2014. Adventures of the Ruined Life.

This is my 5th “End of the Year” post on this blog. I know it is cliché and redundant, but, I truly cannot believe how fast the time goes. I honestly feel as though I just wrote my “2013” blog. This year has been a blur–a beautiful blur. Another year of the ruined life.

I never thought I’d still be in Melbourne, Florida when January rolled around. I didn’t want to love when I moved back home in 2013. I wanted to get out as soon as possible. The Lord constantly reminded me, though I bitterly fought against it, that this was my home now. It might not always be. It most likely wouldn’t always be. However, at this time, for this season, this was my home, and I needed to be all there. He didn’t make a mistake. I was there for a reason, and my heart need not be scattered all over the country or the world. It needed to be there for my good and for His glory. So, I fought to love. I fought to get involved as best as I could. I fought to make Melbourne my home. I fought to get to know people and to laugh with them and to cry with them. I fought to “be all there”.

As with the previous years, the Lord has continued to break me–continued to rip me, albeit lovingly, graciously discontent to keep me as I am. I have so far to go.

I am tired, Lord.” I prayed aloud as I walked around my neighborhood one night early this year, “I don’t think I have anything left.”

A good friend of mine reminded me one day this year that sometimes the Lord needs to rip us in order to make us more like Him. I confessed that I feel I have little left for Him to rip. But, rip He continues. I fear the ripping is in response to my own prayer; my prayer for Him to ruin my desires for my own glory and selfish gain–for Him to destroy the idols in my life that have taken His place until it is Him alone whom I live for. He works to teach me to long for something better–to long for someone better–to long for Him instead. To replace my idols with Him, the only One who can satisfy my deepest longings, the only One who can give me true and lasting joy.

Rip He continues. The Lord took away my health this year. Earlier this year, I had pneumonia for almost four months. Three months ago, I got out of bed feeling dizzy, and it hasn’t gone away since. Blood tests, MRI and CT scans of my brain, PT appointments, chiropractic adjustments, and all of my money later…no one knows what is wrong with me. Recently, I haven’t been as bed ridden, but, I still feel dizzy and sick every day. The past two weeks I have been mostly completely bedridden, have involved a trip to the ER, and many many tears. But, I resolve that the Lord is good. He has not forgotten me.

I am so unfaithful. Yet, He remains faithful. I have felt, even this very day, too weak to hold onto Him. It is then that I am thankful that He will never let go of me.

I look back on this year in awe of God’s grace. He is so kind. It has been a hard, but, such a FUN year.

I learned to clean, snatch and jerk (i loooove lifting! Can’t wait to get back into it when I feel better). I drove a 26 foot Penske truck around the country and I got a tattoo. I rolled around a stage dressed like a grandma, binge watched Breaking Bad,  went white water rafting, STILL am wearing braces, and met my soulmates when I moved to Columbia. We are officially known as the “321”.

I have, indeed, laughed and smiled 2014 away. I think this year is best told in pictures. So, here we go 🙂

I asked the facilitator of the gym I went to if I could start a women’s Bible study. He was extremely supportive, gave me a key to the gym, and I began meeting with some incredible young women each week, teaching verse by verse through the book of Galatians. Or…I just made them do overhead squats with ESV Study Bibles? 🙂

I ran a 10K. It was awful. But, I didn’t stop. And, I made it.

I turned 25 and woke up like this. Flawless.

I took over as the head ballet, tap, and musical theatre teacher for my babies. We had our rough days, but, nothing beats adorable 4 year olds running at you screaming, “MISS SHARA, I LOVE YOU!” and wrapping you in a big hug. I miss them every day.

Ended my Starbucks career.

Made a come back. Never say, “Never!” has always applied to me and Student Life.

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My LAST summer with Student Life. Orange Team 2014.

I moved to Columbia in August and literally cried from Florida to the Georgia/South Carolina line. Became a full-time Seminary student at Columbia International University. Operation: Become a Master.

Anna and Danielle. My persons. The 321. My roommates. My heart.

Here they are again. Obsessed. I don’t have a picture with Colleen. She is roommate #4. She is perfect.

Spent more time with these beautiful people.

Somehow managed to keep a 4.0 GPA.

Tried really hard to become a hipster. Getting there.

I found this library gem and could not stop laughing.

It’s definitely the prequel to my book, “The Gift of Singleness: When God Calls You, but Guys Don’t.”

No dates in 2014. The Lord is continuing to teach me about finding my worth in Him–and, as one of my favorite blog posts writes, learning that there is nothing wrong with me. This God, His way is perfect. There is no flaw in Him. ( Hey Single Girl http://wp.me/pKoZQ-tb)

I met another new best friend. We’re pretty much the same person. We laugh way too loudly and share a mutual obsession with The Emperor’s New Groove.

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Planning on making berry lipstick my thing. Kind of love it.

Lastly, leaving this place for good. My family has called Melbourne, FL home for 14 years. At the end of this month, home will be somewhere else. So much life has happened in Melbourne. I will always treasure it in my heart.

Here’s to you, 2014.

It’s been painful, and it’s been good. Thankful for the Cross. Thankful for the Gospel.

Four years ago, I asked God to ruin my life. He did. And, it’s still ruined. And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thankful for my ruined life.

-Shara

 I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus–
no turning back, no turning back.

 The world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me–
no turning back, no turning back.

 Though none go with me, I still will follow,
though none go with me, I still will follow,
though none go with me, I still will follow,
no turning back, no turning back.

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