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It’s My Birthday

Folks, it’s my birthday, I’m eighteen, and unlike any other birthday previously, I do actually feel a little older…or maybe I’m just hungry. I thought of writing some sort of “year-in-review” back when it was actually a new year, but I knew that was already pretty cliche, so I put it off and decided to do it on my birthday. Birthdays are special occasions. For one thing they help us keep track of our age…but they also give us a day to look back on our previous year and see our victories and failures, similar to the opportunity we get at the very beginning of every new year.

So here goes. This past year has been a big year in my life. So many important things happened that shaped my future to this point, but I can only name a few.

Big Events From This Past Year

Like I mentioned, there were some particular events that really made an impact on my life and changed my outlook on the future.

1. Salvation.

I definitely have to start out with this one, as it’s the best thing that could happen to a person. The fact that Jesus bled and died as a sacrifice for my sin that I could never repay is such a marvelous thing. I once was lost in darkest night, and thought I knew the way but now it’s such a beautiful thing to be refreshed and made new by the Word of the Lord.

2. The Media Fast.

Last year my family took a break from phones, computers and media in general. This was a huge eye opener for me. Although throughout the fast we had occasional and limited use of computers to do necessary things (i.e., important emails, a couple of design projects that had deadlines, etc.), it was a complete change from what I was used to.

Before this I was completely enveloped in media and technology. I could barely pull myself away from it. If I wasn’t working on a design project I was playing games like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Borderlands 2, Portal 2, or writing a blog post, editing my iPhone pictures, watching TV Shows, posting status updates or recording music. Now while not all of those things are bad, or at least not when done in moderation, I wasn’t one for moderation, and so I ended up wasting a huge amount of time on things that had no meaning in the long run.

So when I heard we were doing a media fast, you can probably guess that I wasn’t too happy. But I am now. You may wonder why or how and I’d have to attribute that to the Lord changing my heart. The reason I wasn’t happy about it at first was because I was so tied up in my own world and the things my flesh loved, that I was desperately afraid of loosing them.

So the media fast was a reset for us all. I began viewing people and how they used their technology, either for good or bad. There were those who were completely captivated: on it all the time. And there were those who would have liked it better if they didn’t have to use it at all. Now while I don’t condone a complete boycott of all technology forever and ever amen, I do see where a break from it can be extremely helpful. One of the main things it showed me was just how addicted I was when I had it, and through the process of a heart change, I began to learn and see how I would use it again in the future, once I had it back.

3. New IndoctriNation Website.

It all began when I was an intern for Joaquin Fernandez, one of the most influential men in my life to date (accept, of course, my dad and church elders). I worked on all sorts of miscellaneous projects, mainly focusing on video production. All of this work led to finally going on the IndoctriNation road-trip, and even helping out in the production of this important documentary film. And now a couple years later and a few long months ago, we decided it was time for a new website.

This project was one of the longest I’ve ever worked on, taking just under a year to fully develop. We started with a pretty simple idea for the website during the pre-development stage, but after we started developing the framework and layout, we found that the visual aspect would be changing quite a bit. This is usually the norm with projects of this type. You start with an idea, and you go through many iterations.

My fellow developer and I would often get to work and have a long list of To-Do’s to knock off, and by the end of the day the website would look a lot different then when we started. Every time we thought we were near the end, we found another list of bugs to work out and elements to add/remove. This project was really helpful for me to learn patience with those I worked with, and understand what it is to be diligent in projects that don’t seem to end.

Lessons Learned This Past Year

1. He who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

What I mean by this is that it’s extremely easy to go on in your own strength and think you can figure it all out on your own. Truth is, you can’t. It’s only possible by the work of the Lord and the Holy Spirit in your heart. You need to continue to cry out to Him for help in every decision.

I found this out myself the hard way. I was going down a road that I thought was just what I needed. It was all that my flesh could want. My depraved nature enjoyed every aspect of the life I was leading, and I was doing a pretty good job of keeping up appearances on the outside…at least to most people who didn’t know me too well. So basically I thought I was some pretty hot stuff. And that’s when I fell. It culminated in some circumstances that won’t be described here, but the charade was over. I found myself lost and stripped of my pride and worldly pleasures.

Needless to say I was thinking of myself very highly, and the Lord saw fit to let me fall. And I fell hard. But it was all used for God’s glory in amazing ways that I couldn’t have seen then.

2. Usually when something looks too good to be true, it is.

This year I witnessed the downfall of a huge business and ministry that had an enormous impact on the Christian/Homeschool community at large, and myself and my family’s lives as well. The leader was doing a number of different things that all seemed good, and the company along with it’s employees and staff continued to ride on through each storm with no apparent damage. But eventually, either by personal confession or a conglomeration of people confronting him, the leader let out that he was in great sin…and then it all came crashing down around him. It was good to see this happen though, because the Lord has a plan, and He’s working it out.

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But this post is growing long and so I will finish of for now by saying that it’s been an amazing year and I really wouldn’t have it any other way, since it’s brought me to know my Savior at such an amazing level. God is so very good, and through His grace we continue to fight the battles each day.

Thank you all for being such good friends and supporters through this year. You all, in many different ways, have helped me during these past twelve months.

“Every long lost dream led me to where you are. Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars. Pointing me on my way into your loving arms. This much I know is true, that God blessed the broken road, that led me straight to You.”
-Bless The Broken Road

God bless,
James