This year has been insane. So much has happened I don’t even know where to begin.

I guess graduating college is a good place to start! I graduated from WSU Vancouver with my Bachelor of Arts in Digital Technology and Culture with a specialization in video production. Because of that program, I was given such incredible opportunities, was hired by the university to be their campus videographer and now have an amazing network full of talented people. My education has been crucial to so much of what I do today, so I’m glad I pursued and finally finished my degree.

This Summer, I made a couple trips out of state. I was able to visit my friend Awbrey in Utah to help her drive her car home from college and then flew to Los Angeles to spend a few days with my friend Paris. It was fun to experience Utah, having never been there before. And, I love LA and I love Paris, so that week was a lot of fun.

Then, there were the not-so-fun months when I went to therapy. Just to put into perspective how painful that season of my life was, I’ll tell you about a moment I’ve only ever told one other person. I was standing in my bathroom after getting home from a therapy session and my family was in the living room. They didn’t know about me going to therapy at that point. All of a sudden, I began to cry, tears streaming down my face. I put my hand on the shared wall with the living room and prayed to God, “Give them a vision, speak audibly to them, something. Show them I’m in pain right now and that I need them. Please. I need them.” I was so closed off to everyone in my life that in the moment I needed them most, I didn’t feel comfortable opening up to them. But, through therapy, reading the Bible and praying, God healed me. He opened me up and took the burdens of my past off my shoulders. Would I still have chosen to go to therapy, even if I knew how much pain I’d experience? Yes, hands down. That season taught me to be myself, to find my own voice. It taught me to trust the people close to me. It taught me to seek God first above all else. I now know who I am as a woman. My relationship with God, my friends and family have never been better.

The healing I experienced brought about many new relationships in my life due to opening up and letting people in. Some of my closest friendships I have now were formed this year and some of my happiest memories I have come from the times I’ve spent with them. I could go down the list of everyone I’d have a hard time living without, but you know who you are. I love you and even though we may have our ups and downs, disagreements or pet peeves about each other, I’ll always fight for you.

Another big season of my life this year was the launch of our church, C3 Southwest Washington. I was heavily involved in the months leading up to it. My role was branding managing, designing and establishing our creative team. I never really wanted my future to be built around ministry. Obviously, I was going to continue to serve the church and attend every Sunday, but to make it more than a single commitment was not something I wanted to do. However, God had other plans for me because as time went on and I got more involved with the launch, my heart began to desire a future more involved in ministry. I began to notice the impact of what I was doing and how my talents could be used to influence more than just myself. As I was initially showing students how to take pictures and how to do graphic design, I didn’t think it was much more than that. But, several parents of students I was training came to me and thanked me for investing in their son or daughter. My mindset began to shift from, “I want to make pretty pictures,” to, “I want to help mold servant hearts in these kids, raise them to be leaders and for us to create content that will positively impact our community.” It was a complete change of mind and I became more intentional.

It didn’t stop there either. God began to speak to me in regards to furthering my development as a leader. He began to work on my heart, preparing me to step into a new season of leadership. It’s a new development, so I’m not 100% certain as to what it all entails down the road. Whether it’s building a creative department or even pastoring a church, I’m not sure. Though, I will continue to ready myself for whatever direction He wants me headed in.

The launch entailed a lot of work. I spent about 20-30 hours a week prepping for it. During those months, I was also working a part-time job, which was scheduled to end right as the church would begin. So, I was job hunting on a timer, which was a full-time job itself. Let’s just say, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep, I was working on something. On top of the stress from such a busy schedule, during the last month before the launch, the devil hit me with a lot of difficult circumstances that brought about anger, disappointment, heartbreak, lack of money to pay bills, rejection from jobs, broken promises, and more stress. If I had to choose which season of life was more difficult, going to therapy or dealing with everything from that last month, I wouldn’t be able to decide. However, there was no way I was going to let the enemy win. With the help of God, my family and church leaders, I fought back. What the devil intended to destroy me, God used to strengthen me. I learned how to stand my ground, how to control my heart and when to know when I’ve given too much of myself away. Obviously, I’m still learning, but my growth has been exponential and I’m excited to see what this next year has in store for me.

To top this incredibly crazy year off, I ended up receiving a new job! It was such a blessing with such perfect timing. The day after I finished the church website, which consumed my time and energy, I met with a local company to discuss services I could offer them for a trade show they were planning. I offered to work for free to gain experience. A few days later, and a couple days after the launch of the church, I met with them a second time to propose my ideas of what I could do for them. During that meeting, they offered me a paid position, which would also continue beyond the show. It came with a 70% raise from what I was making at the school, the ability to work remotely and hours that would allow me to pursue building my own business. Then, when I went to the school to give my notice, I found out they wanted to extend my contract there through July of next year. They were willing to be flexible with me and offered to let me work as many or as little hours as needed, according to what my other jobs were offering. All of this was not by coincidence. God provided. He gave me an abundance and authored the perfect timing of everything.

So, here I am, reflecting on the craziness of 2018, ready to see what 2019 has in store. I don’t even know how God is going to top this year, but I don’t doubt He’s going to make it another year to remember.



(just a couple highlights) 

Valerie ParrishComment