Goodbye 2012...

Hello 2013! I just cannot believe that the new year has already come. It feels as though 2012 was just yesterday. So many things have changed in my life this past year and I am the happiest I've ever been. I look forward to so many new things in the next year and there will be many changes in my life along the way. This past year there were so many things that happened that I am so thankful for. God has really blessed me over the past year.

I am so thankful for my family. There have always been there for me and supported me with my crazy, radical ideas about life. No matter what questionable place I talk about going to serve God or how much of my money I want to give away they always support and encourage me to live for God. I feel so privileged to have family like them in my life.

[Dad, Mom, Jon, Me, & Patrick]

[Grandpa, Patrick, Me & Dad]

[Mom & Me]

I love my brothers so much. It has been great to get to grow closer to two such great young men. I've enjoyed getting to hang out with them over this past break and cannot wait to continue growing up together :)

[Patrick, Jon, & I]

[Jon, Me, and Patrick]

The friends I have met this year at Bethel are the best. I could not be more thankful for the advice, support and fun they have given me this year. This semester has been the best ever and I just cannot thank my friends enough! I look forward to many more laughs and fun times during this next year; whether it is dance parties, movies, talking, playing settlers, spot it, or long boarding I know it is going to be fun!

[Taylor, Me, Sarah, Lindsey, & Erin)

[Me, Sarah & Taylor]

[Taylor & I]

[Taylor, Lindsey & I]

[Karli & I]

I don't want to go into the whole story right now, but I am so happy that God brought Nolan into my life. I have been dating Nolan for a little over a month and am just so thankful for him :)

[Nolan & I at the New Years Eve Party]

I am so thankful for the many books I read and sermons I listened to this past summer. God really worked on my heart and changed me into a much better servent for Him. Books such as Crazy Love, Radical, and The Bravehearted Gospel shaped my ideas and strengthened my faith. I also loved sermons from The Church of Brooke Hills. There were also so many people who shaped me this summer. I became so hungry for a new life and people from my church spoke so much truth into my life. I realized that my life is not my own, it belong to Christ and thus I need to live a life worthy of His death on the cross. I need to serve Him with all I am and not let the world distract me from telling others about him.

This summer I hope to be doing children's ministry with kids in Chicago. I think this part of my application describes clearly the change I've experienced this year and my hope for the future.
This past summer I realized God’s calling for my life. I realized that God was calling me to live missionally but I feel as though I’m being called to live that way in the United States. In December I will be graduating with a teaching degree and would like move into the inner city to teach in a school there and bring Christ to a community near my school. Since last summer I have been looking for an opportunity to serve Christ in the inner city through working with kids. I had worked the past four summers with the ambition of making money and now I just want to spend a summer serving. When I found this program online it was a perfect fit for me because it presented me with the opportunity to live this summer in the way I feel God is calling me to live after graduation. I will be able to minister and serve in a Chicago neighborhood this summer and gain the skills necessary to prepare me to enter into a similar mission field after graduation. During this past summer my life radically changed. While previously I spent my Saturdays at the beach or hanging out with friends I spent my weekends listening to sermons, reading Christian books, praying, and spending time in the bible. It was a life changing experience that altered the outlook of my life. In April if you had asked me what my future looked like I would have responded with my hope of finding a good, safe teaching job in suburbia and having a family. By June my outlook had changed! Now all I want is to serve God and minister to others. I want to live a lifestyle that allows me to minister and help those around me. I made several major life changes. I altered the way I spend my money and the amount that I give, tried to take steps to have service be an integral part of my life, and made the difficult choice to end a three year relationship. I just really want to show the love of Christ to the hurting people in this world and I am willing to sacrifice a safe and comfortable life to achieve that. I was put on this earth for a reason and I do not want to waste my life on the ambitions of this world. There are many things in my life that I do love and place my happiness in, but Christ really is the only thing I live for. Without Christ my life would be in vain and I wouldn’t have such a beautiful future ahead of me. I find myself the most grateful and joyous when I am serving others in Christ’s name because Christ is the only thing on this world worth living for.

Happy New Year!

Love, Madison Louise :)





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