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SWEET SIXTEEN POST + how the Lord has changed my life this past year



Yesterday was my sweet sixteen birthday, a day I have been looking forward to for so long! We had so much fun celebrating, and I am so grateful for all the love and birthday wishes.


As I began drafting this post, I was totally unsure of where to take it. Originally, I was going to write about 16 things I've learned over the past sixteen years, but that didn't quite feel right. There was something on my heart I longed to share, but none of the words I was trying to write adequately expressed that. So I pulled out a notebook and pen, and decided to let the Spirit lead my fingers and the outcome of this post.

 

This past year has been indescribable. To be completely honest, this past year has been one of the hardest yet most joyful years of my life. I've walked through heartbreak, friendship struggles, and a difficult course load at school (and all the stress that goes along with that). I've walked through injuries and a surgery, an ongoing waiting season, and many, many lies that Satan has tried to use to distract me from the promises God has declared over my soul.


Yet, I'm coming out of this past year of being 15 stronger. I'm more joyful and rooted in my faith than ever before. My relationship with the Lord is on a whole different level. I'm still waiting on God for some miracles, and still learning how to navigate some relationships, but I am more at peace than I've ever been. I'm hopeful for the upcoming cross country season and that my legs will be good as new. I'm going into my junior year of high school prayerful and intentional, despite another really heavy course load. I'm not perfect or put together, but I am healing and growing, and I truly feel like a different person than I was when I celebrated my birthday a year ago.


If there's one thing I've learned over the past year, it's that the God I serve is so good, and He is so faithful.


He has come through for me time and time again. He has shown me a love I can't get anywhere else, a love I can't fully describe and definitely don't deserve. The Lord has blessed me lavishly and met me in some of my darkest, most lonely nights. He carried me when I couldn't walk (both literally and figuratively). My God has been and always will be my constant and my source of contentment. He is transforming from the inside out, healing the broken parts of my heart and teaching me what it looks like to thrive in His love and grace. My God is oh so good, and He is oh so faithful.


There's a song by LifeChurch Worship called "Like Your Love", and in that song, they sing, "Your love is never changing but it changes me". That sums up how I have experienced God this past year of my life perfectly. Through the high highs and the low lows, my God's love has never wavered, no, it's always been waiting for me to accept and fall into. I have experienced the Lord's presence and love more clearly than I ever have been, and that is a bigger blessing than I can describe to you. The thing is, you don't stay the same person after you experience that kind of love for yourself. The more I see the Father's love, the more I feel convicted, the more I find myself healing and forgiving, and the more I watch my faith deepen.


I don't know who needs to hear this (or if I'll be the one needing to hear this years from now when I reread this post), but the Father's love is so real. His presence is so real. In our most broken, most hopeless, most anxious, most depressed moments, His arms wrap around us and cover us. We don't always feel it, and the struggles of this life still remain, but we no longer have to go through any of those things alone, because now, we have the God of the universe on our side. He is mighty, majestic, and faithful, and He fights for you. He has a good plan, full of so many fulfilled promises and unexpected blessings. He is not done with our story, friends. I promise you. He wants to show you His love in a new way, a way we could never expect or make up, but in a way that is incredibly personal. He meets each and every one of us right where we are, ready to wrap His gentle arms around us. He loves you, sweet friend. I promise you, because I've experienced that myself this past year, more than ever before. I promise you, because I have learned that our God never, ever fails and He will never, ever let us down. Stick around for the plot twist, because I know for a fact He has one planned in each and every one of our lives, and it's coming in His perfect timing.

 

I could have written a post about all the highlights of being 15 years old. I could have shared all the details of my birthday celebrations. I thought about doing that too, and it there's a chance it would have ended up being more popular or interesting. But as I was praying over this post, I just felt the Lord leading me to write of His love, and in the areas I feel like I've fallen short, His grace will use my story for His glory. I've realized that in the grand scheme of my life, no matter how many more birthdays I get to celebrate, it is all about Jesus. My whole life, every part of it, is for His glory. Every part of my story is carefully crafted by my Father, wrapped in His love, and it would be selfish of me to just pass over that truth. Everything I have, the 5,475 days behind me and however many are to come, are all an undeserved gift from my Savior.


The truth is, I don't have it all figured out, and I'm not perfect. I'm working on overcoming my unbelief, on my tone towards my family members, and on some deep rooted pride issues. But God is so good, and He deserves all the glory.


Before I close out this post, would you pray with me?


Father, thank You so much for the past 16 years of my life. Thank you for the 16 years of blessings, opportunities, and growth. You have given me more than I deserve, and I owe You every second of my life so far and every second that is to come. I pray that over this next year of my life, that I would continue to be more aware of Your presence. Teach me to love on the people around me just like You. Open my eyes to the places You want me to go and the things You want me to do. Thank You for the miracles, answered prayers, and plot twists You have planned for this next year. I love You so much Father, and I'm so grateful. Amen.


Thank you for praying with me. :) How have you seen the Lord's love evident in your life? I would love to hear your stories and testimonies....truly, it means the world to me! Let me know down in the comments below.

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