Last year on New Year’s day I walked several laps around the local community track in my neighborhood listening to my friend Stephanie Lynn’s podcast, Good Good Talks. Steph shared her thoughts and dreams for 2018. She was praying that this year she would be offered a position as an elementary school teacher. She wanted the opportunity influence a classroom full of students. She spoke of 2018’s numerical significant., it was an even number. While casually wrapping the hardcover of her Bible with her finger tips it made a hollow sound, she said “this year feels very whole”. This word, whole, struck a chord in my spirit. I had never before had a word for the year, so why this word? Why now?
For the entire month of January I listened to my friend, Becca Caroline repeatedly share that she felt God was saying this would be a year for breakthrough. I did not know this meant, but Becca boldly prayed this over me and my entire church family and I believed her.
In March, while observing Lent, I learned from my friend Mikia Carter that the number eight has biblical significance, rooted in being related to a time of new beginnings. Mikia was diagnosed with breast cancer on October 8th, and this year is four years of her being cancer free!! Praise the Lord!
Can you see a picture forming here of the message God was gently revealing to me?
This year was to be whole, meaning by definition “all of; entire”and “in an unbroken or undamaged state; in one piece”. It would be a year of breakthrough and of new beginning. These anointed, prophetic words were given to me and I did not know what they meant, but God indeed knew.
In January I took a brave step and launched a project I had being praying over for so long. Still With You “a friend-filled podcast” emerged into the world. A breakthrough new beginning to kick off 2018!
In February I was asked to speak at a young adults night of worship. It was my first time sharing the Word as a guest speaker and I was so excited. For years I had been praying for an opportunity such as this. That night after talking about the life of Ezra, something shifted in me as I felt the room be filled with the Holy Spirit. My friend Christy Frey prayed over me that my story was only beginning and I knew I would not be the same. God was doing something in me, things were about to change.
In March I read the book of Exodus with through the She Reads Truth Lent study with my friend Tiffany Chen and learned how He is a God of the details. Cue the Sarah Reeve’s song! The story of Moses birthed a passion within me to see my friends be released from chains of oppression and walk in freedom. God said to me, “Let’s start with you”.
It was also during this month that Chris and I said goodbye to our beloved Lupi. Our time with her was so short, but the memories she gave us of being our first dog are were beyond enough. We miss her so, but we are thankful for her precious little life.
In April I started working for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the double A minor league baseball team of the Cincinnati Reds. Climbing up on a dug out top to dance and chasing a human cockroach put me way out of my comfort zone, but the memories and friends I made this summer working at the stadium are ones I will hold on to for life. #summerofbaseball2018
In May Chris and I celebrated our second anniversary together. In typical real life fashion my car was in the shop that weekend, so we celebrated by watching reruns of Survivor. Though things felt a little chaotic it felt very whole, complete, and full of love.
Also, mah girl Melody Holland visited from Missouri for a few days during this month. Having her around is always so much fun and so fully healing for me after walking through an unexpected of season of returning pain.
In June Chris and I spent a week in in Missouri visiting family. I spent hours sipping raspberry tea on my parents on back porch. We also attended a St. Louis Cardinal Baseball game, one of the highlight’s of the year!
This month also bore some sadness, my close friend Sara Tarrango moved to Nashville, Tennessee. I soon felt an empty place in my heart, missing the evenings sitting in her apartment with my Young Professional Bible Study girls. This friend’s strength and view of life has and continues to positively influence my life in so many ways.
In July my brother, Bennett Stock, a soldier in the U.S. Army graduated from Air Assault School. This is a prestigious military achievement and my family and I could not be more proud of him.
It was also during this month that I began a six week life changing journey with God through Traci Shinnick’s study “Watch the Ramparts”. The first night of gathering at Traci’s kitchen table, I told all eight women that I did not want to be there, but I knew I need this. I needed healing, to hear from God, and to be grounded in God’s Word, the Truth, like I never have before. The words and stories of this season are packed in two journals, one covered in pineapples and the other is pink. I could never share all of what I surrendered or what changed within me. It is between God and I, but it is not by anything that I have done. It was all through Jesus! He rescued me from places I did not even know I that I needed His rescuing. “Watch the Ramparts” was by far my the pinnacle point of 2018. It was my breakthrough, it was my new beginning, and through I had come to the table hurt and broken, I walked away completely whole.
In August I began my classic #basic mural game. Follow me on Instagram and you will understand! It is so much fun searching for inspiring art in cities.
It was during this time I felt God calling me to as a full-time college student. This felt crazy, but again…here’s to new beginnings…and endless hours of homework.
In September saw my friends Sara Evans and Lesley Evans Lyons perform a homecoming show in Columbia, Missouri. Standing in front of the stage of the Blue Note I knew for sure that night with my mom and mother-in-law would be on my 2018 highlight reel. No words for this night.
In October, I was three weeks into a 12 week Freedom Group with a group of girls who have grown to be like sisters to me. After this study experience, including the Freedom Group Conference, God could not have been any clearer that this was my defining year. A time of breakthrough with Him, new beginnings of freedom, and being securely whole in Him. This changed everything.
In November I recorded the final episode of season one of Still With You with a friend whom I never dreamed I would have the opportunity of meeting, Kendall Phillips, founder of The Penny Story. After being introduced by another friend, Nikki Howard this turned into the ultimate surprise of 2018. Through the interview with Kendall, Still With You was able to partner with The Penny Story to bring awareness to and help fight human trafficking. I never dreamed that God would be using the podcast in ways such as this. What a whole and sacred moment it was for Kendall, Nikki, and I, for both in faith and friendship.
In December, I witnessed the unveiling of a dream my friend Kristie Masing had been praying and creatively working so hard for. On December 7, Tropigal the Label dropped into the world. I am so thankful to be writing for a business as beautiful and brilliant as the one she has created.
December brought rest, reflection, and reconciliation to two very meaningful relationships. I loved observing Advent with again, She Reads Truth and the priceless memories made with family celebrating the coming of Immanuel. God with us.
Here I am on December 31 watching 2018 leave my phone screen and appear only in my memory. Not every minute was easy, it was difficult and messy but God was in it all. He was wholly there and I now know His reason in giving me the word whole for 2018.
This was a year of building, breakthrough, and new beginnings. I am running into 2019 with boldness and unashamed intensity to declare His name into the caves.
He is enough. He has always been enough.
My worth, past, identity, and future is all in Him.
He alone made me whole. He can do the same for you.
Thank you Jesus.
Oh, and a little update…Stephanie’s prayer was answered this year. She is now an elementary school teacher for students with special needs. God is beautifully using her in Southern California and on the podcast airwaves.
Again, thank you Jesus.
The WHOLE 2018 Recap…
Favorite Read: Everybody Always by Bob Goff
Most played song: Fragile Heart by Leanna Crawford
Must listen to: Basically Basic, a podcast that includes wisdom, Jesus, and Starbucks drinks. What more could one want?
Cried unexpectedly when: When I walked through a gallery of Ernie Barnes’ paintings in City of Raleigh Museum. I have never felt so much emotion in my veins.
A first: I took my first spin class at Ride Society Pensacola.
New Obsession: Learning about Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal
Discovered: the legend, Bobbie Gentry
Said goodbye for good to: Riverdale
New Favorite City: Raleigh, North Carolina
Movie of the Year: I Can Only Imagine