Reflections on Year 22

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It's so hard to believe that today I'm entering into my 23rd year of life. The Lord has definitely taught me a lot during year 22. I didn't always dress like a hipster and have breakfast at midnight [my last chance for that reference, so I had to ], but my 22nd year had a lot of grand adventures, changes, and challenges. So many joys and uncertainties, but one thing IS certain: I got to experience Jesus more fully.

I experienced a deeper sense of dependence on Him in light of my own relationships, leadership roles, and life decisions. I felt Him more closely through the moments of tears and fears, as well as in moments that brought great joy, like being able to travel, join staff with Cru, and meet a whole new group of people who quickly became the best of friends. Joining staff with Cru also included the new desire/calling to move to a whole new area of Tidewater, VA to invest in students there. [That transition should be happening within the next few months! Eeee!]

I saw Him in the ways that He was [and is] so evidently working in the lives of the young women I meet with and how that will always give me life and bring me joy - to see the Gospel work and be displayed through their lives.

I've gotten to realize a little more of His heart for the world and the people in it who desperately need to experience Him too. I got to see more of my own need for Him and how the gospel must be what daily fills my heart's desire to know and be known.

I got to develop more in the areas that He has made me passionate, and also discover different ways that Satan does not want me to chase after those passions. I've discovered that choosing to pursue the Lord's calling on my life of of full-time ministry means that the target on my back for spiritual attacks is as big as it's ever been, which again points me back to Jesus and His role as the ultimate Conqueror.

I've been able to spend time in prayer, asking Him to shape me more into the woman He originally intended me to be, while simultaneously asking Him to chip away at the areas that keep me from being willing for Him to shape me into that woman. This isn't always pretty and means also asking for more grace. Thankfully Jesus gives grace upon grace.

He has shown me His goodness through moments as well as people - people who so evidently hold specific purposes in my life. Countless conversations have been had that have poured more wisdom [and more grace] into my life.

I think this has also been the year that I've been the most vulnerable, which has resulted in more healing, boldness, honesty... and more grace. This vulnerability has also allowed me to be more genuine, and more open to sharing not only how the Lord has worked in my life in the good times, but also how He has worked  [abundantly & graciously] despite my flaws and times when I have been disobedient to Him.

He has given me more of a picture of His holiness and His attributes that are so far beyond my comprehension. Moments throughout this past year have enabled me to [literally] drop to my knees, both to express surrender in some moments and awe in others.

I had mentioned on my 22nd birthday that I wanted to grow more in my reationship with Jesus and gave the coming year to Him. How beautiful it is to look back and see how He has answered that. He always answers. Don't mistakenly think I'm saying that He has answered that desire in all the ways that I would have wanted. If I was able to look ahead and know the ways He planned to draw me closer to Himself, I may have said "thanks, but no thanks." So this year has also given me the opportunity to let go of the possible ways I think I could have done things better. I'm reminded of how it's good that I'm not in control.

So what do I ask for this 23rd year?

The same thing. To be drawn closer to Jesus.

I fully recognize that this next year will bring it's own trials and unexpected sorrows or moments where I just don't know what to do. But it's in those moments that I want to run to Jesus and develop an even deeper dependence on Him. I also fully recognize that there will be times where I don't feel like running to Him. So in advance, I ask for more grace.

I know this next year will also bring unexpected joys. And it's in those moments that I hope to turn to Jesus reflexively to thank Him for His goodness. I know there will be moments where I easily praise myself or my circumstances. Future Jocelyn, it's then that you must recognize that every good and perfect gift is from Him.

How great to reflect on the ways that I've seen the Lord work in my life, not only through this past year but the total of these 22 years. I trust that He will continue to graciously guide and pursue me through this next one.

Hello, 23!

Jocelyn Hepler