Thanksgiving 2015

Today as I reflect on the last year, I’m thankful. I am overcome with a sense of awe and wonder. So many things have happened in the last year that can only be attributed to God’s sovereignty.

I started working at ABS which I LOVE! I never thought I could enjoy a job this much, but I do. Even though I know I have so much to learn and so far to go, I love the ride and learning every day. I’m thankful that Warren and Brad took a chance on me and have allowed me to create the position as I go.

I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree! Not only that, I graduated debt-free which is something not many people can say. I am so thankful for my professors who guided me along the way, the friends I made, the RSO’s I was blessed to be a part of, and the many advisors and friends that I got to know. Gisela Erf, Alice Griffin, Michelle Pribbernow, and so many others had a significant impact on my life and I can never thank them enough.

I got to marry a man that was no where close to the man of my dreams. He is so much better. He celebrates with me on my good days, gives me his shoulder to cry on for my bad days, and occasionally tells me to suck it up! He keeps me grounded and continuously leads me in our relationship with Christ, and my own. I am so thankful that God saw fit to let me be a part of Tyler’s life. Life with him is so much fun and the good times definitely outweigh the bad. Everything’s not perfect- we fight, argue, annoy each other, say the wrong things, and hurt each other, but we always choose to love one another. We chose to come into this thing knowing there would be days it would be hard to like each other, but we would always choose to love each other.

With marrying Tyler, I inherited a gaggle of in-laws! The crazy bunch they are, they accepted me with open arms and have made me a part of their family. They are loving, kind, supportive, and so much fun! I am so thankful for the godly influence they’ve had on Tyler’s life and the love they show us every day.

I’m thankful for great friends that are so gracious when life gets busy. I’ve been blessed with some of the best, most down-to-earth friends I never asked for, but needed. They’ve shaped how I look at the world and are a part of my framily (not a misspelling)!

I am so thankful for our church family at Calvary too! They have become a family to us and it’s so wonderful being able to see them every week. I’ve been lucky enough to get to teach the middle school girls Wednesday night class and they keep me on my toes! They are so full of life and have a huge desire to learn more about God. I am so thankful that they’re teaching me what it looks like to be on fire for God. Tyler and I are so thankful that God led us to Calvary because it’s full of people in all different stages of life that love God. We have learned so much just in the year we’ve attended and can’t wait to see how God’s plan for Calvary unfolds.

As I wait on my family to come celebrate Thanksgiving with us, I am reminded how amazing they are. Tyler and I are hosting my mom, sister’s family, and my grandparents because we will miss part of Thanksgiving later this weekend. I have been so lucky because I’ve gotten to see first-hand how crazy we all are! Most people would never know their family as intimately as I know mine because most people wouldn’t have to get to know them this intimately. I am so so thankful that I am friends with my family members!

I say all of this to bring glory to God. Everything I just listed and more is only because of God. God’s loving mercy sent Jesus to die for my sins (and yours)! And Jesus, in his own loving mercy chose to accept the mission God set before him. He laid down his own life for me. God’s will is so much easier to see in hindsight and I am so thankful that he continues to guide me even when I’m being a turd. I am so thankful that I can wrestle with God when things get hard and that when I’m finished, He picks me up, dusts me off, and continues to walk with me.

 

“For all You’ve given to me
For all the blessings I can not see
Thank You Lord
Thank You Lord

With a grateful heart
With a song of praise
With an outstretched arm
I will bless Your name”– Don Moen, Thank You Lord

 

 

 

A broken world.

Today, the world lost a good man. Chase Hilton, formerly a Lincoln FFA Ag Teacher, died today. How is not important. Why is not important.

When I had Mr. Hilton as an Ag Advisor, I adored him! He was charismatic, fun, extremely good at his job, and an all around good guy. But I’ll be honest, after he left Lincoln I spent some time mad at him because it was easier. I was mad because I felt he left things unfinished. I was mad because I saw my friends loosing a mentor, a hero even. I was mad. But now the time for being mad is over. Now I can only feel guilt. Guilt for being mad and making sure people knew about it. Shame for not saying hello when I would see him at contests. Sadness for not making sure he knew how much God loved him. Why do we do that? Why do we always wait until it’s too late to be authentic. We’re very good at being transparent and making things about ourselves. Only sharing what we want the other to know. But authenticity, the building of relationships, we wait on. And then we loose the chance to have a true friendship.

For Mr. Hilton, I pray he knew the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. I hope that he did and that he is in Heaven roping the Saints (because Lord knows if there was anything with legs around- he would rope it).

For his family, I pray that they find comfort and peace. Losing a father, a husband, a son, a friend, a mentor, a teacher is never easy. It knocks the breath out of you. It breaks you. Death was meant to break us, brokenness is what points us to Christ. I pray that Rana knows how much Mr. Hilton loved her and never forgets it. I pray that she finds the words to explain this tragedy to their baby girl. I pray that his daughter knows how much her daddy loved her. I pray she remembers the good times and can learn to laugh at the bad.

For them, it will be a hard fight that they will have for a long time. For the family, it will be an uphill battle. It will be hard, but they’ll survive. It will never stop hurting, but it will dull. The good memories will outshine the bad, and they’ll be able to smile and laugh remembering all the funny things he did.

It is for the ones left behind I pray tonight. Know that my heart breaks for you. You are not alone. You are loved. Today, death may have won the battle- but it looses the war. Christ has already defeated the grave and for that I praise God- even in light of this tragic event.

O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?” 1 Cor 15:55