Monday, December 31, 2012

A Look Back At 2012

What a year...

If you had told me on January 1, 2012 everything that would unfold and take place in my life over the course of the year, I would have called you crazy! But here I am, a year later, still in awe of all that God has done and all that I've learned. It was a year of crazy changes in my life: college graduation, a move to another state for a job, new friends in a new city, traveling to places I had never been before. I just wanted to take some time to reflect on all that He had done in my life.  

JANUARY: Fresh Start

I knew 2012 was going to be a year of transition. I just had no clue how big those transitions were going to be. God was preparing to clean my slate, to give me a fresh start, and usher me into a new season of life. It was going to be a big year filled with change and I knew it, and I was excited for it. January has always been a month of hope for me; it's a time of the year that constantly reminds of God's love and grace in my life. That my best days are not behind me, but ahead of me. There is hope in January.

I set out to begin the year expecting God to accomplish great things in me and those around me. I was also preparing myself to be ready for whatever God called me to.

FEBRUARY: Renewed Strength and Vision

In early February, ONE Conference in Miami kicked off the month in an extraordinary way. God was getting ready to accomplish some amazing things in Miami and I felt it as I worshiped and learned alongside thousands of people, listening to great men and women of God like Francis Chan, Christine Caine, Greg Laurie, Franklin Graham, Brian Houston and countless others. In a city as culturally and ethnically diverse as Miami, it was a reminder of how important unity is and how we need to stand firm.

Then just days after that conference came to a close, I went out to Dallas, Texas for the C3 Conference. It was the first time I ever really traveled on my own, which was an experience in itself. I made new friends, caught up with some old ones, and learned a boatload from leaders like Steven Furtick, Kevin Gerald, Stovall Weems, Lee Strobel and many others. Between ONE and C3, I had an informational and spiritual overload! I'd never learned so much in such a short period of time and from time to time I still pore over the notes I took that week.

February was a month that drove me deeper and at the same time gave me a focus and a vision to reach up, reach out and reach in; to make an impact for Christ where I was.

MARCH: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

About a month later, Spring Break was my chance to really get out of my comfort zone and do something I'd never done before. I went with CRU at FIU to Panama City Beach for Spring Break, one of the rowdiest party locations in the country, with the aim of reaching out to people there and engaging in spiritual conversations with people.

In my conversations with people, listening and taking in what people thought, what people believed, what people want in life... it was an eye-opening experience. I was blessed to have conversations with these people, some who were very curious, some who were stand-offish, some who were receptive, some who weren't. It was a reminder that many people have a warped view of who God is, a misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christ follower.

It was a powerful and challenging week, but also a fun and enlightening trip that included some quality time with some of my favorite people in the world!

APRIL: Be Prepared, Be Willing

I was entering my last month as an undergrad, about a month away from graduating... and I had no idea what was ahead for me when April 1 rolled around. I began making plans, backup plans, counter-plans to my back-up plans. I was trying to get everything together, plan ahead. And then God tore it all to pieces and dropped something completely different for me: I got a call out of the blue from my old boss and friend about a job opportunity in San Antonio. Before I knew it, I interviewed for the job and got it. It all happened in a matter of days, and I had a decision to make.

God was calling me out. To go out on my own for the first time in my life. To live 1,400 miles away from the only home I ever knew. I had a choice, but it really wasn't a choice at all: Follow God or ignore Him? This was the biggest step and change I've ever had to make up until that point in my life. I was filled with uncertainty and doubt "Can I do this? Am I qualified to do this?" Then I was reminded that God often doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called.

So I said "Yes".


May 3 was moving day. The days leading up to it were the most difficult, filled with good-byes/see-you-laters to the only friends and family I ever knew. The only home I ever knew. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

I didn't know a soul in San Antonio. I barely knew anything about the city other than that the NBA had a franchise there. But I knew God was with me. That first month was incredibly difficult. I was lonely, second-guessing myself, wondering if I had made the right choice. But through it all, God was there. Comforting me, standing with me, giving me the strength and confidence to move forward.  

When the time comes, when a door opens, walk out in faith. God will take care of you.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be afraid; 
do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." 
- Joshua 1:9

JUNE: Lean On God

Everything was so surreal. A new environment, a new reality, a new everything. My feeling of loneliness hit its peak during this period; I missed my family, my friends back home, I missed the comforts of the life I had left behind. I asked God if I had made the right decision, if I had done the right thing. But even in the midst of this time, I pushed forward, leaning on God, who had proven Himself worthy of my trust. When you remember all the times God has proven himself faithful, when you remember the truth of His promise and His word, peace prevails over fear. Joy prevails over sorrow. Even in the midst of your loneliest moments, the God of the universe is there by your side to pull you through. When the silence is deafening, God is there.

JULY: Work Diligently For the Lord

As I moved into the heart of a blazing San Antonio summer, I begin to get into a rhythm. I was enjoying what I was doing, blessed to be honoring God and others in my workplace with the gifts, talents and abilities He had put into my heart. After a couple months of settling in, getting accustomed to my new surroundings and getting into the swing of my work schedule. Having my family visit and cram into my small apartment was also a lot of fun! It helped having loved ones close, plus I was able to learn a few more tricks for living on my own that I wasn't really aware of before I had left.    

AUGUST: God Provides

It was odd spending my birthday away from home, but at the same time it was a chance to take inventory of all the blessings God had provided in grace. A wonderful new church family at Revolution Church, a job I truly enjoyed, new depths in my relationship with God that came as a result of stepping out in faith. God will honor obedience. He will provide for our needs. He will not abandon you. He will not forsake you. Knowing all this and seeing all of it play out as truth in the short time I had been in San Antonio renewed my strength, my confidence and kept my eyes looking ahead at what was to come instead of back at what was already done.


September was an opportunity to really dig deeper, to get more involved. And not only dig deeper, but also build on the foundation that was laid down here in San Antonio. Being involved with a REV Group, our church's community of small groups that meets up once a week, serving on a REV team and greeting, developing personal study habits and truly making an intentional effort to grow and stretch spiritually, physically, and mentally... all of it helped me make a strong push towards the end of the year rather than slow down.

OCTOBER: God Stays The Same

Towards the end of October, after the team that I worked for had its season come to a close in the playoffs, things began to change. Circumstances changed. And with that, uncertainty began to arise. Again. I didn't know if my job was safe. I didn't know what the next step was. I didn't know what steps I should take. All I knew was that even when the circumstances around us change, God does not. When seasons change and new faces show up, God remains true and faithful.

NOVEMBER: We All Fall Down

November reminded me how easy it is to fall down, to make mistakes. That I'm just a man in need of a savior. Like everyone else. I will make missteps. Distractions will come that take our focus and attention off of what really is important. What truly matters. At the same time, forgiveness is there. Grace is there. The consequences are still there, and we can decide how long and how far we drag our missteps for. But when the Holy Spirit is guiding you towards something, you move. You can only try and ignore it, rationalize your actions, deceive yourself for so long before you realize that you are only hurting yourself and those that are around you. Don't waste time chasing things that ultimately distract you from God.

DECEMBER: Focus On God In The Rough Times

When things seem to be falling apart, when circumstances cause frustration and anger, we can choose to focus on the circumstance or on God. To sit there and pout, or pray and move. Tough times will take place no matter who you are. That's just life. How long we're stuck in a bad situation depends on us. As the year ends, I find myself entering yet another transitioning stage. I'm now facing the possibility of moving back home, in the midst of another job search. But while waves of doubt and fear and anxiety try and crawl their way to the surface, I remember all that God has already done. I remember the doors he opened that I never saw coming. I remember Him being there in my loneliness when I was second-guessing myself and doubting the choices I had made.

As I enter 2013, I can say that 2012 was a year of incredible transformation and an experience I will never forget. I learned more in the last 12 months that I ever could have any other way. I can only imagine what the New Year will bring!  

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