Happy 2020! I hope you all enjoyed a great holiday season! Last year was a great year for me, I learned a lot about myself and God. I have never had a closer or stronger relationship with God and He just continued to blow me away as the year progressed. Here is a little review of my 2019...
It's crazy to think about, because I used to barely read one book in a year, but this year I read 30 books. I enjoyed most of them but my top 5 were, in no particular order:
1. Something Needs to Change by David Platt
2. In His Image by Jen Wilken
3. None Like Him by Jen Wilken
4. The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
5. The Crucified Life by A.W. Tozer
I also re-read Radical by David Platt and it iss still one of my favorite books. I highly suggest you read all of these this year.
Each book I read taught me something new about myself, others, God, and how I ought to live my life. I would say one of the biggest things I learned is that God gave me the beautiful gift of hospitality and just like any other gift it is an important gift. I have known for a while that it was a gift of mine but did not want to accept it. I wanted something "better" more "important". I didn't think it was a gift that could impact peoples lives, but I was so wrong and God taught me to take pride in the beautiful gifts he has specifically given me so He can impact the lives of those around me in very specific ways! He also taught me just how radical our lives as Christians should be. That radical should be the standard for us. We should love radically, we should give radically, serve, pray, care, listen, radically. Everything we do in life should be done radically because we are to look like Jesus and he did everything with a radical love. I pray that this year I learn to live out a more radical kind of lifestyle. What about you? Do you live with the radical mindset or do you think that's just for "certain" christians? If I could sum up everything in one sentence from what I learned from reading all these books is. We (and by we I mean ALL christians) are CALLED to live radical lives in the name of Jesus. Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (ESV).
Another crazy thing that happened in 2019 that I never thought I would do is go to college. I started in the fall and am just taking two classes a semester so that I can continue to work full time at H2O Church. I went from thinking that I would never go back to school because I'm too stupid to getting an A in both of my classes. I would not have done it without my amazing Husband who helped me learn, edited all of my papers, and definitely could not have done it without God. I'm excited to start this new semester!
Ben and I had our first anniversary in September and I got to say I LOVE being married to my best friend. He is an amazing husband who supports and loves me no matter what and I mean NO matter what. He is constantly pointing me back to God and reminding me who I am in Christ. I love how God has used Ben to show me more of His love, mercy, and grace. I learn more and more everyday just how much God loves me and truly how merciful He is. God uses Ben to bring so much joy into my life. I don't think I smiled and laughed as much in my life until I met Ben. I can't go a day without at least laughing once (but it's usually more like 10) and every time he steps into the same room as me I smile. I love this man so much and am so thankful for the beautiful gift of marriage. God used Ben to change my life and I thank Him everyday for that.
Other exciting news I became a very proud aunt to a beautiful niece named Caledonia Mae MacKenzie. My sister had her December 3rd. I am so excited to get to love on this little girl. I pray that she will grow up to be a warrior of God. That he will know from a very young age how loved she is not just by her family but by the God of the universe, her creator. I am honored to be her aunt and pray for her daily!
That's a little overview of 2019 now what to look forward to for 2020... I'm excited to see all God has in store for H2O this year. I don't know why I just feel like some big and exciting things are about to go down. I'm really looking forward to our annual mission trips over spring break. We have one team going back to Panama City Florida for Beach Reach. I think this will be our 5th year doing this trip. The service trip, which is the one Ben and I will be joining is going to North Carolina. We don't know exactly what we will be helping with yet but this is one of my favorite things we do with our students every year.
What I am most excited about though is my trip to Africa with Lydia. I am looking forward
for this adventure because it is a new and unique form of discipleship for me. I believe God is going to teach both Lydia and I so many things. I pray this will be a life changing experience for both of us. I started discipling Lydia almost two years ago and what started as discipleship turned into a very beautiful friendship. I love getting to meet up with her every week and just growing with her. She has a very beautiful heart and loves everyone with all her heart. We will be working in a boarding school which will be an awesome experience for her since she is going into early childhood education. God is going to teach both so much on this trip to Namibia and I am looking forward to it! If you would like to support either of us in this journey you can go to... Experiencemission.org/sponsor/sarah.howard
That God would continue to be the center of our marriage and anytime we get distracted He would lead us back.
For Lydia as we support raise for our trip that God would open the hearts of people and that they would give generously. I would hate for the reason that we don't go to be financial reasons.
That God would move in the hearts of the students at UC and that there would be a revival here using H2O and the other ministries here to impact the lives of so many students this year.
That we would have an abundance of students come on our spring break trips, believers and unbelievers, because what's a better way for someone to witness the love and power of God then through mission trips that are 7 days long of just non-stop Jesus!
Thank you to all my amazing supporters I couldn't do this without you and I am beyond blessed by each and every one of you. Thank you for your continuous support. If you are not a supporter thank you for taking the time to read my update!
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
I pray you all have a wonderful 2020 that is full of blessings from the Lord!