As I lay here tonight, pondering whether it will be my husband or our dog to win the snoring contest, my grateful heart began thinking about what a friend asked me last week over brunch, "What are the three best things that happened to you this year?"
Though I gave her an answer, tonight gave me a chance to count all the wondrous miracles God has provided over this past year. Though there are countless testimonies, I will share the ones in which stood out a little more than others.
I have always been a wanderer. This attribute is one I hope to not ever grow out of because it has created countless memories over the years. This past year, I have traveled to more states than ever before. God opened doors so I could peek in and catch a small glimpse of the beauty He has created.
This year I was able to enjoy snowy mountains in Utah, the beautiful horizon in Pennsylvania, the colorful sights and sounds in New Orleans and Nashville, Tennessee. Each state had their own intricate details which made it different from any other state I had ever witnessed.
Learning has also been a great tool along the way. For instance, I can navigate correctly around a map, (although "north" still remains directly in front of me, no matter which way I am facing).
Road trips via vehicle are much more enjoyable than flying. It may take a little longer, but having the chance to stop and literally smell the roses is nearly impossible in an aircraft. Plus, I was coined "Director of Navigational Support & Attractions" on our last road trip.
What can I say, I'm kind of a big deal around these parts.
Learning curves have also attributed to creating wisdom. Such as, good shoes are one of God's greatest gifts, Buccee's really does make a difference and last but not least, I have a tendency to over pack (but not nearly as much as my sister-in-law).
With God's grace, I will continue to learn along the way, seeing more of the west side of the states in the upcoming year.
The next big one is my ̶j̶o̶b̶ , I mean my ...
I have photographed more portraits and events in the last four months than I ever have before. I am not exaggerating. Lord knows my index finger got a serious workout more than any other part of my body (I don't believe in New Years Resolutions so don't worry).
A few months back I wrote about purchasing a new camera and being worthy of doing so. You can find the post here: I AM WORTHY
Since purchasing this camera, and a whole lot of prayer, my photography business has skyrocketed. Unbeknownst to me, God not only opened the door for business but He outpoured creativity more than ever. New ideas flowed like rivers, business plans, networking opportunities, meetings, even personal assistants popped out of nowhere.
It was all in front of me, the whole time. Once delivered from fear, the veil was pulled back and I could see with His eyes.
I know 2018 is going to be packed full of new adventures, with a new creative spin and I could not be more excited to see what my Heavenly Father has in mind.
Mercy and Grace.
I will have another serving please.
Wow, what an exciting year! This year was our first year being married.
You read correctly, between all the traveling, career moves, we began our journey a little over a year ago. Boy were we in for a surprise!
We did not expect to be dropped in the deep end of the pool of ministry but it seemed that is exactly what God had in mind. We began ministering Love & Respect during our honeymoon, we watched God heal our travel guide in Costa Rica. We were not assuming our marriage would be set in 'fast forward' but it was. We went through the ringer, drowning, gasping for air during the summer months and we made it through; with only a mild sunburn.
We learned about selfishness, jealousy, and to our surprise, love and respect. It was difficult but knees knelt and humility and peace restored inside our home. It was then when we found honeymooning, after the trials and tribulations of having it our way. After months of selfishness and pride, we were able to enjoy every coffee shop in Houston, cycling to dinner, road tripping to Enchanted Rock and giggling over wine and cheese.
God had to break us, both of us. He had to strip us each down to our bare knees to realize it's Him, Daniel and Carolyn and no one else.
God taught us to rely not on our worldly mind but to shut our mouth and have ears to hear.
He taught us to pray together and he taught us how to play together.
God made His way in our lives, more than He ever had before. He made sure worship and praise made their way in our daily lives, and digging into the Word created rabbit holes on more than a few occasions.
Most of all He taught us how to forgive; to ask for it and to give it away.
Instead of carrying around a hardend heart from all the inconvenient months, God taught us about mercy, grace and the endless love He provides.
Needless to say, God still wins because He gets my heart yearning to sink in a little deeper, spending more time with my nose in the Gospel, getting lost in the love of my Father for years to come!
Photography by Sara Case of Evoke
It has been a year of experience, wisdom and understanding. It has been filled with more smiles than tears and I know the upcoming year will be even better.
Thank you all who helped me along the way this past year, especially with this little blog. I continue to write what is on my heart and I hope it reaches anyone looking for hope.