Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Year at a Glance...

2008…wow. This has been quite a year…for so many reasons. I have very likely changed more over the course of the last 365 days than I have in any year past. This has been a year of some major events, and has also been a year of some major moving of God in my life. I have been challenged/convicted in almost every area of my life. These were not easy challenges to face…but very necessary. So I’m just sitting here on the plane headed back to Nashville from Texas taking a look back at the year and decided to list out a few notable things from 2008. I’m breaking it up into two sections: 1. Things that I’ve done or that have happened and 2. Things I have learned (which could feasibly be a whole book’s-worth). So here we go…2008 at a glance:

Things I did or that have happened in 2008

  • I started a blog
  • I had a meal with a homeless person(s) for the first time in my life. (breakfast at Mickey D’s, baby! J ). 
  • My sweet 94-year old Grandaddy went home. I would not be who I am or where I am today without him. I can’t wait to see him again.
  • I had my first experience as a maid of honor. 7th time to be a bridesmaid…first time to be a maid of honor. I learned much about how to be a good one and what to do better next time! J
  • I ran in two marathons and LOVED it (which is quite noteworthy considering I hated running before…).
  • I went on my first-ever beach vacation. Yes, I had gone to the beach before …however, I had never actually gone on a straight-up, beach-only vacation. Wow…so great. Thanks again for that, JP and Jill!
  • I started playing basketball again after a year-long hiatus. Reason for the hiatus? This…
  • I helped build a house from the ground-up in Juarez, Mexico. Amazing trip.
  • Harpeth Community Church moved into our very own building!!!
  • I finally made the decision: I’m going to Africa. I’m initially going for only a month (probably in Nov of this next year) and then…we’ll see.
  • I finally got to visit D.C. My cousin, Haley, did a semester-long internship in congressman Sam Johnson’s office. Ross, Melissa and I got to visit her on Labor Day weekend…D.C. is super cool.
  • My best friend in the whole wide world got engaged. I’ve told her so many times throughout our lives: “I can’t wait to see who you marry one day”…and now I know. It’s a little surreal, to be honest. 
  • Texas Tech football KICKED TAIL! (I’ve never been more proud to be a Red Raider).
  • I got to witness the transformation of a youth group. I could talk about this for hours…and I have. But God has completely changed the heart and mentality of the HCC youth group from inward-focused and consumerist (is that a word?) to outward-focused and missional. I have witnessed CRAZY love happening in that group. And it’s only the beginning of what He’s going to do…I can just taste it.
  • I wrote a book. This actually started in the fall of '07, but I have been writing a book/Bible study (aimed at teenage girls) on falling in love with Jesus ( that can adequately be broken down into a book). It’s not 100% done, but it’s in its final stages…
  • I met my twin…no, not my biological one. This fall I met a girl named Jenna through a mutual friend of ours in Atlanta. I am not sure that I have met anyone quite so much exactly like me…it’s kinda freaky, actually.
  • I met Shane Claiborne (not my twin…I wish).
  • I was introduced to and got involved with Against the Grain ministry in Franklin. It’s a ministry that works with single moms and at-risk children in Williamson County. I am mentoring a couple of the teen moms in that program…they are becoming true sisters to me.
  • God turned my world upside-down…yeah…no big thing.

Things I learned in 2008

  • The more I know about God, the more I realize I don’t know…which is awesome.
  • I am actually capable of standing and moving on a skateboard. A ton of kids in the youth group skateboard. I have fought it for a couple of years, but I finally gave in a few weeks ago. I’m still in the early stages of learning…but I have to admit - I’m actually enjoying it.
  • I am far too materially rich. This is something I’m still wrestling with. And the more I give away or donate, the more I wrestle with it. So I don’t know if God is calling me to do something else about it, or if this is always a tension that I will live with as long as I live in the U.S.? Hmmm…
  • I love backpacking. I’ve been camping before and I’ve been hiking before, but I went on my first actual “backpacking” trip this fall. And I had a stinkin’ blast. I’m so ready for the spring so I can go again.
  • Christian persecution is greater now than ever in the history of the world. I taught a lesson to our youth a few weeks ago on this. Preparing for that lesson was truly eye-opening. I want to know Jesus the way those martyrs knew Him. I want to love Him the way they did.
  • I so desire to live more simply (see 8/4 post - )
  • “Family” is not simply biological. I live 15 hours away from my biological family…not always an easy thing. However, God has blessed me with an incredible “Jesus-family” in Nashville. They mean the world to me…
  • There is no one else for me but Jesus. A question that hit me hard this year was: “Am I more in love with the things of God than God Himself?” It was a hard one…but what a shame it would be to miss out on the greatest gain! (see 11/17 post for more - )
  • The “system” is ugly (much to say about that one)
  • I LOVE PHOTGRAPHY. I had my first-ever official photography gig this year (my friend Mollie’s wedding) and had SO MUCH FUN! These were a couple of my favorites…
  • I need Africa more than Africa needs me (see 12/3 post)
  • God doesn’t always remove that “thorn in your side”…but it is what keeps you dependent upon Him and pressing into Him. And for that, I am thankful.
  • What my ministry needs most from me is not cool new programs or methods of teaching…but someone who has an angst to sit at the feet of Christ. (Thanks for that, Matt Chandler).
  • I am so in need of His grace. I have far to go…
  • I am not that cool…thank goodness.
  • I am blessed beyond words. 
(If you've actually made it to the end of this entry, I applaud you...and encourage you to do a 2008 re-cap as well!! :)


melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
melissa said...

yeah for uncoolness, persistent thorns, and growth. and a new day.

Katrina Hope said...

Hey Melanie, This is Kati, Kim Keith's little sister. I found your blog the other day through Kim's and I really enjoyed reading your entry...hope you don't mind if I read??

I am really encouraged by what you write!

Hope to see you all soon in Nashville!

jackie said...

What a fulfilling year! It made me want to look back on my own year. It is crazy how fast a year can fly by. Let's hope you can add to 2009, "a great weekend with the basketball girls!!" By the way, you are totally cool!

Jenna Monforte said...

Your twin wants a copy of your book!

Erin Faubus said...

What a good idea! I don't think that my 2008 would be quite as interesting or as good as yours was! God is definitely using you in so many awesome ways.