Well we are officially 6 days into 2009. To think I just got used to writing 2008 on stuff and now I have to switch to 2009. 2008 was probably one of the toughest and hardest years for me yet but at the same time had some of the best moments I could imagine. I struggled a lot with my prayer life and really struggled to trust God in so many ways. I felt very broken and alone at a lot of points throughout the year. I had moments of intesne heartache as I watched my best friend friend deal with the death of a parent and there were days my heart physically ached cause I couldn't see or be around the people I left behind in Wichita. I was made to face my vocation straight in the face and struggle with the question in more intense a way than I had in the past. I had to struggle through readings, papers, and tests. I fell more times than I can count. I found myself in confession more times than I think I ever have in a year. God broke me. He pushed me in ways I didn't think I'd ever be pushed. Yes it was a tough year but It was also a beautiful year filled with so many blessings. I had my crosses but I also had my resurrections. Here are some of the many amazing moments of 2008:
1. Joe's Wedding in Indiana: Seeing a close friend and brother get married and getting to spend time with Guy, Kip, Seth, Sean, Shawn, Stidham, and many other household brothers and friends.
2. Many great late night talks with Dave.
3. Totus Tuus Training: Seeing all my hard work come to fruition and being so proud to have Devin, Josh, and Blake there teaching. It was such a blessing for God to allow me to see a small amount of the fruit He had used me to produce while in Wichita.
4. Franciscan LEAD
5. Mary's Wedding in Rockford
6. Melissa's Wedding in Nashville
7. Josh, Drew, Scott, Ben, Justin, Kyle, Clay, and Garett coming out to visit and spending a weekend in Estes with them.
8. The Jack Johnson concert at the Red Rocks
9. Getting to visit my brothers in New Orleans after two years of not getting to go down there.
10. Thanksgiving in Wichita
11. My cousin Fernando's wedding in Miami and getting to see family there I hadn't seen in ten years.
12. My trip home for Christmas and the 2nd annual Wine and Cheese Party at my parent's house.
13. Having Hugh move out here and having some good times hanging out with him.
14. Building my Peer Ministry Team at the Parish. What an awesome group of teens that have just grown in faith and leadership in leaps and bounds since I first met them.
15. Last but not least, starting to date an amazing girl! I'm excited to see what God does with this.
So here I stand on the threshhold of 2009. So far it has started with a bang! A great New Years Day with Mary Beth, lunch with four of the LEAD guys on Friday, a visit from Blake and Josh that included a TT teacher reunion and a day of skiing. Things are really looking good. I know there will be tough times however. God will continue to break me and challenge me in ways I can't imagine. But I am confident He will continue to pour out His blessings. I have one semester left of Graduate school. I have a thesis to write, jobs to apply for, another summer of Totus Tuus to prepare for, and an amazing girl to focus on. I don't know what this year will bring, but I do know that God is in control and in a way that is a reality I have come to accept more than ever in the past year. I learned it the hard way but I also feel more free than I have in a long time. In the past month I feel like I finally have friends here. I am honestly the happiest I've been in a long time. Probably the happiest I've been since I moved here. But I know struggles are coming and stress will abound as I try and finish my last semester. I ask everyone for prayers with school and that God would guide my new relationship in the direction He wants it to go. Happy New Year all! May 2009 be filled with many blessings for all of you!