Artistically, I saw my prayers being answered over and over in unexpected ways. I was able to get a glimpse of how He will continue to use my singing to glorify Him. The tremendous responsibility of being a steward of this gift has really hit me and at times has been extremely overwhelming. I find myself feeling more and more ill equipped to carry the responsibility yet at the same time more fulfilled as I hand it all over to the Holy Spirit to do His work through and in me. This year started off with a real answer to prayer. My desire to see a community Christian artists collaborate was fulfilled with the beginning of Celebration of the Arts. God has blessed so many artists with incredible gifts all of which have inspired me creatively and spiritually. I can’t wait to see how He will continue to use this ministry to glorify Him. Another artistic highlight were the June performances of the Magic Flute, Cosi Fan Tutte, and Carmen. No doubt conquering the role of the Queen of the Night was a huge accomplishment (Despina and Frasquita had their perks too.) More importantly I was able to form relationships with the rest of the cast. As a result the unique bond that artists share became so apparent to me. It is so easy for me to connect with other singers, there's almost an instant trust and understanding of one another. As a result I found it easy to have conversations about my faith and Christianity with my fellow cast members. The words of Dr. Kavanaugh, director of the Christian Performing Artist Fellowship, kept ringing in my head during the rehearsal and performance process “you are an artistic missionary, you speak the language of your fellow artists and you understand the culture therefore you must treat every opportunity to work with other artists as an opportunity to share the gospel.” Being an artistic missionary, that is definitely a calling that is making more sense lately.
Ministry wise, this year has been unbelievable. God has seriously challenged me to stretch myself into uncomfortable territories. As a result I have experienced so much growth and so much change. He has truly shown me and continues to show me that there really is nothing more fulfilling than serving Him. Never did I imagine myself serving in these ways. I look at how much He has taught me about myself and others, and more so how He has revealed Himself over and over as I've served. I have seen His beauty and His majesty in the faces of others, I have heard Him speak directly to me through my brothers and sisters, I have been encouraged by their words and their work, I have been humbled by His ability to move and work despite any of my efforts. My church family has truly become just that - a family – I am so blessed to be able to call RAC home.
My immediate family experienced the miracle of new life this year. The highlight of my year was without a doubt the birth of Julia. Our family has been changed. And as a result the love I feel for each member of my family has been magnified. There’s something incredible about witnessing the beauty and wonder of His creation together as a family. Julia is indeed a precious gift from God. Alleluia!
I think the biggest internal change for me this year was finally listening to and acting upon God's prompting to make myself completely vulnerable in everyway. Of course that vulnerability had a lot to do with learning to trust and fully rely on Him. I'm still struggling and growing in that area but He has blessed me in so many ways as I’ve taken baby steps and opened myself up. I have formed some incredible new relationships in a short time frame and my old relationships have been strengthened and renewed as a result.
At the end of it all when I look in the mirror today I see a very different woman from who I was only a year ago. I look at myself and honestly don't recognize who I am. Who is that woman? All I know is that I am a woman who is being changed by the love of Christ. A woman who is being refined, a woman who is learning how to surrender everything to Him.
I don’t know what 2006 will bring. There are many opportunities that lie ahead and there are several hurdles to conquer. After reflecting on 2005 what I really see is His grace completely covering me. Having experienced His unending grace time and time again, I know by faith that whatever He has in store for 2006 will without a doubt reveal even more of His power and His glory. He will continue to confirm why the only real satisfaction in life comes from worshipping and trusting Him with all of my heart. I wonder what kind of a woman I will see standing before me in the mirror on Dec 31, 2006.