Dear 2011,

You were a memorable year filled with so many new things. Steve Jobs and his amazing genius made our lives better with the birth of the iPad2 and the iPhone 4s just before his passing. Yet interestingly enough, we seem to never be satisfied with the best of right now, and so the world searches for the iPhone5.

Google Chrome became the new social media trend and Adele powerfully and uniquely sung her way to the chart tops, and into our hearts. Casey Anthony proved that justice isn’t always served; and Charlie Sheen, well…. enough said.

Our nations leaders managed to cause most of us to officially lose faith in government and the war was called to an end in Iraq making lots of happy families for Christmas.

Earthquakes devastated Japan, Haiti still struggles to recover and the marriage of Prince William and Kate called us to escape reality for a day and reminded us all that sometimes real life fairytales do happen.

But 2011, you were so much more than all of this to me. These were just some of the things that happened around me; but what happened within me is monumentally more memorable to my life.

You were a year of change. A year of brokeness. A year of grace. A year of redemption. A year of newness. A year that certainly taught me much about myself. One that brought me to a broken place in which it became necessary for me to allow the junk lurking of the dark corners of my heart to be drug out into plain view, and begin an honest evaluation of the things I had been hoarding away, and the holes I had been bandaging over.

Some of it was ugly and broken.

But much was beautiful and valuable.

You were a year in which the very foundations of my faith were shaken, and found too solid to be destroyed. Religion was stripped away and found to be of no use at all. Struggles of life uncovered the holes in my soul, and I began to allow myself to ask God the hard questions I’ve somehow always felt too guilty to voice.

I found Him to be strong enough to carry the weight of all of my questions, fears and uncertainties.

I learned to be okay with the fact that for the most part this year, God has remained silent, yet never more present in my life. His voice unclear, yet His work never more tangible.

I stood witness as He mercifully and lovingly salvaged the shipwrecked rubble of my marriage, my heart and my life and meticulously begin the process of piecing it back together, piece by tiny piece. I’m still watching this process…..

And I am awestruck.

At many things, but mostly His love for me; and how He has chosen to bring me to a place in which I could experience this love in a way that will change my life forever.

2011, I will forever remember you as the year I fell in love with the two great loves of my life for the first time again. And because of them, I will always know that there truly is no fear in love.

Mostly, I will look back at you as a landmark year in which the brokeness of my own soul came face to face with the gospel I grew up knowing about. It was there that my belief turned into experience as I found myself broken and empty at the foot of the cross and this Jesus I had sung about for so many years. It was there that darkness and grace collided; and the darkness was swallowed up by grace.

2011 you were the year in which I began to see and experience my own life as one that is filled up everyday with seemingly small and insignificant, yet powerful encounters with love.

You taught me much and I am forever grateful.