Processing the Last Year in Light of Psalms 23 & 24

A few weeks ago I heard a sermon on Psalms 23 and 24 and I can’t stop thinking about the implications of these two passages. Don’t you just love when that happens?

I’ve been planning to post a blog about Psalm 23 in particular, and when I went to write it I realized it was almost July 14th, so I decided to wait and combine my posts. Some of you may not realize the significance of this date, but exactly a year ago today three friends and I set out on our cross country adventure from SoCal to DC. I won’t go into the details of that trip here or about why I uprooted my life to move back across the country (after moving from Boston to SoCal six years earlier), but you can read about it in this post where I announce my big move news. And for fun, you can read about how I was feeling three weeks before the move and one week before the move.

But, back to the blog at hand :); we all know I ramble.

change-quotesAs I thought about the truths in Psalms 23 & 24 and realized it’s been a year since I left California, the two thoughts collided; the aftermath of which was beautifully enlightening and deeply comforting.

Psalm 23 describes the Lord as a Shepherd. This psalm is often a passage that’s read at funerals or used for comfort in troubling times, but my recent studies have reminded me of the rich truths and encouragement it offers for all seasons of life. As one of His sheep, the Lord leads me, never leaves me, always knows what I need and in what season I need it.

Psalm 24 declares the Lord as the King of Glory. Not only is He near to His children, but He is King over all and will be glorified no matter what. He is all powerful, mighty in battle, all knowing, and He is the one who established the earth and all of its inhabitants. Nothing in my life is out of His control and He is the author of my salvation.

When I think about the last year of my life, I am immensely comforted by these two Psalms. When I think about the events and realities of the last four months I find great hope and rest in these two passages. Not only have I experienced all four seasons that DC has to offer in the last year, but I’ve walked through several seasons of my life and relationship with the Lord in the last year.

I’m grateful to be on the other side of this past year, reflecting on all that’s happened and all I have learned.  

This last year has been full of amazing and heart breaking experiences, challenging, eye-opening and inspiring circumstances, uncertainties, confirmations and HOPE.

It’s been a year consisting of more changes and transitions than I could have ever anticipated or expected. It’s been a year full of developments that have challenged my trust in the Lord, my perspective of friendship, my ideals and desires to one day have a significant other, my thoughts on celebrating and suffering well with others and so many more of my ideals.

It’s been a year that has revealed my expectations for church life (both preferential and biblical), my desires toward ministry, toward service and how the Lord would use me within the body and His kingdom. It’s been a year that has stretched my comfort zones in more ways than I could explain here and a year that has solidified desires I have toward my career and personal life a like.

It’s been a year that has resulted in new and changed relationships from near and far. I’ve seen friendships grow in spite of distance and friendships strengthen regardless of proximity or circumstance. This past year has been one that’s resulted in glimpses of “what could have been” and “never would be,” to lessons in “what may still be,” “what is worth the wait,” “what’s worth the sacrifice and heartache,” and “what doesn’t really matter in the end.”

This has been my reality since last July.

But as I ponder the last twelve months, I find myself being most thankful for the fact that it’s also been a year that has expanded my understanding of the Lord and His word, my worth in Him, my purpose in Him and my desires to trust Him through every season still.

Psalm 23 reminds me that the Lord has my best interest in mind. He makes me rest when I need it, He leads me through dark seasons of life when I can’t see, He sits me by still waters when I am in need of refreshment, and He comforts me with His rod and staff by preventing me from making unwise decisions or drawing me back to the fold when I’ve wandered too far.  He’s been faithful this past year and all the years of my life, and will continue to be!

Psalm 24 reminds me that my God is in control and no matter what happens He is still the King and will be glorified. No “unexpected” changes in my life are outside of His power or knowledge and all things will work together for His glory and my good. He will win the battle, He has made a way in Christ and I am blessed in Him because I belong to Him.

In light of everything I can wholeheartedly say that it’s been a wonderful year; through the tears, the fears, the smiles and the laughs I can say “thank you, Lord!”

 

 

 

 

 

A Year Ago: December 2013

It was almost a year ago that I revealed my big news to my family; the big news was that I would be moving back to the east coast and living within an hour from them for the first time in ten years. Obviously special news like that required a grand gesture, especially since I had been keeping it a secret from them for almost four months. I literally felt like I was going to burst at the seams if I had to wait much longer to share what the Lord had been doing in my life those past four months (and really since September 2012 – more about that journey to DC here).

As I’ve shared before, after lots of consideration and prayer (from lots of people!) God confirmed for me that I was to move to Washington, D.C. to be closer to family and to help plant Redeemer City Church. By November it was clear that I was going to go, irrespective of what that meant for my existing communities of loved ones in Cali, my job and my everyday life at that time. Once the Lord worked out the logistics and blessed me with the opportunity to keep my job all that was left was to tell my family.IMG_4949

I couldn’t just share this with them over the phone or Skype; it had to be in person. It had to be a surprise within a surprise.

My roomie asked me to share about a cherished Christmas memory for her “Spread the Christmas Joy” blog series and I picked this memory. It was an honor to guest post and to share how awesome it was to surprise my family last year. So without further ado, check out how my “Two Christmas Surprises for the Price of One” turned out.

A Year Ago: October 2013

It’s October 2014 and I live in Washington, D.C. I’m a part of Redeemer City Church, I work from home, and I live only about an hour from my family in Maryland and my dear friends in Virginia. I’m just a short walk and metro ride away from almost any place I’d like to visit within my new city and I’m just a road trip away from visiting my favorite US city, which is Boston.

As I sat in church this past Sunday morning I had a bit of a deja vu moment; but I hadn’t experienced sitting in that moment before, so what was I feeling was familiar? My moment came from realizing that just a year ago I lived in SoCal, went to my CA “home” church, was a part of fantastic circles of friends and connected in community with fellow sojourners in the Christian life, worked in an office (with some amazing people, I’ll add!), used my car to get anywhere I needed to go and had to drop at least $400 and lots of vacation days to fly across the country to visit with my family and friends on the east coast. Not to mention, I haven’t been able to visit Boston since the summer of 2009.

Then I realized that I have been in this moment before – hence the deja vu. It was just 6 years ago (literally it was in October of 2008) that I sat in a chair at Copperhill Community Church and reminisced about how much my life had changed from the year before that. It was such a similar moment because I had just moved across the country about 4 months before I joined Copperhill (from Boston to Santa Clarita). I had similar thoughts of where I had come from, where I was working, the groups of friends and loved ones I had left, etc.

In my second October recollection moment it hit me that within a 7 year interval I’ve done a lot; including living in 3 different major cities. As I look back I’m so blessed to see the Lord’s faithfulness and also to see just how much he spoils the desires of my heart to travel and experience new things. When I was growing up I never imagined my life taking the turns that it has and as each new year passes I pray that I keep gratitude in the forefront of my mind.

Looking back, here are a few things that were going on this time in my life last year and memories I hold dear:

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Dinner with my team at work. Doing the typical “Scorpion” glass hold. I actually told one of my good friends that I was thinking of moving to DC this same night after the dinner ended.

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Walk for Life in Santa Clarita with these ladies. That was a great day and what a great cause to support.

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My view of trees in our neighborhood. Little hints of early Fall for Cali.

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My view from the third floor office in Valencia.

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Bowling with one of my community groups in Cali. Love these women!

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Emilie and I were accidental twinsies to church one morning. This happens often and it doesnt matter what coast were living on :).

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Team “Cops and Robbers” Halloween costume. The two are my partners in crime and will always be. #GB

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My sweet friend Jenna surprised me with homemade, heart shaped pumpkin muffins one morning. She left that at my door before work after a difficult week.

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Saugus Football game with the this crazy crew. Always an eventful time with the Schafer family.

 

New Blog Topic & Series: “A Year Ago…”

I’m adding a new blog topic to my page and I hope to update it at times where reflections lead me to think “wow, a year ago I was [fill in the blank].” Anytime I think in this manner it’s worth writing about and reflecting on what has happened since that time in my life. The Lord tends to use random moments of reflection like these to remind me of His character, to show me how much can happen in a year and to remind me that this life is but a fleeting breath – each day, month and year seemingly passing by faster than the last and in the blink of an eye.

FullSizeRender-2He also uses times with close friends and loved ones to help me walk down memory lane and to process the lessons learned; often those times are filled with both parties recalling times of great difficulty, times of unfathomable blessings, seemingly insignificant moments that changed things for good, and times full of much needed laughter! I often work out my thoughts with close friends over coffee, while we’re running errands or even while doing laundry. It’s a huge blessing to have people in my life who understand my rants of verbal processing; typically done while multi-tasking, and can take what I say with a grain of salt when needed. At this stage in life and with my recent move to Washington, D.C., some of my closest friends live 3,000 miles away now. Needless to say scheduling phone dates can sometimes be difficult; I figured what better way to have those “conversations” than to record portions of His faithfulness and provision in my life on my blog.

If you’re a topical blog browser, you’ll be able to find these type of posts in my categories under “a year ago.” By the way, if you regularly read my posts and haven’t yet subscribed I’m hoping that you will consider subscribing so I can meet my personal goal of getting 30 subscribers before 2015. I’d also love to have guest bloggers contribute to this “life reflections” category of my blog. If you’re willing and/or interested in being a guest on my blog let me know. I’d love to chat about the possibilities! You can email me at ablogseyeview at gmail dot com.

My first post about where I was in life a year ago will be coming this week – stay tuned!