I think it was college when I realized how cool you could be and send everyone you know a letter filling them in on your past year. Some would send pictures (often bad copies of pictures on white paper, but pictures still) and they somehow reconnected me with a friend, family member, or random person on their past year. However, since the invention of the blog (thank you blog creator), I feel like that the annual letter has been replaced. You now get to see how I am doing almost on a weekly basis, if not monthly, and you get a random story or fact about me every time. But, I still want to take a shot at the old annual letter, so grab a cup of something warm (unless you are in a location that is automatically warm, then grab something cool) and settle in...
2004 has been a rollercoaster to say the very least. It started off with me in Elevate and now I'm in Promiseland/Community Care. My time at Elevate needed to end, for my soul, for my sanity. I've loved my transition to Promiseland/Community Care. Working with families who are going through a divorce or trying to learn how to make their marriage work is something that intrigues me. Writing small group curriculum, meeting with potential leaders, spending time with coaches...these are areas that I love doing and don't drain me. For me, rediscovering that I really do love family dynamics and that my college education wasn't so random is great...now if they would only offer me a job.
School wise, I can't believe that I have three classes left in my master's program. 3 classes, 2 quarters, 1 intensive...I don't you truly grasp what that means unless you've experienced the rollercoaster that is Willow. I have learned so much over the past year, about theology, about leadership, about the church in general. It all started last February sitting in a Systematic Theology Class with F. LeRon Shults and having my world flipped upside down was hard, but good and progressing through each course, I finally feel like I have a better grasp on my own theology for the first time ever. My statement of faith (my senior thesis) will help me realize all that I truly believe and though it is overwhelming to write, I'm actually excited to do it. While Bethel as a whole has been lackluster, the individuals that I have met while I am there for 2 weeks in February and July have been the best part of the experience...to my favorite Brit...Classes wouldn't be the same without you!
Of course, the major thing that has changed over the past year would be me. I have worked through some of my core issues, only to realize that I will always deal with them and at the same time realize that I am coming into adulthood...the little 22 year old girl that walked into the program 2 1/2 years ago isn't the same 24 year old woman she is today. I've learned countless things about my leadership, how to lead up, how to grieve with the appropriate people, how to use the filter in my mind on a somewhat regular basis. I have read books that have changed my life, books that I doubt I would have read anytime in the near future, books that I feel every single person should read (in fact, go to Amazon now to order either this one or this one). When I started the program, my friend Dee helped me to see that I am so fortunate to be learning and working through all of this now as opposed to when I am burnt out on ministry and shaking my fists towards a God I claimed was so distant. I've come to realize that my intensity and my passion has never fully come out with anyone including God and thus this begins my latest journey into 2005.
And what do I expect from 2005? I don't know. Expectations are funny things. You must realize your desires and then set your expectations. So, what are my desires? To fully be known and to know, to learn how to love more deeply than I have ever done before, to learn how to fully forgive people from my past and my present, to lead people in such a way that they fully experience the love of the Trinity in fresh new ways...So, what do I expect? I expect that God will show up and I expect that I will be transformed.
And so to you, blog reader, I wish you a very merry Christmas, a joyful new year, and the most unexpected 2005.