Sunday, December 29, 2013

The 4th Day After Christmas: Top 13 "God Things" of 2013

Whew, day 4 of my countdown to the new year! That means that in 3 days, it will officially be 2014! Are you just as excited as I am?

Among all the clothes, makeup, and food I had this year, my faith had also gone through lots of trials and tribulations, causing for many revelations and lessons learned for me. I've learned the term "God thing" this year when lots of friends of mine would refer to amazing acts of God or crazy situations working out as a "God thing." "It's a God thing." I had some awesome moments with God this year, and I want to share them! It also happens to be Sunday today, haha. 

1. Money. 

I know that it's a cliché thing to say "he's provided for me financially," but it's true! Paying for school has been a huge pain for me (and crap I just remembered I have to financially register for school soon), but I've always been able to somehow come up with the money for it. And I was blessed enough to have two paying jobs for this year. They don't pay as much because they're not paid by the hour, but just having my own income to help with my day to day expenses is really nice. 

2. My relationship with Darell, my boyfriend.  

I'll talk more about this tomorrow when I talk about love lessons I've learned this year, but I firmly believe in the concept of grace and the impact it plays on us. God's grace has truly covered Darell and I because we definitely don't deserve the blessings we have together. Darell has been such a blessing to me, and while God is still working on both of us, he is still definitely using us in each others' lives in crazy ways. 

3. Vanguard's amazing community. 

I'm pretty sure I've talked about my school's community before. I've met some of the sweetest and most people in my life there! Whether I was stressing about school or other personal issues, you can always count on the people to be there for you. Spring semester earlier this year, I found comfort in my floor sisters and a couple upperclassmen girls, including one who just graduated this semester. This past semester, I got to know one of my professors really well, and she was a great source for knowledge and advice on anything if I needed it. 

I had left my old home church earlier this year to find one that I could be more actively involved in with school and a few other reasons. Leaving the church was hard because of the relationships I had developed, and having to look at other churches to go to was hard because I seemed to find a hard time finding where I fit. I thought I found my church for a while, but I soon realized how hard it was to get connected to the people of the church and other aspects of it, even though I enjoyed the church. I found the church I'm at through Darell, and it's been such a blessing to be part of the community there. I feel so much like myself and feel like I can be honest about myself without judgement. 

5. Getting the chance to go to Peru!

Okay, so my story with Peru is a little weird. After coming back from a mission trip to the Philippines three summers ago, God had put it on my heart to South or Central America for my next mission trip, I just didn't know when.

When my school announced the mission trip locations for this past summer during fall of 2012, Peru and the Middle East immediately stood out. (There was another Central American country on the list and I'd always had a heart for missionaries in the Middle East.) I got an application to go, but I soon got busy and forgot about the application and the deadline. I'd missed it and was sad but didn't think much of it.

Before the end of that semester last year, a friend had told me that the Global Outreach Department was still looking for people to put on the mission teams. I picked up an application and signed up for an interview time to be placed on a team.

The view of Cusco

The Middle East was my first choice, but was told during my interview that the team was full, but the Peru team was still open. It was my second choice so I immediately said yes to the opportunity!

The hard part was then fundraising over $3000 to go on the trip. The money was due on the last business day before the trip (which was a Friday since we left on a Sunday), and as the time came closer to leaving, I still was missing a lot of money. I began to panic and scrambled around for money as my mom told me that everyone who donated would be angry if I didn't get to go (they wouldn't have gotten their money back if I ended up not going).

On that Friday afternoon before leaving, I had finally fundraised all my money, and with a sigh of relief, I could focus on packing. It was one of the most stressful times in the process, and God had really come through to get me to come. There were two instances where I thought I wasn't going to go, but it ended up happening to me!

6. Baby Harumi

Probably the person who had impacted me most while in Peru was a little three-year-old girl named Harumi. From the moment I saw her I loved her but I didn't know why. I just thought she was an adorable little girl. However, when I heard her story the next day, I realized that I had loved her because I thought the thing she was most insecure about most was the most beautiful part about her.

See, Harumi was born blind. Since she was born, she's gone through a few different surgeries to improve her vision and (at the time) was now able to see through glasses. As a baby, she is already self conscious about how she looks with her eyes and glasses, and last August, she went through one last surgery for her to be able to see perfectly through one of her eyes (her vision was already fine with the other). I had felt such a strong urge to talk to her and her family and told her how beautiful she was and that I believe that she will one day be able to see without her glasses. I was overcome with emotion and bawling my eyes out when I heard her story and when I was talking with her afterward. Little Harumi has stolen my heart and I think she is so perfect. I hope I get to hear an update from her soon.

7. Royal Family Kids Camp

Here, I was a counselor to two little girls with some behavioral issues, which made this week extremely exhausting. Despite all that, the week was worth it because I got to see true joy in the eyes of these children. At the end of the week, my co-counselor's child was crying because she didn't want to go back to the group home she was placed at, and my heart broke. I didn't know what she was going home to, but I immediately knew that it was so bad that she held onto my co-counselor, hysterically crying and begging her not to go home. It was one of the saddest things ever, and I realized how blessed I am to have the situation I have.

8. Blogging

Starting this blog has opened up so many doors for me. It's allowed me to make some great connections, meet great people, and fueled my passion for telling stories and sharing it with the world. I've learned so much in the past seven months that I've had this blog, and I am so blessed with how much this blog has impacted me. I am even more excited to see how God will use this blog next year and where it will take me.

9. Roommates

This year I'm thankful for my roommates. At first, it was only me and Alissa, and our similar backgrounds allowed us to click immediately and have a very honest and meaningful relationship. We are able to be ourselves with no masks or strings attached with each other in the comfort of our room.

Then, halfway through November, I got a new roommate, Megan. I was really shocked and frustrated before she came because of space, but her openness has allowed the three of us as roommates to bond and be raw about ourselves with each other. We can speak our minds and talk about our struggles with no judgements and all encouragement, which I love. I'm excited to get to know Megan more next semester and even after that.

I love both of my roommates and am so thankful for them. I don't know where I'd be without them. I love you both, roomies!

10. Being more honest about my story.

If there's anything I've learned about going to a private Christian school, it's that people know how to hide their issues really well. It's ironic because as Christians we're supposed to be honest with each other and not pretend that we're perfect. Because of that, I try to be honest about who I am with people that I trust and hope that my story inspires them to be honest too or that it helps them to understand me in a better light. It has so far helped strengthen my relationship with other people and has helped me to realize that I am not alone in my struggles, and the feeling is so much more comforting than feeling like I need to put up a façade.

11. God using a really good friend of mine to help me with something I never realized.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I was so overwhelmed with stress that I didn't realize it until a friend of mine had asked me the simple question, "How are you?"

At that point, I had to force myself to really think about that and be honest with him and myself about my stress that I was feeling at that point. That encounter had helped calm me down for the rest of the semester and gave me a peace that I couldn't comprehend. God had clearly planned for that situation to happen.

12. Hillsong Conference

I had always wanted to attend a Hillsong event, but never thought it was possible. Darell bought me a ticket to go to the conference with him to celebrate our birthdays, and it was so amazingly beautiful and cool. He used an expired coupon code to get us our tickets--and the code worked! That conference had opened my eyes to so many different possibilities and had filled me up with joy in getting to worship with thousands upon thousands of other people openly and in an iconic place like Nokia Live. I hope I get to attend another conference soon.

13. Exploring being an introvert

Okay so I might've been a loner this year. But I appreciate all the time that I did get to spend by myself because it gave me time to process my life. These past few months were the first time that I had ever been okay with being alone because of my extroverted nature.

The time alone has allowed me to reflect on different things in my life, and I have appreciated just having time to think out loud. When I talk to God, I talk out loud because I process things through conversations. Because I spent so much time in my room, I didn't have anyone else to talk to but God. It is something that I am still getting used to being okay with, but I have realized that being alone is okay in a healthy context. I am, by no means, not depressed, and this time to myself has helped me learn to be okay with it and resting. Loneliness is a form of rest (at least for an extrovert haha).

So those were my top God moments of the year. On a deeper level, it's been a rollercoaster, but this year has been my best year yet. I am so thankful for everything and I just can't wait to take on next year as long as I have God by my side.

Tomorrow I will be counting down my top love lessons for the year, so come prepared to read a lot and ready to contemplate lots of things! I'm excited to share them with you.

Until then,


  1. Kiselle, So glad that you visited me as it gave me the opportunity to come & visit you. It looks like this past year provided you some wonderful experiences & plenty of growth. May God continue to bless you & grow you in 2014!

    1. Hi Joanne, thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I really appreciate it. I pray that God will bless you too!


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