''Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you. Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood through the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen"
~ 1 Peter 5:6-11
While I had the best of intentions to stay up to date with blogging throughout the holiday season, here I sit, cup of tea in hand, thinking about the new week beginning which will see life returning to something of normality with my dad returning to work and orders for me to complete.
My new year began with quite a bang - Sunday morning Nancy and I had the special blessing of being able to sing in church with our two dear friends for a special communion service. It was so special to give glory to God through the lifting of our voices in praise to Him...
Early Monday morning we picked up three of my closest friends and headed to one of our favourite spots...Jubilee Creek which is nestled in the heart of the Knysna forest. The five of us enjoyed a morning of chatting, walking in the forest, swimming in the freshwater pool at the waterfall and having a delicious picnic. We came home for cheesecake which was something I really wanted for my birthday. My birthday is actually on the 3rd of January but seeing as I had camp counsellor orientation in the afternoon, we decided to make the celebratory picnic the day before...
On Tuesday, my family greeted me with joyous birthday wishes and gifted me with such sweet and thoughtful items... My mom and dad surprised me with two beautiful books by one of my favourite authors, Beverly Lewis. I had mentioned I wanted to increase my collection of books and now I have The River and The Secret Keeper to read when I have some down time!
For about a week before my birthday, Nancy teased me by saying she couldn't wait to reveal what she had picked out for me... I tried to guess but when I opened her gift, I was truly delighted and surprised...she had bought me a Casting Crowns album as well as the most darling ceramic sugar spoon for my collection of tea items! She is a treasure!
Each my sisters and even little Caleb gave me something small...scrapbook paper, washi tape, ribbon and the most enchanting heart shaped floral tin - all things I absolutely adore and can never have too much of! Oh, they blessed me and my heart felt so full!
That afternoon my dear friend and I headed to counsellor orientation - both of us signed up to be counsellors on a summer youth camp with our church which started the next day. It was a wonderful time of learning and by the time I got home, I could hardly wait for camp to begin!
Camp was a completely new experience for me and I grew in so many ways...I learnt plenty about the Lord and myself, formed close connections with the girls in my group and cried bitter tears upon leaving Saturday morning! I am so grateful to the Lord for the wonderful opportunity this camp presented - it is something I will hold dear to my heart for years to come!
And now I sit here, as mentioned afore... To think that a new year has begun and that 2017 is indeed upon us is mind blowing!
What are my hopes for this year...?
I am not one to make resolutions, but as midnight drew near on December 31st, I penned a prayer for the new year and thought through the ways I hope to grow in the next 365 days...
One very important desire of mine is to draw very close to the heart of God and to seek Him more faithfully than ever before. I long to hide His word deep within my heart and overflow with love and joy for serving Him and leading a righteous, upright life. I do not claim to do it in my own strength, but only by His grace. Therefore, His Word is the lamp to my feet and the light to my path as I journey through this year and beyond. I know not what lies ahead or the challenges I may have to face...but I know He is my ever present help in times of trouble and that His grace is sufficient for me!
One hope I have is to take a piece of Scripture each week and commit it to memory, beginning with the above passage from first Peter...
Of course I have many hopes and dreams for this year, too many to share here in fact. Instead I have written them down in my journal with the intention of referring to them every so often to refresh my memory!
It is amazing to think that the Lord has given me another year to serve Him and to be a light for Him in world of darkness - this is something I do not take lightly. The more I learn about Him the more I realise how much I don't know and so I admit my need to spend more time in prayer and seeking His will for my life.
It is strange indeed to think that I have put my teen years behind me and am now moving on into young adulthood... It is a daunting place to be and often times confusing...however, I pray that Jesus will bring comfort and peace to my heart and show me the way in which to walk.
I do see Heartmade continuing to grow from strength to strength this year...already I am fully booked for the next couple of weeks with a bulk order for ellie softies and reindeer for whenever I can have them completed by! My market stall is also so empty... I was unable to purchase my own sewing machine last year as I intended, but certainly I see my way clear to being able to do so very soon and look forward to that happy day!
It is wonderful making a lovely space for myself in my little bedroom/workroom - it is slowly becoming a haven and a beautifully creative place!
I began decorating my room halfway through last year but didn't make too much progress so hopefully I'll be able to finish the things I set out to do including my quilt which I wrote about here.
Although I don't generally pick a word for the year, something that stood out to me when thinking about beginning a new year was the word intentional. I want to be more intentional about enjoying each day at home, cherishing my loved ones, drawing nearer to my Saviour, embracing the simple pleasures in life and taking time to read a good book, take a walk, bake a cake, write a letter or sew something for the sheer pleasure of it. Life is not a destination but rather a journey.
I don't know where writing on my blog fits in to the picture but I intend to take it one step at a time. Over the years the Lord has given me many other loves as well as the vision for forming a discipleship group for young ladies with Bright Lights. This is something I am prayerfully moving forward in, especially as the Lord graciously provided all the material I'll need for the next year!
I am excited to see where He leads me in this regard and realise that I may or may not have the time to write as often here... I have a peace about this and know I can always pop in with an update...pictures of my handsome little brother or a new project. I have formed some of the most amazing, precious friendships and am so grateful for the wonderful fellowship with like-minded ladies!
Thus, I do not bid you goodbye, but rather farewell for the time being... You are all so dear to my heart and never far from my thoughts and prayers. Please do not hesitate from popping me an email - it is a wonderful joy to hear from my dear friends and I love to respond!
May the Lord strengthen you and fill your lives with His presence, His joy and His grace!
Love and blessings to you, sweet readers...