Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finding true love

So, I'm a romantic. I dream and wonder when I'm going to meet the man of my dreams, and hope that it will happen, and someday soon. And while I am happy for my friends whose dreams come true, it does get challenging to watch another holiday season pass without an engagement ring, another New Year greeted without a kiss, another Valentine's Day without true love and high adventure, another late-April birthday (that I am realizing comes at the beginning of "wedding season") without actual wedding plans. I've spent a lot of time in the past year praying and hoping that it would have been the year for me, somehow, someway, with someone.

But you know what else I spent the past year praying and hoping about? My teenage friends in Fort Wayne. They've become incredibly important and precious to me, and most of the creative thoughts and exciting plans and intense prayers and sleepless nights I've had, have been about them. How can I love them more? How can I show them that love more? How can I show them God's love for them more? How can I get others involved in their lives? How can I help other people see in them the amazing things God has shown me? They are what I miss the most when I'm not in Fort Wayne. They make me crazy, and hyper, and exhausted, all at once. They give me strength and a reason to stick around indefinitely, even when my wanderlusting soul wants to keep moving and not sit still.

So I didn't fall in love this year with the man of my dreams. But God gave me a deep and profound love for a group of kids... something I didn't think He could do again, after I had to leave the kids I love so much in Winston-Salem. Those kids are growing up now and moving on with their lives - going to college, getting married, getting jobs, joining the military - and when I see them, my heart bursts with joy and breaks with love for them. They'll always be my kids, and I'll cherish the time we had together, and I will continue to pray for them and cheer for them... but now God has given me a new group of kids to love, too.

And just today, He made me realize that right now in my life, this is the true love he has for me; these are the people I need to invest my love in wholeheartedly, without having to share that love with someone else. His love is true... the truest love there is. And he's given that love to me. And I'm going to give it to them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A year in blog review

I was trying to remember all the highlights of 2011, wanting to write them all down in fond memory and pleasant reflection. But here's the problem: There was too much! My memory is flooded with precious conversations, dear people, incredible moments, glimpses into Eternity. I'm overwhelmed by the amazing blessings that God filled my life with this year. So, I decided to try and pick just one highlight from each month, and give it a superlative, and link you to the post about it so you can read all the details, if you want. By no means are these the only things I cherish about the year, and those of you who have been in my life this year should know how much I love you and am thankful for you!

January: Most Daring Act of Courage or Stupidity - I ate a fried bat.

February: Most Incredible Slumber Party Ever - I survived Snowpocalypse, 2011.

March: Most Unexpected Disease - I was embarrassingly inflicted with a case of Bieber Fever.

April: Most Personally Challenging Book - I read and learned to Do Hard Things.

May: Most Fun and Romantic Cross-Cultural Experience - I attended a Zo wedding... and still have confetti and glitter embedded in my wheelchair!

June: Most Powerful Week of the Year - I got to share the ministry of I-House with my TCF family.

July: Too much happened to pick just one, so here's three! 1) Big Life Goal Accomplished - my first book was published, 2) Most Epic Family Time - reunion in British Columbia, and 3) Biggest Learning Experience of the Year - two weeks of training at International Teams.

August: Most Awesome Concert Experience of the Year - I went to Huntington University for the Superchick/Switchfoot show with a great group of friends.

September: Most Difficult Challenge and Greatest Time Spent Leaning on the Lord - I got sick.

October: Most Enchanting Day of Exploration - I visited the Limberlost.

November: Most Encouraging Time with the Youth - The Fall Leaf Raking Party.

December: Most Relaxing and Refreshing Vacation - Didn't blog about it yet, but I got to go visit the Perry family in south Florida during the week before Christmas.