Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One is the Loneliest Number

One. Lonely. Uno. Solo. Solitary. Sad. Alone. Unlovable.

Most of the time, I'm content in my singleness. I can be content because I know that God has somebody for me that will love me like Christ loves the church; someone who I will respect and who I can build a live with. Yeah, there's a promise and I can trust in God for it. But there's one specific time when I can't help but hate being single with everything inside of me.

And that's when I'm moving. I never feel lonelier than that. There's not necessarily someone there to help me pack or carry heavy stuff. It's just me when deciding what to take over first; I'm left to my own devices to figure out how in the world to put together the furniture I've just bought. My mom would probably tell you that I've always been the independent type, that's true. But doing this alone is difficult. I'm not saying that it's hard because I need somebody to carry heavy things for me. I can do it myself. There's just something about having someone to complain to, to be frustrated with...someone who is going through the same thing. Or at least the idea of it sounds wonderful...

And then I remember the power of One. Christ. It only took one man to come and reconcile us to God. I remember embarking on the journey that brought me to Orlando two and a half years ago. I remember how all that mattered was that Christ was leading me; there was so much excitement and wonder.

This memory doesn't make packing and moving any easier, but it gives me a little more peace. It makes me smile to remember that me and God embarked on this journey a little while ago and He still leads the way as we step into this new season of life. Being single doesn't automatically make me lonely, sad, or unlovable. When I marry, my name will change, but my identity will still be one who is redeemed by Christ. I will still be His righteousness.

So, as I pack and move down the street, I remember that I have strength through God to make it through this transition. And one isn't really the loneliest number because God's right here with me. :-)

Isaiah 26:3 "Lord, You will keep him in perfect peace, he whose mind is stayed on God." - JDV (the Jessica Dickson Version)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A New Year, a New Season

One reason that I love to start the new year out at church is because I love to think about God will do in the upcoming year so we can dream big dreams about what is to come. I don't like to put God in a box, but for years, He has given me a specific verse that would come to define the theme of my year. New Year's Eve 2009, I didn't feel like He was saying anything particular about 2010, though I was absolutely certain it would be better than 2009. I think that God didn't give me a verse because He wanted to surprise me. I think He's one of the best gift-givers I know.

The theme of my 2010 has been redemption. I have heard redemption defined as the buying back of something that has been lost or stolen. I think it's pretty cool when God redeems even the things we don't even realize were gone. Things such as:

* ideas about marriage and love - I didn't realize how much my parent's relationship colored my
thoughts that people could actually love each other. I'm sure my parent's loved each other in some way. I just developed the belief (not realizing it) that arguing meant that someone was going to leave. Having married friends and living with married folk has certainly helped me see that it is possible to have a successful marriage! And, new friends have shown me mercy that I believe has been straight from God to my heart. Amazing. Now, I am more excited, than afraid, for whatever God will do!

* the fact that people care for me even if I don't make the right decisions all the time. I didn't think anyone would want to be in my life if I was blatantly imperfect. That led me to believe that whenever I made a mistake, that made me unlovable. No so! I am thankful for my counselor who helped me see through the lies I was believing. I am at a place where I can make a mistake and not think the world will implode. It's a much healthier place to be.

* other things that I need some time before I talk about them. They're too fresh, too new, and too personal to share on just a blog. Someday . . .

Until Then
Here are some of my favorite memories from 2010!

* I got baptized in October. It was one of the most amazing days of my life . . . so far, at least. I got baptized when I was little, but it was long before I knew what it was a to have a very personal relationship with the Lord. The day was filled with people I love and who care about me. I felt like it was a great way to celebrate the fact that God has made me new.

The picture is me going down into the water. Yes, I smiled and laughed even then. I was so filled with joy. I couldn't help it! Before I got baptized, I was nervous that I would get dropped and flail around helplessly in the water. I got up there and said, "I'm nervous that..." and before I could even finish, Isaac responded, "We got you." I was immediately set at ease. I felt safe and fabulous. I had a triumphant rise from the water and started to dance the moment I got up. haha. Victory! Cleanliness! Freedom. First breath, again. Newness in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come. I wanted to be baptized because I wanted to say to the world that I'm free.
(When I told my dad that Dwight Howard got baptized there too, he wrote: "Newsflash in Heaven: Superman and Wonder Woman baptized!" :-D I will always remember that. I know how much he loves sports figures.)

* I received my Master of Arts in Counselor Education: School Counseling. That means that I have a degree in Counseling with certification to be a School Counselor. I was blessed enough to celebrate this day with the Rannebargers, my parents, Allison, Megan, and Kim. It was a rainy day, but those are usually the best days to be together because you're forced to be inside and to be together. It was a beautiful day, despite getting soaked; it was also the culmination of what I've been working on for the past two and a half years here in Orlando. That day would have been fraught with anxiety had I not already known what my next step was. I didn't have to worry, though, because . . .

* I got a job as a high school counselor. I am very excited to start my career here in Central Florida. I felt like God was calling me to stay in Orlando this summer, though I wasn't very happy about it. Before this year, I wasn't too keen on staying in Florida very long. God softened my heart and opened the doors for me to work at a school down here that has an atmosphere that makes me want to hum. I am so excited to start!

* I did a photo shoot with KT Crabb! It was such a fun time. I got to dress up and trapse through the grass in my 3 and a half inch Jessica Simpson pumps.

* My new friends Ryan and Lindsay got married in Baltimore in November. I spent some time with my bestie, Kelly Clark(son), where we saw one of the worst plays known to man, watched the Sound of Music, and were just happily together again. Then I went to camp for the wedding weekend extravaganza. It was so much fun spending a weekend with everybody. There's something magical about all being together and getting to know one another that makes the celebrating that much more intense and fun. Also, usually the bridal party are the only ones who get to interact intimately with the bride and groom, but we all got to spend precious moments with them. Another wedding I got to experience this summer was Lisa and Carey's. They are the most adorable couple you'll ever meet; I'm not sure I've actually ever seen two people as in love as they are. I cried through their entire ceremony (though I have to credit myself for this: I DID NOT ugly cry. That would have been a shame). They wrote their vows to each other. It was beautiful!

* I got to spend time with Kim when she drove back with me from Michigan. She had just gotten back from the World Race and I got to hear all about her trip. It was fantastic to spend so much time with her and to see how she had grown as a woman who wants to know God in all of the fullness that He has planned out for her. And over the year, that has grown even more. It's

* Hearing that Blondie is PREGNANT!! She's my first best friend who is pregnant and I'm really
excited to see the little girl!!! She's gonna be a cutie. I'm just glad I can tell people now because the suspense was killing me!

* I turned 25. I was one of those weird people who was super excited to turn 25. I like getting older, mostly because I like memories. You only get memories when you live! I like saying, "Remember when that was . . ." when driving down the road. Or looking back at my journals and praising God for how far He has brought me. hehe. I digress . . . this year, I got a tattoo for my birthday! Happy birthday to me! It's around my wrist area and is my name in Hebrew. A few years ago, God showed me that my name was my character and it was very significant to me. Having the tattoo helps remind me, when I'm frustrated or things are going wrong, who God has called and created me to be. And no, that's not determined by my circumstances. I wear it proudly.

I am excited in the promise from these memories. 2011 is coming, and its open brings a new season for many of us.

New marriages.

New life.


New career.

A path I didn't quite expect.




What has the theme of your year been? What can you look forward to in 2011? I'd love to hear about it in the comments, an email, or even if you want to link to your blog, that would be great!