December 31, 2018


Truth be told, I started this draft way back in August, when it was hot outside and I could sit in the cool of my air conditioned house. Right now, it's quite the opposite--but that's the beauty of seasons, right?

I've always wanted to be more intentional about my checking in and reflecting on my word for the year come December but haven't been so great about writing my year-end posts. But this year has held so many life-changing moments that I knew I had to document them. Not so much for my personal gain, but for another sign of His faithfulness in my life to re-read when I'm feeling faith-less.

My word for this year was to DISCOVER. As I wrote here, "my prayer behind this word was to ask God to open new doors and help me discover more of Him, to discover more skills/hobbies, and to discover more fears hidden deep within my heart. Fear was my guide for a big chunk of my life. And if I'm honest, it's the place my heart turns if I'm not careful and intentional about my actions."

In the early months of 2018, I found myself in a bit of a desert season. I let one bad habit turn into another, and quickly found myself running farther and farther away from God all while feeling ashamed of not being a better Christian. The struggle was real. But His faithful pursuit caught me and grace covered (and allowed me to discover) the fear that rooted it all and planted those lie-filled seeds in my heart.

And like all God-written redemptive stories, I ended spring with a refreshed heart and had one of the best summers yet. It was the season my heart felt truly alive while also being the most at peace. It was the season I had no idea I needed. And who would have guessed it would involve music? I've always been involved at my church but never really put myself out there until this summer. One email led to another and I quickly discovered a place to share my creative side while serving at the same time. I started to play music on the worship team and helped design the preschool room remodels as well. I never imagined doing either, but God definitely had other plans in mind and I'm glad I followed Him instead of fear.

I thought that that was it for the summer, but yet again, I quickly discovered God wasn't done yet (is He ever, though??). I took a quick trip down to San Diego to meet Amy (she took my photos, too!)--one of the bloggers I've known the longest and who I am beyond grateful to have in my life and corner of the internet. It was the weekend I didn't realize I needed most.

And while I didn't get to do as much as I had hoped, I also got my feet wet in volunteering for Every Child (a program that helps support foster kids and families nationwide). I held tiny babies, cut veggies for freezer meals, and met some amazing women, too.

Fall was a bit of a doozy with a hectic start to the school year. I had fewer student teachers, new classes of kids, and a wandering, broken heart on top of it all. This past month, God's been working with me through a season of disappointment and it's been a really tough battle as He uncovers lies and fears that I thought I had already conquered. But His grace covers all and His mercies are new every morning. Even though I'm still in the midst of processing it all, I can feel change and growth and renewal coming from this season. And now I'm looking forward to the chance to rejuvenate and refresh myself over the break for the new year to come.

So here's to all that I discovered, learned, and grew from in 2018. I'm grateful for the highs and lows, the mountains and valleys because without them, life would be pretty boring. And here's to 2019 as well!

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© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall