Friday, March 28, 2014


"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
Wooh! 23 years young. Most people know that in general, I'm a fan of birthdays - they're like your own personal New Years. A time to look back on the year completed and the year ahead of you. It is just so good to take the time to reflect on God's work in my life; to see His hand in every piece of the year before and to experience a growing trust and hope for His continual presence within this next year.

So what adventures did God take me on and what lessons did I learn in year 22? There were definitely some good moments:

This time last year I was celebrating my birthday in Hong Kong. When I look back to this exact date last year I laugh at God's sense of humor and how He can bring things full circle.

I backpacked China with my sister and learned that not only can we tolerate each other 24/7 but we actually enjoy each other 24/7, she is most definitely one of my favorite travel buddies.

I graduated college ready to be done for good and learned that after less than one year I miss school already and realize Baylor was an incredible training ground that helped lay a faith foundation in my life.

I took a leap of faith in relationship and moved to Indiana. I learned that relationship at the core comes down to making a decision and involves sacrifice - and you have to be willing to do both.

I worked at a homeless shelter and learned a lot about homelessness. I made friends in Winona Lake that exemplified for me what life on mission looks like and inspired me on a whole other level.

I visited my best friend in Virginia and got to see DC for the first time and learned that there is no one in the world like Emily Jones (though I probably already knew that).

I experienced God speaking to me through dreams and learned that He shows up in many different ways in life.

I went through the smoothest break-up of my life and learned that exes really can stay friends.

I finally laid it all down and faced my fears head on in a hospitalization treatment program and learned that compassion and patience should just as much be extended to yourself as it is to others.

I lived at home for the longest time since high school and learned to have peace in taking a "life break."

I landed my first salary job at an international adoption agency and left it all when the Spirit said "No." For the first time, I learned to obey with no plan B or even an understanding of why. I learned to trust my Lord who sees what I do not and who promises to lead me according to His will.

I became a first-time aunt to the most precious baby boy in the world and learned that auntie-life is the best life to have. 

I committed to serve with BVS and went through a 3-week long orientation where I learned that there are many beliefs within Christianity and a humble and listening ear is so valuable to be able to have inter-faith dialogue.

I flew to small-town Mill Spring in North Carolina to serve here at CooperRiis, where I am learning how to work with mental health for the first time and learning the simple farm life.

Now here I am - blown away by all the experiences and changes that I face every year of my life. Reminded of how much I need God in my daily life to be able to sustain in transition and stay grounded in Him. My life may not always be so adventurous and I look forward to that stage in life when I can call a place home, a job my career, a man my husband, and some rascals my kids. But even if one day my life seems "settled" I know that every day is sure to bring new surprises and challenges. I know that God is using this time to prepare me and to teach me how to trust Him in the midst of ever-changing circumstances. To understand with all certainty that His promises are sovereign above all situations and hardships. To rest in the fact that God is my home.

I whole-heartedly believe that the Lord brings good out of everything for those who believe in Him. It blows my mind that Christ would die on the cross for me. That all of the history in the Old Testament came together for God's overarching plan - to bring salvation for all who choose to follow Him. What a priceless gift! The gift I will celebrate the most on this birthday of mine - that I can have life and a relationship with the Creator and have the Spirit dwell within me. Though I deserve death, I am given life and all the blessings within it. Wow, Father, my body shakes with awe and gratitude. How wonderful.

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