As a Christian woman, I have thought for many years that I was living the Christian life. I mean, when I became a Christian, I committed my life to Jesus, right? I attended church faithfully, led Bible studies, directed Bible School, prayed, took sick people meals. I considered myself a "mature" Christian and I did love the Lord with all my heart. Well, with some of my heart...When it fit into my schedule.. When it didn't require me to get out of my comfort zone....When I was in control... When it didn't take too much of my money.
The year 2011 has been a year where I gave to God what was already His. I was already a Christian, but he didn't HAVE my life. I learned to look at every single interaction with every person, every day, as a divine appointment set aside for me by God. Everywhere I went, I knew God would lay before me opportunities to share His love and His grace. I began to act upon His leading and what a year I have had.
I saw the work of His hand in 2011 in many situations and was rewarded with the joy of seeing people experience His love, over and over.
I was privileged to work hard for our church's VBS and prayed, believing, for the Lord to send 500 children. I experienced the JOY in seeing more than 500 come and many children accepting Christ. I joined in the service of the SHINE soup kitchen and have experienced JOY in cooking meals with my friends as if Jesus himself was joining us for dinner. I saw God perform miracle after miracle in restoring the finances of SHINE, providing a donated shuttle van for SHINE and more than doubling the people being served by SHINE.
I got the awesome privilege of coming to know a precious, previously homeless woman and seeing her accept Christ in the Walmart parking lot. I experienced JOY when I was able to open our home to her for a week. I experienced JOY in watching her eat a chic-fil-a sandwich for the first time and taking her to her first ever dentist appointment. I experienced JOY when I was able to join my Sunday School class and put new shoes on the feet of over 50 children and hand them a backpack of school supplies. I experienced JOY when a 12 year old boy wrapped his arms around me and said, thank you. I experienced JOY in watching hungry people receive food and hurting people receive love. I experienced JOY in seeing our personal finances multipy beyond our expectations, despite the fact that we gave away more this year than we ever have. I experienced JOY in watching the faces of hurting kids receive a hot meal, a new coat and a Christmas gift. I experienced delight as I got to see many Christians come to know the joy of serving through SHINE and a missions day at church called "I Love Easley". I experience JOY every day as I see God doing a work not only in my life but my husband's life. We are seeking to follow the vision He has given us for 2012 to open a Dream Center for hurting, hungry, homeless and hopeless people and seeing them find hope in Jesus Christ. We saw God raise $100,000 in two months and bring together a group of people ready to make it happen. I have learned to be patient because in our timing, His plan can't come together. His timing brings all things together for His purposes. I am nothing on my own which is the best material God can use and receive Glory. I fail every day and he picks me up and reminds me who He is.
I do not know what 2012 holds for me, however, I do know WHO holds 2012. I am thankful that I have finally truly given God each day, one divine appointment at a time. What He has given me is unspeakable JOY and PEACE in knowing His way is the best way and all I have to do is FOLLOW HIM. I hope and pray 2012 will be the year many will come to know Jesus and many others will give Him what is already His.