2011 did prove to be the year that changed everything for me. It's been a huge year of transition and becoming who I studied to be for so long. As any year before, it's been a year of ups and downs, but I am glad to say the ups for me far outweigh any of the downs. I have been truly blessed in more ways than one and any hard time has proven to be a learning experience. I don't think I'd change a thing about 2011. It taught me so many lessons.
I learned to trust God's timing. I was so upset this time last year that I was in college a year late, but now I am seeing that if I graduated on time I wouldn't of gotten the job that I did and I might not have the students that I do now. It was so worth it to make it through an extra year to fit right into the time table that made me and my student's lives intertwine the beautiful way they do now. I wouldn't change anything. Not one tear, not one stressful night, not one meeting in the library, not one of the many times of questioning I had to go through to get to where I am today...it was worth it. It all came together in the right timing. It all came together better than I could have ever imagined back in my childhood days.
I learned that to love, to truly love, you may open yourself up to experience loss. I loved my students in my internship so deeply it felt like I almost broke in half when I had to leave them. I questioned how I was ever going to have a career that took my heart with it every single year. I wonder the same thing today as I think about next year when I won't have the same kids that I do now. I kinda wish that I could be like Mr. Feenie and be their teacher every year until they graduate, but nobody in their right mind wants me to be a high school teacher. Apparently trying to sit high schoolers in your lap when you think they've had a bad day doesn't go over well. Saying "Bye babies! Have fun at recess...love you!" isn't exactly what a teen is looking for. But how can you love little people so much and just let them go every year? I'm not quite sure yet, but what I do know is that any pain I feel from the loss was worth it to love with everything I had and it will be worth it again. To love deeply, I think our hearts have to be brave enough to feel pain. But the pain is worth it. Love is the greatest thing we can ever do for ourselves.
I learned that a nephew is a true treasure sent from the Lord himself. I can't comprehend my life without Samuel and I am so thankful to have him in my life. This morning I was woken up by a light and walked into Molly's room to see what it was. There Samuel was laying there, kicking his feet in the air. When he saw me he smiled so big and wrapped his little hands around my neck. He's growing up so fast. It's like he's no longer just a little baby, but a little person.
I learned that it's easier to grow up than I thought it was. Walking into my internship in January, I had no idea how I would ever manage a classroom by myself. I was terrified out of my mind and felt like there was no way I would find my footing in the scary real world. It seemed so out of reach, but I had the best support behind me and the most encouraging internship teacher that helped me figure out that I can be so much more than I thought I could. I slowly watched myself crack out of my timid shell and blossom into a confident teacher that took control of the room with an ease I never thought would come. It all started to fall into place and I realized that I could do this. I could be a teacher and I was more prepared than I knew. I was proud of who I was going to be and I liked watching who I had become. My last months in college were the most defining and I knew by the end of it that I was ready. Truly ready.
I learned that getting a first job offer is one of the most thrilling experiences ever! I don't think I got over that joyful high for months!! I was so happy and in awe and could not believe that such good things were happening for me. I couldn't believe how I got an offer at one of the greatest places to teach in the entire world BEFORE I even had my degree! It was one of the greatest feelings in my entire life and I will treasure those moments forever. I still think of my little corner classroom and feel so blessed to be where I am. It's almost unbelievable... but thankfully it's true.
I learned that sometimes I'm the bad guy. Sometimes I need to be the one to change in a situation. I learned that I always need to look at myself when offended by another, because I tend to be in the wrong, too. Sometimes I AM the wrong. Isn't it terrible when that's the case?
I learned that sometimes people come and go in my life to refine me. To teach me things about myself and help me realize what I need to work on. I learned that just because things don't work out with a guy, doesn't mean I have to feel offended or be angry at that person. This year has been a notorious year for dates gone wrong from it's beginning to it's end. It's almost comical thinking back on the whole year. Three guys...three guys with colorful stories to tell about each which is like WAY more than I bargained for in 2011. But maybe that's okay...maybe every time I'm getting one step closer to becoming who I'm supposed to be. Maybe I'm little bit closer to knowing what I want, and what I want to be for that person. My person. The person that will be single as long as I am. :)
I learned that God knows what He's doing and gives me the strength as I need it. He has had every encounter, every person met, and every single second of this year in the palm of his hand. There is nothing that was a surprise to Him and there won't be in 2012, either. He has been what has gotten me through this very defining year in my life and I owe any of my success to Him. So many things I couldn't have done without Him and He has given me strength for it all. He has truly helped me in every area of my life.
Maybe the reason growing up isn't as hard as I thought it would be is simply because the Lord has given me what I need to do it. Maybe I don't need to fear the future at all anymore, because He always comes through. 2012 will have nothing in it that I can't handle because I have the Lord to help me through anything.
Bye 2011...you were a good one.