Friend, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that 2016 was one of my hardest years. But out of hard, comes beautiful. He makes Beautiful things! So here’s my year in brief review. My year started off grieving and truly continued in grief but I love looking back and seeing the beauty too. Thank you to all of you who were part of my beauty this year. I’m looking forward to a beautiful 2017! But first, let’s see what God has been up to..

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His Purpose.” Romans 8:28

january

Okay, can I have two? I turned 22 and that was great!! I spent a great day in Birmingham with my aunt and grandmother. I also got to meet Lisa Bevere at Saint James UMC’s Dream Conference and that was awesome! That girl has some serious FIRE in her! I love listening to her and reading her books!  Who knew the strength I would need following that weekend. 

february 

I was thankful to celebrate my sister’s 25th birthday six days early while we looked at apartments for her move to Birmingham to finish her last year of Pharmacy school. Our battle began February 22, I knew it wasn’t good but I never imagined it was what it is. I love this picture because “God Has This.” He has never failed. In this ER hospital bed, He was holding our hands together even when we knew it wasn’t good. I’ve continued holding my granddad’s hand through this battle because I know Who is holding mine. 

march

My granddad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer March 3. After several tests and weeks in the hospital, they believed to have found cancer cells in the fluid lining of the lung that had metastasized from somewhere else. He opted out of having an MRI to see where else the cancer was and decided to forego treatment. The doctor gave him six months to live and later told us he only believed he would live a couple weeks. Through a visit from Virginia Thompson, God gave me the strength to talk to my granddad about Heaven and ask him if he was ready to go. When he told me he was ready, I was at complete peace and almost immediately, the granddad I knew was gone and cancer was taking his mind and body over. 

april

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Franklin Graham visited Montgomery on his Decision America Tour, where in all 50 states he held a prayer rally on the Capital steps for our country. Mr. Graham challenged us to pray for our county, our elected officials and Christians around the world. He said a democrat is not going to change this country, a Republican is not going to change this country… only God can change this country and He will only do it if we call on His Name. “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 

may

I traveled to Honduras by myself. Because of my granddad’s diagnosis, I had to postpone my March Honduras trip and wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to go back because of ministry and family things. But God knew and He opened up a week in my schedule, I used the Delta credit to fly for a week of refreshment and renewal with the Stewarts. (Though my refreshment and renewal consisted a lot of itching and washing my hair more times than I can count hoping for the lice to get out of my hair.) I had the sweetest blessing to speak to the 10th, 11th and 12th grade classes at the International School, a bilingual Christian school in Teguc, about what it means to live as a Godly woman and for the guys- what to look for. Through my quick intro, the chaplain wanted my message to focus more on losing my dad. I learned fast on my first trip to Honduras how much my testimony relates to the kids because so many of them know my pain of losing their dad. While I was there, I also got to attend of missionary Bible study, a Honduran little league baseball game and eat at a local Honduran restaurant. It was total refreshment but it was also a week of learning and growing in my personal life and walk with Christ. 

june 

Can I have two again? (I really need seven) Summer goes by in a flash and by the end, I wonder where it all went. Such a sweet time. Sweet Girl Talk Bible studies take my summer’s #1.. this particular one pictured was the week we talked about encouragement and the girls held hands and said what they loved best about their friend next to them. Some laughed, some said thank you and some shed sweet tears as friends encouraged them. It was also the last Girl Talk at the Glover’s House. We’ve had quite a few.. I also had lots of fun nights babysitting, staying up late and Disciple Now weekend. I will miss the Glovers so much when they move to Atlanta in May. VBS is also one of my favorite weeks. My Pastor and his wife pour so much time into making VBS so special for the sixth grade class. I love this week because I get to help prepare for it, spend time with the Wolfs and I get to grow closer to the sixth grade girls before they move into the student ministry the next month. The music is definitely probably one of my favs too. 

july

Between me, my sister and my step-brothers we live in three different states now. This summer we got to all be at the beach the same time, for I think one day. Ha! Before I left early for Honduras, my mom and I got to have a good lunch at my favorite beach spot.. the Gulf. Oh my sweet Honduras. I never get enough time with my amazing friend, Michelle who runs the girls ministry there.. Grace Home for Girls. Our kindred hearts thrive when we’re together.. at least mine does. So much about my July trip was so sweet.. I introduced Honduras to some of my favorite people, I spent time with my girls and I didn’t get lice.  

august

 

In August, we FINALLY got a girl cousin!!! Katie Jones is seriously the sweetest and I’m so thankful she’s part of our family! She’s a good addition!! Pretty pumped about it! 🙂  I also got to hang out with some rad FBC fifth graders. So much fun swimming and getting to know them as I led devotion with them and talked about being kind and Christ honoring.

september

Our step brother, Brett, got married and we got another sister.. #OneMooreLankford. It was a beautiful day at Lake Martin for a wedding at the SpringHouse! Also, I watched Sally grow up, she was like my little sister all through elementary to high school. She’s a senior this year and it makes me feel really old. But, I was so proud of her when she chosen as Homecoming Queen. She’s so sweet and I can’t wait to see what she does at Alabama.  

october

THE BEST MONTH EVER!!!!

Until July 2017. My sister got engaged to the MAN OF HER DREAMS! And that top picture.. I mean total #famgoals. I couldn’t be happier for my sister and Christopher. And I have the best brother ever!!!! He is the perfect guy for her and I absolutely love seeing her so happy. I cannot wait to see her walk down the aisle and I can’t wait to stand by her side as she becomes Mrs. Lauren Robinson… actually she will be Dr. Lauren Robinson. I’m just still waiting to hear that I somehow get to be a Robinson too… but for some reason, I don’t think that’s how it works. 

november

Lauren asked me to be her Maid of Honor!!!!!! My mom was acting so weird about a card I got in the mail. I can’t remember what I said to her but I know I was wondering why she was being so weird. She was FaceTiming my sister and when I realized it, I kind of got it. At first I was totally trying to be cool and then Lauren wanted me to read it out loud.. I got a couple sentences in and lost it. I cried like a baby!!!!!! We’ve been through so much and things are happy today. I’m so thankful for her! I also got to see my friend, Chris Adams, MC her last Leadership Forum before she retires at the beginning of next year. Chris has spoken so much in my life and my ministry. I’m so thankful for her love, discipleship and wisdom in my life. I’m thankful I got to spend time with her this year before her retirement and I can’t wait to see where the Lord leads her in this next season. (Also, not pictured but I met Jennie Allen and that pretty much ranks #1 in my 2016 book.)

december

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I had the most fun blessing to speak at my high school’s FCA. It was incredible to be able to speak back into the students who are literally sitting where I sat. I never really felt good enough in high school for anything.. academics, sports, socially.. nothing. I struggled a lot in high school but I never let anyone know. I also started teaching Bible study for the first time in high school. I wouldn’t go back to high school, but because of what the Lord taught me about where my identity laid in.. I can look back on high school and be thankful for the lessons He taught me and I can teach them to the girls in my life now. 

My 2016 Favorites:

Book// Hope Heals by Jay and Katherine Wolf 

Author// Jennie Allen

Bible Study Teacher// Beth Moore

Bible Study// Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Speaker// Jennie Allen

City// Tegucigalpa, Honduras 

Restaurant// Wishbone Cafe

When I think back on 2016 in the years to come, I will think about my sweet granddad and the battle he fought the entire year. I am thankful for every beautiful thing this year has given me. Mostly, I am thankful for the time I have gotten to spend with my granddad, taking care of him, talking to him, and growing closer to him. He has taught me so much about life, Jesus and being gentle but strong, especially in these last 10 months. Thank you 2016 for all you have been and here’s to you, 2017!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

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