2014: A Year of Thankfulness & Grace

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Reflecting on 2014, I can see that every day of this year has been filled with His grace. Even in the days of great pain and suffering I can truly say that God was present and faithful. I have learnt more this year than any previous just how precious a gift Christ dying on the cross to bring me to salvation was. If not for that act of love, I wouldn’t have a relationship with the living God; I would still be lost in the darkness of my sin. If not for His willing sacrifice I would not be indwelt by the Spirit, being renewed within and without. If not for His resurrection I would not have the hope of eternal glory that enables me to endure the hardest of times. He is worthy of all praise!

Over the past week I’ve been sharing some of the best days of this year in my favourite way – through photography – via Instagram and Facebook. It seems fitting to share them here too.

God bless, and Happy New Year, wherever you are!

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In January I saw the first of my close friends get married. Over the course of this year I’ve witnessed numerous friends transition from dating to engagement and have watched new relationships blossom. I’ve been so encouraged by how each of these couples seek to honour God in their relationships as they grow in love and serve Him together.
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In February my fatigue and depression where quite bad. To get me out of the house Dad drove me to our favourite spot. We just sat and watched the sun set and the waves roll into shore. I needed to be reminded that God, who created the heavens and the earth, also made me in His image and died to save me, and is sovereign over my life. I’ve witnessed many sunsets over the course of this year, but this was definitely a favourite.
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In February some of my family gathered to celebrate my Grandpa’s 85th birthday. I don’t get to see my cousins often so when I do it’s really special. It was a beautiful summer day and we spent most of it in the water, swimming and laughing and enjoying being young. It was by far one of the best days of my summer holidays.
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In April I finally got to meet this beautiful girl after months of correspondence, connecting over similar experiences of sickness, united by our Saviour. We spent two amazing days together, watching the sun set and rise from the most beautiful hill in Sydney, eating gluten/dairy/everything free food and talking non stop about Jesus for hours. I am so encouraged by this incredible sister and how she seeks to reflect His love and grace in all she does.
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In June I left my teen years behind and embraced adulthood. This photo was captured on my last day of being nineteen. Chronic illness characterised my adolescence, and I wanted to adventure to the mountains with my family to celebrate how much God has healed me. I’m not where I thought I would be at twenty, but I can see God at work in my life in incredible ways, for His glory.
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In June, in the midst of pre-exam anxiety I escaped up to my Grandpas for the weekend with Dad. We went to West Head, and watched an epic storm roll in over the ocean. Seeing this incredible rainbow form against a backdrop of violent seas reminded me to look beyond the seeming chaos of my own life to the greater purposes of God. He is at work in all things for His glory, and I am thankful that He holds my life in His hands.
IMG_3132.JPG In June, I spent a day with these beautiful women wandering the streets of Balmain, consuming tea and muesli, talking about Jesus and celebrating the 21st birthday of @athenagracee. These sisters all reflect His love and grace in the way that they live, and I am constantly encouraged by the passion they each have to see His name proclaimed. They are a blessing, and this day together was wonderful.
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In July I spent two weeks studying, camping, reflecting, praying and living in community with college first years. My identity was transformed as I realised I’d been defining myself by illness and my achievements, rather than Christ. My relationship with God changed as I discovered the pride that is at the root of my sin. My perception of others was renewed as I learned to live by the forgiveness of sin in Christ. This photo was captured one day after morning prayers on the beach.
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In August, I broke both my arms. In the midst of the pain and depression that inevitably followed, there were a few good days – including this one with Tessa. We adventured to this incredible place and just sat in awe of His creation, praying and dwelling on His sovereignty and faithfulness. What began as a painful day for us both was redeemed and made beautiful by His grace.
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In September, I went on a roadtrip to Canberra with a dear friend to see Floriade (a famous flower festival). She also has chronic pain/fatigue and has been a constant source of prayer, encouragement and support, consistently pointing me to our Father who grieves over our pain and who gives us the strength to endure through each day. Our roadtrip was laughter-filled and a highlight of my year. Pictured: sunset over Lake Burley Griffin.
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In October, I went away with Dad for the weekend. When not adventuring to beautiful places, I spent the time just being still, praying and reflecting on life. Sometimes, the best moments are the ones spent alone with God, in His creation, learning to find satisfaction in Him and not in the things of this world.
IMG_3129.JPG In November, I finished up a great first year at bible college. This little community has been amazing to be a part of – a place of acceptance, love and grace. For the friendships I have made, for the many moments of laughter, for how I have been personally challenged and for the ways I have grown in my relationship with God, I am beyond thankful. IMG_3133.JPG
In December, I escaped with my family to the beautiful Port Stephens. Sunset walks, spotting Dolphins, snorkelling, sandboarding and spontaneous drives to spectacular seascapes were how we spent our days. I can’t get over how stunning this little corner of the world is, and how blessed I am to have shared it with my beautiful family.

Conclusions: 2014 – what a year! A year of new experiences and adventures. A year of brokenness and great healing. A year of growth and transformation. A year of adolescence and adulthood. A year of friendships old and new. A year of light and love and laughter. An amazing year.

See y’all in 2015! x

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