Growth in 2014

If we had to sum up the year 2014 in one word it would be "growth". A few synonyms include: improvement, prosperity, maturation, advancement and development. These are all perfect descriptions of our lives over the last 365 days. 2014 was the year that we both decided to get serious about our faith. We realized that proclaiming to be a Christian simply wasn't enough. We knew we needed to equip ourselves and deepen our relationships with the Lord. As we look back on the last year, we want to share some things that helped us grow.

1. Community

Our lives have been completely transformed because of community. It is hands down one of the best things we could have committed to. We need to surround ourselves with like-minded people who will help us achieve our goals. This may require asking yourself questions about the people you spend the majority of your time with. Remember that you become who you hang around. Tim Keller has an amazing quote that sums up the reason for community so beautifully: “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” If you are not currently in biblical community, we strongly encourage you to join one this next year. Seriously, just do it. We promise you will not regret it and we'd love to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25

2. Accountability

This goes hand in hand with community but takes it a step further. Accountability allows you to open your life up to others and requires humility as well as courage. You know those things in your life that are holding you back? Those are the things that need to be brought into the light. Be willing to ask for help and pray that God will soften your heart to receive admonishment and encouragement. On the flip side, when someone else asks you for help or accountability, be gracious but also step up and keep them accountable! At first, it may seem awkward but in the end it's so worth it.  

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

3. Scripture memory

Before we decided to jump into Watermark's Equipped Disciple courses, neither of us had memorized scripture since we were kids. We grew up with the saying "write God's word on your heart" but never truly understood that until we started to memorize. There have been so many instances we have been able to quote scriptures from memory whether to ourselves or to others. Anytime we are having a rough day or struggling with a temptation, we recite one of the many verses we know. It is also so important whenever you're offering advice to someone because it gives you God's word rather than your own opinions. Wouldn't you prefer to quote God rather than yourself?
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119:11

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

4. Travel

As you may know, we got to go to India together for a mission trip. It was Hannah's first time out of the country and the furthest Morgan has ever traveled before. Needless to say, that trip stretched us in ways we never thought possible. From the planning and fundraising to the trip itself, we learned so much about ourselves and each other. You don't have to go halfway across the world to experience this type of growth though. Travel in itself is such a wonderful teacher especially when you put your trust in God. For us, India was all about trusting that God would take care of things both big and small. Wherever you go, ask God to provide opportunities to trust him and to share your faith with others. This could be the stranger you sit next to on a plane ride, the kind gentleman who helps you with your bags, or your friend you're traveling with. Give yourself the gift of a getaway and let God work.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation." – Mark 16:15

2014 has been an exciting adventure! We have experienced both dating and a season of singleness. We have faced unbelievable hardships alongside those we love. We have learned more about grace than we ever thought possible. We opened our lives up not only to our small community but to the world by starting this blog. Above all of the things that we've done and that have happened to us, one thing is constant. God is good and he loves us. Thank you, Jesus, for a year of growth!

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. – 1 Corinthians 13:11

A very special "thank you" goes out to our amazing photographer, Justin James, who shot all of the wonderful photos above.

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