruitful, it DOES NOT reflect my worth or my ability.

I am believing this is true.

I am learning to take ownership of my assets. As I think about my strengths and what I do well, I am good at developing and fostering growth with people through relationships. Getting to know their story, investing, walking alongside, learning from, and receiving from every relationship.  God has given me the ability to connect and relate to my neighbors. He is showing how to do this day by day.

Today, I took a long stroll around my neighborhood.

My walk way everyday.

One of my neighbors art studio. Bellflower is filled with such a wide array of people!

Sign for a local carniceria

Broken TV set in the empty parking lot next door.

Business along Clark Blvd.

The Artesian.

I made sure I took the time to soak up and allow myself to immerse myself in my neighborhood. The sights, sounds, people.

As I walked through the neighborhood, I kept seeing things like this:
All the vacant businesses alongside Belflower Blvd

All about me clothing. Another recently closed shop.

Lock. Stock, And barrel.

Business gone. Vacant signs at every corner. Even the business that were once booming with enthusiastic owners when I first moved in, now left in shambles, abandoned.


Those are the words I could hear God speaking to me. Loud and clear.

As I saw the run down buildings, empty, broken glass, abandoned. I began to think of how this reflected my neighborhood.

In conversations with my Bellflower neighbors, Bellflower was once the thriving little town. 

In recent times the economy has hit it hard, like it has in most surrounding communities. Business that once thrived, now left to nothing. Foreclosures are a daily occurrence.

Like the buildings. The people here, including myself are broken, empty, waiting for life to be breathed into it.  Searching for revival, a fire back in our bones.

I have been praying that God would reveal needs of my neighbors to me. How can I meet those needs? What are my own needs? Where is my own poverty?

Revival needs to happen here. And its going to happen. God is HERE! I have faith that he is going to do something BIG here. I don't know when and I don't know how. But again. By faith, not by sight

A revival is going to happen in my neighborhood, in my city. My prayer is that God will be seen, in the most unexpected ways. And I know somewhere in there, I and my fellow fellows are going to be a apart of it. Big or small. We are laying the foundations to a transformed Bellflower.

Revival is not only happening outwardly, its happening within me. God is helping me defeat the lies that i believe about myself. The lies of inadequacy and my disbelief in my heart. My worth is not in what I do. It is not in the quality of relationships that I build or what others think of me. It is in Christ. And Christ only. 

I falling in love my neighborhood.  I am falling in love with its unique quirks, the kookiness and I mourn with it in its brokenness but am joyful that God is here to bring comfort to his people in the midst of it. I feel at home. And that is a wonderful feeling. I desire to stick with it through thick and thin. God is here and moving. I feel it in my bones.

By faith, not by sight.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Tasting and Seeing...

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
-Psalm 34:8

I am definitely tasting and seeing what the Lord has done for me!

This past weekend I had a little shindig at my place to celebrate God's faithfulness in my life. Specifically my full-time gig at Olive Crest, an awesome non-profit that I seriously am falling in love with.

Today after I finished cleaning up the house after the party-tornado destroyed our living room (it literally took me 2 hours to clean up), I lied down, exhausted. And a thought came into my head. 'Lord you have been so, so faithful.'

Not just with this job, or this amazing opportunity to serve in my neighborhood. Someone could look at me and say 'Of course Rachel, you deserve this, you work hard, you genuinely care about others, etc.'

I am nothing. All that I have done and accomplished in my life is evidence of God's faithfulness in my life.

Overcome with emotion, I began to write in my handy dandy journal. While flipping through old entries I came across one dated September 11, 2011:

September 2011..

In this entry I was barely beginning to explore this call that I felt was put on my heart to minister to the poor. I had more questions than answers. I wanted to know 'why now?' 'am I really strong enough to do this?' "Do I follow this call?'

As I read this entry again, I see a common theme. Fear. I was fearful of how God was going to play this out in my life. How would he use me? Of course I was not strong enough to care for others. Why me? Why now? I was frustrated with the lack of clarity and direction.

But I also see that I desired to risk and explore this call on my heart to LIVE IT OUT. I didn't know how the hell I was gonna do it, but I was determined.

Fast forward one year. Here I am. Living and serving in my neighborhood. Being mentored and encouraged by like-minded individuals. Working closely with an amazing team to provide a glimpse of God's kingdom in our city. Gaining wisdom from colleagues who were once in my shoes, asking the same questions that I have. I'm learning more and more each day what it looks like to truly love my neighbor. With each up and down, I feel affirmed that this is the place where God wants me.

Sometimes I think. How did I get here?
Two words: Obedience and Faith. (An on going process that never ends! Yay for processes!)

Oh it seems so easy, but as I am still learning it is most definitely not.

So what does this look like in my life?
Trusting that God will provide the next steps. Relinquishing my fear and control and allowing him to do his work.

Easier said than done. In the past year alone, I see how God has turned my world upside down, right side up, and then back down again....calling me to risk and trust him, through joy and pain, heartache, and darkness. 

It has been a crazy year to say the least. He has provided in ways I have never imagined.
Some of those questions I asked a year ago are no longer questions, some have been clearly answered, some are in the process of being answered, and of course new questions have risen.

I will never have all the answers. But I finally feel like I am at a place where I can honestly say that it's perfectly okay I don't have the answers.

One step at a time. I am only responsible for what Lord chooses to reveal to me. I have to be diligent with it and trust that the Lord is lighting my way. He is my foundation.

As I think about the Lord's faithfulness in my life. I can't help but get excited to see where He has taken me. Through the valleys and mountains. Each experience, a new lesson learned, and most importantly my faith is renewed and strengthened. Always forward.

Basically God is the bees-knees.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Week 5: Spare Change.

Sundays. A time to relax and find rest.

The reality is Sundays is a day (for me at least) to catch up on chores, such as cleaning, gardening (or at least pretend to 'garden.), and LAUNDRY.

In our complex, we have a common laundry room, which runs on what else? Coins. Living in an age where practically no one carries change, I decided to take walk down the street to my local liquor store and get some coin-age.

Walking up to the door a voice calls out to me. A man about in his mid 40's. I can't really see him but I hear him.

'Spare change, ma'am?!' His voice weak and crackled.

I panicked.

I tried to make eye contact from a far and mumbled something about giving him change on the way out.

I didn't stop to think.

The past couple of weeks, my perspective on homelessness has changed dramatically.

We are so quick to help the homeless. Either out of guilt or fear. We give them the things we think they need. Food. Money. Clothes. Anything that will stop them from talking to us. 

When we give, it's so easy. We feel good about ourselves. We can check the 'good deed of the week' off our list. On the surface we are doing a good thing. We are called to help one another.

But go deeper.

We are feeding into a cycle of dependency. The homelessness become nothing more then receivers. We rob them of dignity. When we give, give, and give it sends the message the 'I am better than you, you have nothing to offer me.'

A unhealthy relationship forms based on who possesses power.

I am seeking to build relationships with the homeless. To discover the gifts and talents of those in my community and develop those things.

 'Pity weeps and walks away, compassion comes to help and stay.'

I no longer want to help out of pity or guilt, I desire to be compassionate and stay and invest in those around me.

It is so easy to give hand outs. But it takes true patience and compassion to stay and invest, and walk alongside those in poverty.

I am 'relocated.' I have committed to make Bellflower not only a place I live, but home. I desire to understand the problems that my neighbors face and begin to look for REAL solutions.

So now to get off my high horse. I bet you are all wondering what came next.

While inside, all my knowledge and new perspectives came flooding to me.

'No, Rachel don't be a fool. Buy him food and talk with him.'

And that's what I did.

So I approached the man. And as I got closer. I could see that his appearance was unkempt, but nothing of someone who was chronically homeless.

I felt like the wool was pulled over my eyes. I felt foolish. I swallowed my pride and began a conversation with him.

'So where are you staying?'

'I live in an apartment down the street.'

Disappointment and anger set in. Here I am trying to show love to a neighbor and this man isn't even homeless at all.

Out of frustration, I handed him a dollar and walked away, not even looking back.


Did I apply my new found knowledge to this situation. Did I handle it the 'right' way?


I let anger and frustration get the best of me. Instead of asking him why. I took the easy way out and fed into that cycle of dependency because in that moment, it was far more easier than asking him why he was out begging for money.

I think this shows that I am still learning. Even though I am learning so much about what it means to 'love my neighbor' I am still in the process of learning how to actually live it out in my words and actions.   


Heavenly Father, 

It is my prayer that I will live your truth out. To share in the sufferings and pains of others. To stay and invest in the lives of your children. May Bellflower become my community, my home. Help me to learn from my mistakes and forgive me of my foolishness, my pride, and my disobedience. Grant me feet, hands, and a swift tongue that is ready with the gospel. 

Will you banish the lies that the enemy feeds me, telling me that your good work is not possible. That I am not fit for this ministry. Will you help me to constantly see myself as your beloved. A child called to do your good work. May I feel your presence as I go out and engage with my community. Grant me boldness, use me for your kingdom.

Lastly, I pray for my neighbors. Will you be ever present in this place.


Thanks Friends! I promise I will update this more frequently. It's been hard to balance 3 jobs and a social life. But I guess this comes with being a grown up! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week Two: Transition and Changes.

As I approach the end of my second week as a resident of Bellflower. I am realizing some things.

Transition is hard. (No brain-er)
I find myself having to adjust from not being a few minutes away from family. A new environment. Being the 'new kid on the block', feeling like a fish swimming against the current, etc. Pushing past the initial awkwardness and trying to slowly build relationships with my new neighbors. All this while trying to balance personal relationships and work (or lack there of).

This is MY community
About a week ago, I had the pleasure of doing Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) training with CityNet, another non-profit who are connected to KCB. The one thing that I took away from it is this:

'Community Development is not about doing it for people, its about doing it WITH people.'

So simple, yet it resonates deeply. I am learning to have ownership of my new community. These are my neighbors. And I am now a part of the process of being woven into it. This excites me. It motivates me.

I have been crazy busy. But I am excited to share that slowly but surely I am building relationships with my neighbors.

It has been difficult to make the first initial steps of saying hello and making small talk. If you know me well enough, you know that even though I am very people-oriented and thrive in environments with others, I initially am terribly nervous and a bit awkward when it comes to meeting new people. Some have told me this is endearing, but I fear they are wrong. :P

But once again I am reminded that this awkwardness is okay. It's another chance for me to rely on Christ for boldness!

I am reminded of when I was a RA at Biola. My palms would get so sweaty and my mouth would become so dry when I thought of approaching a new resident. But I overcame this fear in time and PUSHED myself.

When I look back at that experience I can't help but laugh and see how God pushed me to be bold.

Well here I am again. Palms sweaty. Mouth dry.

Who knows maybe I will look back and laugh at my nervousness once again!

Here's hoping!

 I do have an interesting story to share.

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of volunteering with a local church that puts on a weekly breakfast for the local homeless community.

I have helped with these type of events in the past. But what made this so different was that instead of being in the background, serving the poor. I was sitting alongside them sharing a meal and sharing our lives together.

As I began to talk to people. The nervousness crept up. My insecurities in my own abilities to interact with people grew as I would hear of the stories of what life was really like on the street, the hopelessness and jadedness that was apparent in their words and faces.

I too began to feel discouraged and jaded. I did not know the words to respond to this.
I began to to think, 'This is so hard. Why am I here?' I am not equipped.'

I realized that I needed to shut up and ask God for strength. Turn off the negative voices and just LISTEN to the words and stop trying to come up with comforting words or whatever.

When I stopped and listened and allowed the spirit to work through me, things fell into place.

I had a amazing conversation with a man, about early 30's. It was strange, our conversation started with him asking me if I have ever gotten high. (Again, I do not know how it got there!), slowly from there we talked about his time in jail and then I found about his children and how he has had trouble finding work.

We talked for awhile before he left. And he left me with this:
'Will I see you next, week?'

You bet.


Pushing myself to be intentional with all the new people in my life. To not be discouraged by the awkwardness or the initial differences that we may have. To not let my insecurities (lies from the enemy!!) get in the way of loving others well. Be bold. Be confident.

Trusting/Relying on Lord for Strength
This week has been a difficult one for me personally. Please pray that I will be obedient in the Spirit for the difficult things I have been processing and find true joy and comfort in his love alone. That as much as I am investing in others, that I in turn will let others invest in and love me. RECEIVE. RECEIVE. RECEIVE.

Thank you friends! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New City. New Neighbors. New Experiences.

When I started this blog, I promised myself I would update it on a regular basis.

So here we are 3 months since my last post, if you are a regular reader, you'd think I dropped off the face of the earth!

 But fret not. I am here.

And if you are here because I sent you a support letter in the mail....WELCOME! :)

In fact I have not been twiddling my thumbs around, doing nothing. A LOT has been going on!

If you have read any of my posts on this blog or even talked to me in person, you know a bit about my journey in the past year as I have tried to figure out this call that the Lord has put on my heart for the urban poor.

For the longest time I struggled with how to make sense of it all. I went to school for Film! I thought I was going to work in Hollywood working on TV shows and summer blockbusters.

But during my last year at Biola, things began to change. I became heavily involved with various ministires, I got to invest in the lives of others and be invested in by amazing teachers and mentors. As I gained opportunities to minister to the urban poor, the more my heart began to break and I realized how much the gospel was needed in the city.

I realized that working with people wasn't just something I was good at, it was life-giving. I began reevaluating my future. My brain began to hurt as hundreds of questions raced through my mind.

Is this just a phase? Am I cut out this? Am I strong enough? What the heck am I gonna do with a film degree?!

A month before graduation I finally came to terms with it. GOD DOES NOT WASTE. He has given me my gifts, talents, and passions for a specific reason. He gives us specific seasons to use these gifts, talents, and passions. I believe that God will provide opportunities to work with the urban poor as well as opportunities to use my talents of film and media.

With that I am excited to share with you what is next for me!

 This summer I will be living in Bellflower, CA as a Community Fellow through a non profit organization called Kingdom Causes Bellflower.  The Community Fellows program is an opportunity for young leaders to gain tangible, hands on experience in Christian community development work. I will move into an under-resourced neighborhood in Bellflower, and will use my time in the neighborhood to intentionally build relationships with my neighbors and help bring about community transformation. The Kingdom Causes staff will provide training and support as we learn about community development, and will cover our housing costs for the year.

I look forward at the opportunity to work with like-minded people to provide a glimpse of reconciliation, hope, and healing that comes from the gospel. I am excited to gain hands on experience doing urban ministry and learning what it looks like to truly love my neighbor. I am looking forward to being stretched relationally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

A year ago, I would have NEVER imagined that I would get an opportunity like this! The Lord has been so faithful to me in the past year. It has been a difficult process, especially in the past six months. There have been times where my faith has been shaken and tested. But I am reminded of this verse: 

'Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.' 
(Psalm 119:105) 

As much as we want to see what our future looks like, we simply can't. What we can do is abide in Christ and TRUST that he will provide in his timing. This is such a difficult concept to truly believe in our hearts (I have my freak out moments from time to time, thankfully I have a few core people to knock some biblical sense into me!) Surrendering our fears to the Lord and allowing him to do his work is very, very difficult!

As I meditate on Psalm 119:105, I see how much this verse is so applicable to my stage in life. He reveals little by little his plans for me, and by faith I must follow. And he always provides. 

Thank you for your support. I hope you will follow me in my journey in the next year! Feel free to subscribe to this blog!

Check out more about Kingdom Causes Bellflower 

-Rachel :) 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A deep seeded faith.

Change is coming.

Short version: God is moving. Taking my life and turning it upside down.

Not into reading long rambling posts? Stop here.

Okay you lost your chance...

I am in a state of transition (I have come to really HATE that word in the past months) and with that dreaded 'T' word comes another bad word....trails. But I have found that my positivity strength is one of my biggest enemies. Because I am naturally optimistic, I tend to disregard my struggles and minimize them.

I have finally realized that I am in a time where things are uneasy. I am living in the 'unknown' A lot of things in my life are 'up in the air.' My job situation. Personal relationships...uh basically my future.

One of the things that I struggle with is control. By nature I like to have everything figured out. I like to know what I am getting into. I like to have a plan.

One thing I am certain of is that God has a plan for me. He is guiding my steps.

Yes! Yes! I know God loves me and has a plan for me. He gives me strength, hope, and wisdom.

Yes I know this. It has been beaten into my head through theology classes, sermons, friends, mentors.

Knowledge can be a very powerful thing. But sometimes we can become numb to the things that we already know.

But sadly the things that have been 'beaten' into my head about who God is are just in my head. It hasn't seeped into my heart.

And isn't that where TRUE transformation begins?

One of the things I am realizing is that I need a genuine faith. I desire to have a  intimate and deeper relationship with the Lord. I am yearning to have a faith that pierces my heart and transcends through out through my actions and words. 

Even though I am in a season of uncertainty. I can feel that the Lord is calling me to go deeper with him. Inviting me to a place where I can learn to what it truly means to have faith in him. What it looks like to rely on him solely. To go to him with all my worries, anxieties, etc.

It is my prayer that in this season you will help to understand the truths of who you are whole heartily. Please give me genuine faith that I can live out for your glory. Transform me. Use me. I desire to be broken and built up by you. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Transition and Trails.

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking a road trip with friends to SF and spending some time up in LA. It was a great time being able to be in the company of good people and just live in the moment.

But now I am back in San Diego.
And reality sets in...

As I left LA. I realized two things:
1. What is next?
2. Have you even prayerfully considered your next move?

The answer unfortunately was no. Since I graduated my life I found myself living a a life of waiting for the next big event. (Christimas, New Years, My birthday, etc) I wasn't considering my future. I longed to be back in LA and finding anyway i could to be back up there. Why wouldn't I? My friends and my solid community were all up there.  But I wasn't praying about it.

My mind has been conflicted. Do I try to continue my post grad life in LA? Or do I stay in San Diego and begin a new life here?

It would be a no-brainer to stop and pray about it. But I think I was fearful of what the Lord might be calling me to do. I kept putting it off. And off....and off....

Leaving LA I realized that it marked an end of a chapter in my life. I realized that I needed to really think about my future, I couldn't put it off any longer. As silly as it may sound, as I close this chapter in my life, I can't help but feel a sense of grief.

I soon came to the realization that my time in LA was a season. I had the privilege of forming amazing friendships, and finding a great community. It was also during this time that the Lord stretched me in ways I couldn't even imagine. I learned what it looks like to risk and be known by others and love others deeply.

I think a part of the reason I was so eager to move back up to LA right away was because I am fearful. I had grown acustomed to my life in LA, it was comfortable. I was known, I had a sense of belonging. I am a little fearful of being home in San Diego, where my community is very limited. I am scared of the loneliness that may come. The thought of stepping out and finding a new church community and being known by a new community scares me.

As I start my new life in San Diego. I know that the Lord is calling me again to risk. Trusting in him that he will provide me with a life-giving community that will continue to strengthen me, something that I deeply desire. Trusting that he will put new people in my life that will encourage and love me. Trusting that he will provide the right opportunities in order for me to make ends meet.

The thought of starting fresh is a very exciting and scary thought. I am excited for what may come and am open to wherever the Lord takes me. But I know that in the midst of excitement and optimism, I will be tested in my faith and patience. I pray that whatever happens the Lord will strengthen and stretch me and use me as a testament to his kingdom. 

While I will deeply miss the relationships that I have formed in the past 3 years. I am learning that relationships evolve and change. I cannot hold on tightly to these relationships and what they used to be, longing for them so much to the point that it cripples me. I have to be intentional as well as having open hands that allow change and evolution to happen.

So here is the tentative plan: Get rooted in good church community in SD, look for part-time work, volunteer with various programs within the city, apply for various community/leadership development fellowships in the LA.

While I do desire to one day make LA my home. I honestly do not know where the Lord will take me. I can only be responsible for the things he has chosen to reveal to me now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Looking Back...

Yes. I am a couple days late, but it's better late than never.

2011. A year of significant growth and changes.

Time seemed to fly but at the same time it seems like it was a long and taunting process. Reflecting here are some of the things I'm taking away.

Finding out who I am in Christ
The past year has been one of tremendous personal growth. I find myself more comfortable with who I am. This definitely comes from me fully realizing my belovedness in Christ and knowing that I am his child. In the past year the Lord has shown me what my gifts are and how I can apply them to his kingdom. It has been and continues to be a sometimes difficult journey as  I learn what it truly looks like to receive his love and grace in my life.

Coming back to the source
Even though I experienced times of great joy this year. I also had my fair share of trails. Dealing with the end of a relationship, grieving the sudden passing of my grandfather and all the emotions of dealing with that. I found myself struggling with extreme heartache and loneliness. It was during these times that i learned that I have to come back to the source. Jesus. He is the ultimate comforter. I realized that it was unhealthy to try to turn to people or things to somehow heal my pain or fix me. Yes, i believe that friends can be instruments in the healing process but without coming to Jesus real healing cannot take place. When we are able to sit and be still with the lord and live in our pain we can experience true healing and ultimate freedom.

Importance of Solitude
2011. Marked my last year as an undergrad. And this is where the freaking out began. My mind raced with questions about my future and where God wanted me. Learning to take the time to break away from the business of everyday life and be still before the Lord and find rest in him has become a vital part of my life that I have reaped the benefits of greatly.

Taking risks and being vulnerable
This is something that I am still working on, but nevertheless I have made great strides in this area. As I learned more about my identity in Christ, I became more aware of my weakness and struggles. In the past year and a half I have realized how important community is and how vital it is to have Godly brothers and sisters come alongside me. I still haven't pin pointed the source but I have a fear of being known by others. It is a scary thing to let people in and see the real me. All my strengths and weaknesses. The good and bad parts of me. But thankfully God has put amazing people in my life that have encouraged me to in my ability to risk and be vulnerable with others and also being vulnerable before the Lord.  It has been a difficult process but I am beginning to see the fruits of this.

Guard Your Heart and learning to love deeply
As I learned what it means to take risks in my life, I also had to learn what it means to guard your heart. And yes, this phrase became some what of a funny joke, but it is true. The Lord calls us to guard our heart. Even now, I still find difficulty articulating words but I am learning to be careful of who I share my heart with while maintaining a balance of being open with my heart to love others deeply.

 The Lord's Calling
In the past months, I feel like the Lord has shown me a glimpse of where he wants me to be. And that's with people. As I finished my time as an RA, one of the things that I loved deeply about that job was being to invest in the lives of others and coming alongside others and help identify and develop others potential. It was such a tremendous blessing. My passion for helping others only continued to grow once I stepped out of that role and I could see the Lord deepening the passion within my heart to minister to others, specifically youth and the poor and underprivalged. Though I am still not sure of what the Lord has planned I trust that he will use these passions within my heart to advance the kingdom.

Patience in the Process
The biggest lesson that I am taking away from this year is PATIENCE. I am a work in process. A process that will never be completed until I am with Christ. As I think about this lesson I often meditate on 1 John 3:2

Dear Friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

My Hopes for 2012

2012. Marks a new beginning for me. I am no longer in college!!! And this is truly where it begins to  count. I am no longer bound by academic schedules or contracts. No one is breathing down my neck to make sure I finish my assignments, go to chapel, or behave myself. I have a choice. My time in college has been one of great growth. I have grown deeply in the Lord. I can either choose to continue to diligently seek the Lord or completely abandon it. Unfortunately i have seen many people go the latter route and become stagnant in their faith or even completely abandon it. I pray that I will continue to seek the Lord with fervor and diligence, growing in my relationship with him and becoming more and more like Christ.

Finding a New Community/Intentionality in relationships
This past year I was blessed tremendously with finding a solid community at City Church. I saw the benefits of living life with such amazing people. But as I transition into moving back home, I know that I have to leave this community behind, at least for a little while. I pray that I will be able to find a new Church that will continue to foster my spiritual growth. It is also my prayer that I will continue to be intentional and invest in the relationships I formed during my time at Biola.

Being Bold in my faith
Pretty self-explanatory. But especially as I reconnect with old friends from home.

Taking risk/Vulnerability 
Yup. I just need to do it. 

Learning to forgive myself
As I have mentioned for what it has seemed like a million times, I have grown tremendously in the past year alone. And you know what that means. Growing pains. At times it has been a painful process, but nevertheless and process that needs to be done. I am realizing that I can no longer dwell on my past mistakes or beat myself up when I stumble. To fully see the beauty of God's forgiveness and grace in my life. I have to be able to let go and forgive myself. 

Job/Clarity in my calling
Student loans don't pay themselves. I pray that I will be able to find a job that will not only pay the bills but also will be a valuable experience as I try to navigate my way into job in the counseling field. 

2012. You should be a interesting year. 

PS-I should also update this thing more often...