Eight verses for 2013…

As I sit here on December 30, 2013, I am on my bed and under my mosquito net. It is hot out, but we have no air conditioning. I am drinking a Stoney and getting excited about our daytrip to Jinja tomorrow. Life right now is nothing like I ever imagined it would be. 2013 was nothing like I imagined it would be.

2013 was the year I finally answered God’s call and moved to Uganda. But that wasn’t it. So much more happened in 2013 that I never, ever want to forget.

I wasn’t sure what to write in my final blog post of 2013. I thought maybe I could reflect on each month. I debated posting my favorite photos from 2013. Instead, I decided to use some of my favorite verses to reflect on 2013. I have a poster I made nearly a year ago with eight Bible verses on it, and I keep it in a spot where I can read them daily.

Here are those verses, and how they’ve helped me live a no-regrets 2013. I’ve also included some of my favorite nature photos I took this year:

Huntington, Indiana
Huntington, Indiana

“If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.” Habakkuk 2:3
Patience. It’s something I have always struggled with. I want a boyfriend. I want a husband. I want a family. I want a good job. I have had no other choice than to be patient, and being in Africa has really taught me patience. The things I have wanted most in life are not going to happen here in Africa. I have to be patient. God is showing me how to do that.

Warsaw, Indiana
Warsaw, Indiana

“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:5
Like everyone, I needed saving. Not only did God save me by sending His Son to die on a cross for my sins, but He also saves me on a daily basis. His grace and mercy are why I continuously put my hope in Him.

Victoria Falls, Zambia
Victoria Falls, Zambia

“The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I’ll be honest, there have been a few times here in Africa where I’ve wondered if this is true. Between spitting up blood, countless sinus infections, skin infections, and terrorist threats, I’ve seen my fair share of frustrations in Africa, not to mention how much I insanely miss home. However, I’m always brought back to the truth of this verse. God really is with me, wherever I go. There’s no place so far away that He can’t reach.

Kampala, Uganda
Kampala, Uganda

“Answer my prayers, O Lord, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful.” Psalm 69:16
I have prayed this prayer so often. I can’t even count the number of times I have asked God to take care of me since I got to Uganda. Not only have there been physical ailments to deal with, but mentally I feel like I’ve been beaten to a pulp. God’s love is unfailing, though. It is perfect, and any mental breakdown I have, I know His mercy covers it.

Entebbe, Uganda
Entebbe, Uganda

Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you.” Job 22:21
Oh how true this is. I did not truly know peace until I fully surrendered to God in 2013 and followed His call to serve in Africa. I know that when I start to feel restless, it’s because I’m not submitting to God. I know so many people who are restless right now. If only they submitted to Him, they would have the peace that He promises.

Botswana
Botswana

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.” Luke 12:31
God knows what we need. And as long as we seek Him and His Kingdom, we will be set for life (and the afterlife as well!). The more I seek Him, the more I see that He does give me everything I need.

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“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23
I can honestly say that 2013 was the year I finally did this. That’s not to say there aren’t a few guys who still had pieces of my heart, but I was insanely careful with my heart this year, and it’s a wonderful feeling to know that for the first time in my life, God was the number one holder of my heart. That’s why 2013 was so peaceful and spectacular. I guarded my heart, and it paid off.

Kampala, Uganda
Kampala, Uganda

“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.” Hebrews 10:36
This is the verse that will get me through the next five months before I go back to the United States. I believe that by continuing to do God’s will, whether here in Africa or back the US, I will eventually receive the great things He has planned for my life.

Happy New Year to everyone who reads Summit City Single! I pray your 2014 is blessed with the many gifts God wants to give you.

Much love,
Natalie
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Lessons everywhere in 2012…

I’m glad that Tuesday is a new year. Not that 2012 wasn’t good, I’m just positive that 2013 will be better. Once you truly believe that God has an awesome plan for your life, you actually look at the future with hope.

I learned a lot in 2012. Some lessons were new, others I was just reminded of. Here are the top things I learned in 2012:

A liar to others is a liar to you. I should have seen the light earlier. When you have a fairly new friend and you realize she doesn’t keep friends long, that should be a red flag. But you know me, I stayed friends with her, let her manipulate me throughout the entire friendship, and I believed all her lies. It was silly to believe her when I knew she was lying to pretty much everyone else in her life about the most random things. Never have I felt so betrayed by a friend in so many different ways. I don’t know what she’s like now in her friendships, but I know that for me, I’ve become a much better person since I cut off the friendship and her lies last February.

Some of my TRUE friends, who I love with all my heart!
Some of my TRUE friends, who I love with all my heart!

Guys will never ever understand some things. I’ve learned that with a person like I mentioned above, guys will never see it. A girl can sit there and lose a female friend after female friend on a consistent basis, but guys will never see the girl’s true colors. That’s because she won’t reveal her true colors to them. I learned this years ago because I’ve seen it my entire life. Just a lesson from the past that I had to learn again in 2012.

Life is short, don’t save things. I’m not talking money for retirement here. I’m talking about gifts, perfume, vacations, etc. etc. I have gift cards from last Christmas that I still haven’t used. I have a spa gift certificate (that never expires) from COLLEGE. I let my favorite perfume sit on the shelf unless it’s a special occasion. That’s crazy! Life is too short to save so much for a “better time.” No time is better than now. I’ve learned that I need to enjoy life and the gifts I get when I get them. No need to wait.

I’m tired of going “out”. I’ve been tired of this for quite a while actually. I really didn’t go out much in 2012, but it was enough to annoy me. This is a blog post in itself. It’s hard when you’re single and want things to do and want to meet people and there are so few options of ways to do that.  I’m not saying I’ll never go out again. I might step out for a birthday or something, and I’d really like to do some entertainment writing, but for strictly social reasons, I’m done. I don’t need that “escape” or that atmosphere to feel better about myself.

That's me, happy as a clam just out to eat with my parents!
That’s me, happy as a clam just out to eat with my parents!

I can move on from someone I thought I’d always be in love with. This is an amazing lesson to learn, because at the time of the breakup, it seems so impossible. I thought I would never, ever get over my ex from a few years ago, but I did. Not only that, but I’ve realized his purpose in my life, I’ve realized how our failed relationship taught me so much. And he’s become one of my very best friends. I learned that I can move on, because in early 2012, I did move on. So while I’m sitting here now trying to mend my broken heart from someone else, I can confidently say that I’ll be OK. I will move on. It gets easier every day.

You can’t make someone love you. We all know this. So why do we try? Why do we constantly think that there’s something we can do to make someone love us? We can’t. There is nothing you can do. It’s exhausting and pointless to even try. You have to let go. There’s no other choice. Even though it hurts and literally feels like someone is ripping your heart apart, you have to let it go.

Blogging changed my life. I started a blog that no one knew about. I was crazy honest in it, and random people from around the world read about my most personal experiences and commented on them. It was amazing. The support from people who had never even met me was overwhelming. One specific person has turned out to be one of my best friends. How crazy is that?

I don’t need a gimmick to lose weight. I’m not against Body by Vi or any of those weight loss programs, but I’ve learned that you can lose weight without them, simply by changing your diet and exercising. I’ve lost 15 pounds since October by counting calories and exercising. I’ve only been exercising twice a week most weeks, and I’m going to kick that up a notch in 2013. I have another 30 lbs I’d like to lose!

The Jorgensen YMCA where I work out. Zumba twice a week! About to start yoga and belly dancing in January.
The Jorgensen YMCA where I work out. Zumba twice a week! About to start yoga and belly dancing in January.

Peace can only truly be felt when you accept the fact that God’s timing is perfect. To say I’ve grown spiritually in the past four months is an understatement. By accepting the fact that God’s timing is perfect, I’ve got a new peace in my life that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Happy New Year everyone! Have a wonderful and blessed 2013!