Every year as Thanksgiving Day approaches, I take a look back at the year passed and reflect on the many blessings God has placed in my life.  Thus far, 2011 has been an incredible year filled with unexpected challenges but blessings as well, and I am so thankful for God’s provision. 

Below is my Thanksgiving acrostic for 2011.  Enjoy!

Amanda— What an unexpected blessing to find your friendship at a book signing.  In the past few months, you have blessed my life in so many ways, and I am looking forward to all that is ahead for us in our relationship.

Brandon Heath— His music challenged me and called me to action in seeing God’s people as they truly are and loving them with no strings attached. 

Crazy Love— The first book I read in 2011 that launched me into serving others after witnessing a compelling view of God’s incredible, crazy love for me.

Danielsons— my second family.  Thanks for the Friday night pizza outings, long phone calls, and your love and support.

Editing clients— Thank you for believing in my work and skill as a writer and editor.  I have enjoyed helping to polish your projects and seeing them come to life on the page. 

First Reformed Church— In the words of the Apostle Paul, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).  Thank you, church members, for your love, prayers, and support as I have grown up in your midst.  It has been an honor to serve you through leading music over the past two years.  I am grateful for the opportunity you have extended to me in the job you have so graciously provided. 

Graduation— It was rewarding to finally reach the end of my Masters program in March.  I am thankful for a good education and the opportunities it has given me. 

Hazelnut Tree— my hometown coffeehouse which has been the starting point for many new relationships over the past year.  Thank you for being that place in Baldwin where you can go to just hang out and enjoy some coffee and conversation.  Thank you also for hosting Hazelnut Tree Christmas in the past few years!

Inspiring Scripture, music, and books that have motivated me to keep serving and pressing forward in what God has called me to do.

Jesus Christ, who has continued to prove over and over again that He is my best friend and will never leave or forsake me.

Kim and Katie— two friends who have stood by my side this year and have been such a blessing to me every step of the way. 

Lisa— a dear friend who was truly there for me on one of the most monumental days of 2011.  Thanks to you, I will always remember our bashing of the Bad Banana, haha. 

Marlys— the most incredible camp nurse, friend, roommate, and confidant a girl could ever ask for.  Thanks for the 1:00 a.m. chats and for encouraging me in my quest to reach out to those who are sometimes difficult to love.  Thanks for dedicating your time and energy to all of the trips to Madison as well.  You are truly a blessing!

Nelson— the guitarist, arranger, and producer for “The Promise” single.  Without him, the project may not have even gotten off the ground. 

OneVoice— the praise and worship team that I have recently formed at church.  I am grateful for all of you who have committed to being a part of the journey— Colleen, Kim, Patty, Beth, and Amy.  Thank you for serving Him through your gifts and talents.   

Pastor Tim— a true mentor and encourager.  I am beyond blessed to have you in my life!  Thank you for your support and for giving me the opportunity to serve alongside of you at the church.  Your confidence in my musical abilities has given me such an incredible platform.  May God continue to bless you as you serve Him at FRC. 

Quiet nights in the dark of my bedroom— long talks with my Best Friend and Savior as I battled through even the most difficult times in prayer and silent supplication. 

Recording “The Promise” single— Thanks to Kyle, Nelson, Tessa, AnaLise, Ashley, Lisa, and Britta for making The Promise book trailer all it could be.

Stories— of how God has used The Promise to reach my readers and impact their lives.

Truth and honesty— from friends and family even when it might have been hard to take it in.

Understanding and knowledge— gained through my last few classes and interacting with people of varying backgrounds.

Variety of opportunities— from completing my degree, to giving concerts, to releasing my third novel, to directing YLF, to mentoring individuals with disabilities, to leading praise and worship— I have been given the chance to interact with a diverse group of people and make several connections that could have only become possible through God opening doors along the way.

Wednesday morning Bible Study— with Kim and Amanda.  Thank you, ladies, for being willing to dedicate your time to studying God’s Word and being vulnerable in sharing your life and experiences with the group.  Here’s to digging deeper in our study of prayer in the coming weeks!

Exciting prospects for 2012— Okay, so it’s the closest I could come to using the “x.”

YLF staff and delegates— Thanks for a great summer!  And to Abe, my incredible Treasurer and Secretary, I owe you big time for your dedication and countless hours buried in paperwork.  You are an amazing asset to our program.

Zondervan NIV Bible— a valuable resource for preparing for Bible Study, personal devotions, or quickly referencing a passage.

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