Thankful List 2019

Hey guys! It’s that time of year again. The time for turkeys, stuffing, and family-get-togethers. It is also the time of year when I typically blog about how God has blessed me and worked in my life this year. So without further ado, here is my 2019 Thankful List!

Jesus – I have been a Christian since I was about nine years old but every year, I continue to get more wrecked by His love. This year, I have experienced Him in so many incredible ways and I have had more and more opportunities to share His love with others, which has been absolutely amazing! I have grown a lot in my faith in 2019 and I can’t wait to see how God works in 2020!

Friends – God has truly blessed me beyond measure with the people he has placed in my life. Two years ago, I was in such a different place and struggling to make friends. But today, I can honestly say that I am surrounded by an incredible group of friends who have encouraged me and helped me grow in my faith. I am thankful for the people who have stood by my side and been there for me through the good times and bad.

Family – I am thankful for my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as my spiritual family. These are the people who have seen me grow and these are the people who have shaped me as a person. There’s no way I would be the person I am today without their influence on my life.

Memories – I am thankful for all of the cool memories found within the moments of this year. I am thankful for a surprise pizza run with a group of friends from church on my 21st birthday. I am thankful that I got to participate in two conferences—both which were beyond amazing. I am thankful for the small groups that I’ve been in as well as the two that I’ve co-led this year. I am thankful for times with friends, books that I’ve read, and the classes that I’ve had the chance to take this year, which brings me to my next point…

My Education – I am finally at the point in my college career where I’m taking classes that actually pertain to my major (a double major in Education and Biblical Studies with a minor in Creative Writing). I have had the chance to take an education class as well as some really cool Bible classes. I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to get a college education, even with the grind of homework and finals.

My Church – I am thankful to be a part of a vibrant church body that is passionate about seeing people grow in Christ and reach out to the lost in our community. I am thankful for all of the pastors, leaders, and people in general who have helped me grow. And, I am thankful for the leadership opportunities that I have been given this year—to lead small groups and speak at my youth group. These things have truly been incredible and major blessings.

Food, Water, and Shelter – These are such basic things for so many of us here in America, but they’re also things that so many people go without. We should never take them for granted.

Books – I guess this one shouldn’t come as a surprise from someone whose Instagram name is “authorcourtney1” but this year I’ve had the chance to read so many amazing books – both fiction and nonfiction. Some of my top favorites are Jesus Is, Life Is, and Love Like Jesus by Judah Smith, Crash The Chatterbox and Greater by Steven Furtick, Two Weeks by Karen Kingsbury, and The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon.

Personal Growth – As probably most of you know, I’ve dealt with OCD and anxiety to varying degrees since around middle school, but this year, those things have lessened tremendously. It’s been a process for sure, and I can’t say I never struggle with this, but I’ve gotten a lot better about handling it (all glory to God!!!) and it is far less severe than it used to be. I have also become more confident, more outgoing, and more genuinely at peace with life.

Freedom – Again, something that many of us take for granted, but that we should all be thankful for.

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How about you guys? What are you thankful for and how have you see God move? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!!

Some Lessons And Highlights from a High School Graduate

As the year comes to an end, I can’t help but think of all that has changed since I graduated from high school last year. All throughout my teenage years, I was required to write an essay—reflecting on on the ways I’ve learned and grown throughout that year.

Now, even though I’m no longer in high school, I’ve decided to bullet point some of my biggest lessons and highlights from my first year as a college student. Hopefully, with any luck, this will provide inspiration to graduates who are reading this, and nostalgia to those looking back.

Thus, without further ado, here is a reflection of my year!

  • Friendship 

Throughout this year, I have been reminded more than ever of the importance of true friends in our lives. I have written in the past about the closeness of my friend-group and this year, I believe I’ve grown to appreciate my friends on a whole other level.

As I went through some of the more difficult parts of this year, they have been my anchor, as they listened to me vent about everything from crazy professors to my endless job hunt. I have also learned what it means to stay in contact with friends in the midst of ever changing schedules and paths. One of my biggest fears this year was that I’d loose contact with the people who have been like a second family to me all through high school. Nonetheless, I’ve found that with a little effort, a little scheduling, and a lot of texting and phone conversations, it’s not as hard as it seems to remain in touch with high school friends.

Especially if everyone makes an effort. 

  • Faith

I believe that my faith has grown immeasurably this year, as it has faced tremendous pressure like never before from outside forces. It was one of the few things I could hold onto as I made my way through a local college and struggled with more personal issues than I’d care to admit. Before this year, I was used to being in the majority as a Christian. After this year, I realized for the first time the stress of being one of the only Christians in my school open about my faith. Nonetheless, I believe that through it all, I’ve grown closer to God and learned to trust Him more in the process. Life doesn’t always make sense in the moment, but through it all, we can always trust that God has plans for us bigger than any of our wildest dreams. 

  • School

Though I’ve maintained high grades throughout my year, school has been one of my most difficult challenges this year. On top of the frightening realization that I’m officially out of high school and an “adult”, I changed my major, changed my career field, and changed to a school better fit for my career aspirations. I have also faced the struggle of shifting through various ideologies and world views at the local college I attended during the fall semester—deciding for myself what I agreed and disagreed with. Nonetheless, as I’ve begun my first semester with Liberty University online, I have regained a love for learning and feel content with my decision for college.

  • Work 

In addition to the excitement of starting at a new school, I have recently started my first real part time job in retail. So far, this has been an excellent experience and I have found it very empowering to have an official job in the workforce. It took a while to find a job, but now that I have one, I believe that the search has been worth it. In the end, I believe that all of my time spent sending in resumes and applying at various stores in the area has been worth it, as I enjoy both my job and working with fellow employees/managers.

  • Responsibility 

Lastly, I have begun to take on more responsibility. Between working, going to school, and driving more, I finally feel that I’m on my way towards successful “adulting”. I have also begun to make more decisions for myself and take on more responsibility—which I believe has been incredibly rewarding.

All and all, as awkward as this year has been at times, I wouldn’t change a thing, as each step helped me grow to trust God more and become a stronger person. We all face trials in our lives, but the important thing is not our struggles—it’s how we handle them. We each go through different seasons, but the important thing is that God is still God in the midst of every season of life, and He has our lives in the very palm of His hand.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 

How about you? How do you believe you’ve grown this year? And if you’ve graduated from high school or college, how did that season of life shape you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

Reflective Essay

Hi everyone, this is an essay that I wrote for my english class about my year. I thought I’d share it with you. 😃

Reflective Essay 

Have you ever looked back on your life, and realized that everything; every pain, every joy, and every ounce of beauty, has led you to where you are today? This has been my experience this year, as I look back on the past four years of high school. There have been times that I’ve felt like I was on top of the world, and there have been times when I felt like I’ve hit rock bottom, but I wouldn’t be who I am today without each and every valley that I’ve gone through. This year has been a wonderful experience for me, and I believe that I’ve grown spiritually, socially, and academically because of it. I’ve accomplished goals and have grown closer to my friends, feeling more like the real me than I ever have before.

This year, I’ve had the opportunity to sing a song that I wrote in a talent show, a dream that I’ve had since freshman year. It took lots of hard work, as dreams often do, but I finally managed to accomplish that goal after years of hard work and dedication. Recently, I was chosen to sing Walk on The Water by Britt Nicole at my high school graduation, which I am very much looking forward to. Both chances to sing on stage have been blessings from God that I am very much thankful for. I have also had more opportunities to share my faith through the internet this year, as I started a blog and a twitter account, giving me a chance to be heard and hopefully, make a difference.

Socially, I have grown closer to my friends, and have realized that God is truly faithful to provide close friendships in your life when you least expect it. A couple of years ago, I dealt with a situation where I lost some of the people who I considered to be my closest friends. I felt really alone and wasn’t sure that I’d ever have friends that close again, but God has provided me with amazing new friends who have proved to stand by me through thick and thin. One of the things that I’ve always loved about the Gospel is how Jesus calls all believers a family. Though I’ve been raised in my household as an only child all of my life, I can truly say that many of my friends are like brothers and sisters to me.

Lastly, I believe that I’ve grown immensely spiritually and as a person. Just a couple of years ago, I was incredibly shy and struggling in my faith more than I let on. Now, standing here today, I’ve become confident in myself, outgoing, and have never felt more alive in my faith. I used to think these things would all come at once, but they’ve come slowly, as God has helped me grow a little more each year. And, I’m all the better for it. I don’t claim to have it all figured out, because I’m still learning, but I’ve come a long way since I was that 9th grade girl walking through the doors of her high school career. I have developed in my hobbies of singing and writing and have learned how to use them for the glory of God. I’ve made new friends, and have grown closer to old ones, as we’ve navigated this thing called “high school” together. I’ve taken a theater class for three years, and have laughed until my sides hurt with many amazing, talented peers. I’ve lived through four years of high school and realized that I never could have dreamed it would turn out this great.

This upcoming year, I’m starting college. I know it will be new and in some ways, quite different from what I’m used to, but I also know that I’m strong enough to handle it. I would like to close with a thank you. Thank you to my friends, to my classmates, to my teachers, to my family, and to all of you who have forever affected my life. Times change and years pass, but memories forever remain, and I believe that these four years are a time in my life that I’ll always remember; a period of my life that I’ll never forget.