We’re already a few days into February 2019. That’s pretty crazy to me, blah, blah, blah. *insert assorted “the year is flying by already!!!” little nothings*
But since this is the first post on Penprints in 2019, we’re going to take a quick glance back at some highlights from 2018 and then look forward as I share some of my vision (i.e. my “word” for the year, the things I’m looking forward to, etc.) for 2019.
Let’s go, kids.
2018 was not an easy year for me.
A lot of hard things happened, much of which I won’t disclose, but many wonderful things happened too. In no particular order (definitely not chronological), here are some of those things.
- Three of my flash fictions were acquired and published by Splickety Publishing Group.
- I went to The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference with Arielle and Janie (sister and sister-in-law) which was so. good.
- In February, I began to lead the weekly prayer night at my church in Wisconsin. I was privileged to lead it right up until the end of the year. I learned and grew so much through that experience about what it means to lead in the Holy Spirit instead of my own strength as well as the importance of being steadfast in prayer.
- I went to Realm Makers 2018, and my soul was refreshed by time with my beloved creative peeps such as Katie Grace, Jeneca Zody, Nadine Brandes, Ashley Townsend, and more. :)
- I got to hear Sara Groves in concert at an event with Arielle!
- Fawkes by Nadine Brandes released. (Haha, you had to know this was going to be mentioned in this post.)
- Splickety Publishing Group announced that it would be closing down at the end of the year. I started volunteering as a marketing social media assistant person thing for the reborn Havok Publishing, blessed to be able to work with Teddi Deppner and Kaitlyn Emery.
- High Command (my newsletter) finally launched! (If you haven’t signed up, go ahead and fill out this form to receive the monthly-ish package of goodness to your inbox.)
- I visited Texas in June 2018; on December 28, 2018 I woke up in a new home with three wonderful roommates and a new church in which to minister and to be ministered to.
- I released Stars and Soul: A Sci-fi Flash Fiction Collection which received praise from New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee, Nadine Brandes, Steve Rzasa, and Just B. Jordan. (If you’ve been around Penprints for like, 2 seconds, you’ve heard that a few hundred times already, but I just get so excited and floored whenever I remember how blessed I was to receive those endorsements.)
Some of my favorite posts from Penprints from 2018:
- Altars of Remembrance*
- The Stories We Will Tell [my recurring existential crisis about Christian art]*
- Why The Lion King
- My Dear Future [an open letter]*
- When You Don’t Understand the Bible
- When You’re Sad To Be Single
- Things That Wake Up When the Lights Go Out [thoughts on sleeplessness]
- Dealing with Rejection [tips on handling it in a healthy way]
- When Inspiration Doesn’t Strike
- A Love Letter To The Tales of Goldstone Wood [yeah, it’s a fangirl post]
- An Instance When You Shouldn’t Think of Others Before Yourself
- Roll With It & Be Wise
- 7 Tips for Preparing for Church
*if you read nothing else here, read these posts
(I realize that that’s a lot of posts to include in my wrap-up. Out of the 39 posts that went up on Penprints in 2018, one third made this list of my favorites, but I’m actually kind of happy about that. I’ve grown a lot as a writer and blogger and am incredibly pleased with how most of the posts from 2018 turned out. Usually, I look back over the year and cringe over most of them; not so this year. It’s been a joy sharing these things so close to my heart with you guys.)
2019 will be wildly, radically different from any year I’ve lived so far.
For one, I now live in Texas instead of Wisconsin, away from my parents for the first time in my life.
My thoughts about my move and the new year can be summed up thusly: One bullet journal has been closed, and another has been opened. (C’mon, kids. There is no way in heck you thought we’d make it out of a post about a new year without a bullet journal reference [and if you’re surprised that a bullet journal metaphor has been deployed in this blog post, you must be new].)
For another, I am completely surrounded by so many people so deeply in love with Jesus and His gospel of peace. (For those of you who may not know or remember, I moved to Texas to join a church plant; FAQs may be found here.)
Such an environment is challenging, encouraging, and somewhat lonely all at the same time.
Lonely at times because I’ve only been here a month and am only laying the foundations of relationships. But it’s also lonely because fear likes to rise up and tell me that I don’t belong here with these people. It tells me that I don’t love Jesus enough to be here (which is ironic because I gave up much of what I love most to follow Jesus’ call here). It tells me that these perceptive, Spirit-filled people who talk about Jesus an awful lot will see through me and find me a fraud.
But I know that those are fears and insecurities that Jesus will grow me out of.
It is challenging because I know that with and through all of this Jesus will grow me out of many things. Which is challenging because there are some things I’m sure will burn a bit (or a lot) when He grows me out of them.
And it’s encouraging because I know that I have no idea how this year will go. I have no idea the people I’ll get to meet, the things from God’s hand I’ll get to witness, the change for better in me that is not in my hands but His.
“Secure” is my word for this year.
I am secure in the love of the Father. There is nothing that can shake me out of His love or favor.
I am secure in the salvation Jesus bought for me with His own blood. He finished the work, and all I have is grace.
I am secure in the sanctification that the Holy Spirit will keep working within me.
I am secure in the will of my King; He will bring His kingdom in and through my life.
I am secure in the strength of the Almighty; He will empower me to endure whatever trials He will use to refine me.
I am secure in the faithfulness of my God; He won’t leave.
I am secure in the goodness of my Father; He will give me good gifts.
I am secure in my identity in Christ; were all other parts of me stripped away or God asked me to give them up, that one defining gift will never be taken away or laid down.
I made this picture (inserted above) my cover for my 2019 Spotify playlist because it seems to fully capture my vision for 2019–light ever on the horizon, a father with his child, the child so fully trusting that her father will catch her.
The mood and motion and colors seem adventurous and trusting and joyful and hopeful and free.
*insert post bookend here*
That’s some of what I’m thinking of as we continue on in 2019.
Here’s to another year of that gif from Inception (you know the one), Lion King references, loveletters to fire, Nadine Brandes fangirling, and cracking myself up.
What about you? Looking back and then forward, what comes to your mind? What are some of your hopes for the year?
p.s. – it’s good to get back into this, kids. For a while there I wasn’t sure if maybe the season for Penprints was over in my life. But then God said, “I told you to rest, but when did I tell you to stop?” Thanks for reading and commenting (even though I’m The Absolute Worst at replying to comments, I read every single on and am so grateful for them).
After the fun of creating posts with God, this sweet community is my favorite thing about blogging.