While 2017 has been full of life, excitement, joy, and victory, it has also been a year of growth and change.
One of my dad’s grandmothers passed away right after we welcomed in 2017. She loved God and her family while she left behind a legacy of contentment.
Darby, my sister, represented her class at school by being on the homecoming court in January. Darby truly sees the best and worst in me. I am closer to her than any other human. We have shared a room since she was two years old and our brother was born. She has found her gifts, developed them, and used them in ministry this year. I could not be more proud of her. Darby has shown love to people who have hurt her, and she constantly exhibits God’s grace.
My sweet family, friends, church family, and classmates came together in February to celebrate my sixteenth birthday! The party lasted for a few hours, but it seemed to fly by to me! It was one of the best nights of my life, and I will forever cherish the memories my loved ones and I made.
On the following Monday morning, my mom took me to get my license! We knew where I would have to drive for the test, so I practiced before going to the DMV. Thankfully and excitedly, I passed! Since then my siblings have called me their personal Uber! I have memorized the roads that lead to school, church, home, the grocery store, and a few other places. The guys in my class always joke that I drive slow, which, to them, means going the speed limit or five over!
God used a friend from church to push me closer to Himself and inspire my creativity this year. Jonathan, my brother in Christ, is one of the most Spirit-filled people I have ever met. God has His hand on Jonathan’s life, and I have had the honor of seeing God open up doors of opportunity for him. Jonathan always gives his time, talents, and treasure to leave a mark on the World for Jesus. He is a blessing to everyone he meets!
My church, Tanglewood Church of God, is known for the Easter drama it ministers through each year. The Victor is anything but a cute, simple, little Easter drama. Our whole entire church gets involved months before Easter to prepare for the ministry The Victor holds. I do not say that to boast in human strength, but, rather, to marvel at God’s goodness! The body of Christ has so many members who are gifted in diverse areas. My dad runs a spot light. My mom serves on the prayer team and on stage. Darby is always involved too. Her role changes from year to year. Remington has had the humbling privilege and responsibility to portray young Jesus. I love on three year olds, take pictures, and experience God’s power while being on the prayer team. One of my most favorite Victor memories from this past year included walking in the parking lot while everyone else was in a church building. The sun was setting beautifully, and I was surrounded by hundreds of cars! The cars represented lives, and, most importantly, eternal souls. I held prayer cards inside of my hands and was blessed by being able to pray over them. I cannot even express how much The Victor, the ministry it brings, and my church means to me!
In April, I attended the Grow 1.0 Photography Workshop. The teachers, Jared and Amanda Grantham, taught from their experience on shooting in manual mode. I enjoyed taking what I learned from the class and practicing the skill downtown Goldsboro with a model. I highly recommend the class to photography beginners.
Last Christmas I received a little purple hammock which has been one of my favorite things to enjoy this year, especially in warm weather! Being outside in God’s creation makes me feel most alive. My Father shows Himself to me, and I can speak aloud right back to Him.
While my class at school has lost members, we have also gained some new ones. My peers call me MaMa Haley. I cannot help but love them, care about them, and only want what is best for their lives and eternities. I pray for them and am sometimes even burdened to the point of tears for them. I am trying to make the most of the time we have together, which is going by fast!
Remington played baseball in the spring. Since then he has discovered a love for basketball! My family always laughed at his baseball games because daddy would stand with his arms in the air and say, “What are you doing?!”. I wish you could hear how he said it. I am thankful Remington has found a sport that he truly enjoys now. He just received a new NIV Bible for Christmas and excitedly keeps telling me what he is reading. There is nothing else that could make me more happy than seeing him walk in Truth.
As my sophomore year of high school was coming to a close, one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Wright, took his art students to downtown New Bern. I went along with them since I participated in the Fine Arts competition. We painted at the Accidental Artist, walked downtown, went into stores and an unusual coffee shop, ate at the Cow Cafe, and ended the day with making some unforgettable memories.
I came down with pneumonia shortly after the field trip.
My photography business really started to take form this year. I have had many sessions and growing opportunities. I am very appreciative of those who let me be a part of their lives by capturing priceless moments. My friend Jonathan, whom I mentioned earlier, is a videographer. He, Ali (a girl from my church), and I took on a wedding together! Ali and I were just there to help Jonathan and learn from having the experience. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever witnessed. I know I’ve said it before in a post, but we got our own little golf cart to ride and laughed pretty much the whole time we rode it. I’ll never forget the Wiggins Wedding!
My cousin Kelsie and her husband Trey had a baby in June! Little Raleigh has been a blessing to our family ever since! I cannot wait to see the ways God uses her life for Himself!
With our youth group, Darby and I went to the Forward Conference in Atlanta Georgia June 22-24. We heard from some of the most sought-after Christian speakers, pastors, and worship leaders. God told me to not limit the ways He could use me.
During last school year, Mrs. Elkie Brabble, one of my mom’s friends who hosts a Christian broadcast, contacted me about being on the show! I honestly was surprised but excited for the opportunity to share my testimony and God’s faithfulness! We recorded and aired the broadcast in July. Darby came along with me, and I was praying for confidence and peace. God is so so so good! He presents us with opportunities for purposes far greater than ourselves!
One of my sweet kids at VBS, Ainsley, blessed my heart with her fun personality. She always made me laugh. We have stayed in touch since VBS, and I have enjoyed babysitting her and her sister. I love the connections God makes for us!
The United Conference is a student conference that my church has led the past few summers. Helping prepare the venue for the conference this year impacted Darby and I. God used Pastor Daniel Gray to speak specifically to us during one service.
Two of my last favorite memories from this sumner included a beach day with Mrs. Kimmy and Holly and then the Harper family.
God gave me peace about quitting piano lessons for this year and has spoken to my heart about missions.
In the Fall, I went to Liberty University for the very first time! The weekend I was there had God’s fingerprints stamped all over it. I saw my friend Natalie for the first time in four years and was able to stay in her dorm with her! God has given me story upon story to show how real and powerful He is! I participated in the Unashamed Project Scholarship and met two new friends and brothers in Christ named Ethan and Chase! I felt like I was in a dream while at Liberty. There is so much I could say about the school and my few days there.
God surprised me with, yet, another gift this year. He made a way for me and my family to go to the Live Original Tour in November! It was such a fun night and weekend full of motivation and encouraged dreams!
My mom and I’s “favorite day of the year” is Black Friday. We go by ourselves and get the good deals while Darby has a sleepover with my cousin Taylor! This year, two little kids tried to jump in front of my mom in a line, but she did not let them. I thought it was hilarious!
I am on a mission to finish reading the whole Bible. I have read stories throughout the Bible my whole life, but I want to fully soak up each page of God’s Word. I, thankfully, can say I have read the New Testament and have now moved on to working my way through the Old Testament.
God has been speaking to my heart about leading a movement for young women, and I am seeing Him give me the details of it. I will be sharing more information about this with you very soon!
My favorite memory from this Christmas was when my family played Apples to Apples with my cousins Daniel and Temple. We all tried to hint which card was ours, and I even mispronounced a word. That resulted in a lot of laughs!
I am overwhelmed by the love and support God has given to me through you and other people who are living Undeniably His. I have seen God grow the amount of people who read this blog. God receives the glory for anything and everything Undeniably His accomplishes. He is the inspiration and true Writer behind each post. Thank you for giving me accountability and lending an ear to hear how God is working in my life.
2017 has been my most favorite year of life yet, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what is ahead!
What extraordinary things has God shown you or done in your life this year? I would love to lend an ear to hear your stories as well!
Excited for a new year,
2 thoughts on “The Best of 2017”
Thank you for the Jesus I see in you every day! You are an inspiration & encouragement to me! Love you!
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Love you very much, Mrs. Croom! Thank you for your testimony and encouragement!