A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

Well, here we are. At the end of another year. A year filled with change, meeting new friends, exploring new cities, and learning new things. One thing I have learned to do this year is to trust. To trust that things will work out. To trust that I will have what I need when it's needed. To trust myself, to trust my instincts, but most importantly to trust the Lord.

I made some pretty important decisions in 2014. In February I decided to quit my job and live off of my (lack of) savings for a month. God provided. In March I decided to accept a job in Thailand, a place I never thought I'd want to live. God changed my heart. In April I moved back home with my family and knew I would go insane from frustration and stress. I'm not insane yet (maybe). Those are just a few of countless examples of how I ventured out of my comfort zone and God was there. Like he always is, comfort zone or not.

Whenever God meets me out of my comfort zone, I'm reminded of Philippians 2, when he leaves his home, pure and perfect heaven, to come to earth for the sins of mankind. When he humbles himself to bring me salvation, grace and love.

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
— Philippians 2.6-11

You see, this God guy (or the God guy, if you will), gave up everything for me. And really, the least I can do is live every day and every minute for him. I can do that anywhere I'm living, and I have the privilege to do that over here, where fewer people know the true meaning of Christmas, and what Jesus did when he came to earth. There are thousands of people overseas for that very purpose, sent mainly by the funds that are raised through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (If anyone would get me a Christmas gift, giving to this cause would be it!). This year those funds enabled 1.7 million people all over the world to hear the news of salvation for the first time. But the task is nowhere near done, there are still 4 billion people who have not heard of a creator God or the name of Jesus. Check out the amazing things that were done just this year in the video below.

Fourteen favorite moments from 2014

A letter to a friend from this year that sums up a lot.

Today I began a scripture study about living a great commission lifestyle. The first day challenges the reader to remember why they are amazed by Jesus. As part of that, it recommends writing an email or letter to a couple friends explaining that.

As I write this, I wonder why I need something like that to remind me to speak good words about what Christ has done in my life. He is so amazing, friend!

He has shown me what it is to be a servant. He has chosen me to be a part of his family. God sent him, his blameless son, to live perfectly and to ultimately die in my place, in our place, so we might be made right with God. He has been so faithful, and looking back over my life: college, post grad, moving to Thailand, I can see every bit. Every storm that he calmed, every sin he forgave. Every person he enabled me to touch, every challenge he helped me overcome. I can see where he taught me of my own sinfulness. I can see where he lifted me above the waves and where he held me under them, but held me nonetheless. I can see the friends he provided in the darkest times, the smiles he gave me in the roughest seasons. I remember when I truly felt his presence for the first time in 2010, when I stood surrounded by thousands of people, all praying aloud; I was amazed that he could hear me. Each word. Even the words I didn’t speak. And he chose me to be his child. And he saved me from sin. He saved me from searching. And he saved me to bring the good news of his salvation to others. And right now that means in Thailand. In college it meant South Carolina. And in the future it means wherever I am. He truly is amazing. When I thought of who I wanted to tell this to, you came to mind. Praise the Lord for our friendship. I miss you so much, and I’m thankful for a friendship that merits it.
— December 2014

And to wrap it all up, an infographic.

(Are you surprised?)