365 days

365 days or 8,760 hours. That’s a lot of time. A lot of moments. Many seconds of beauty and grace. Each minute dripping with mercy.

It is easy for me to say that these last days have been the best, most beautiful and life-changing ones of mine thus far.

This time last year, in 2014, I was filled with excitement, anticipation, anxiety, and expectation as I awaited boarded a plane to Israel. This past year was the most foundational and changing year I’ve experienced. I know that these last 365 days will be what have shaped me and will continue to shape me for years to come.

Not all days were filled with beauty and laughter and all-things-good. But, there was purpose. I saw and experienced things I could only dream about. My Father blessed me and walked me through things I never thought I would enjoy. I struggled with things I didn’t foresee and tended to resent. This year changed me.

Living in Israel for about 3 months and traveling for 1 month out of a small backpack was the most beautiful, challenging, grace-filled, and learning time of this year. I learned more about Jesus, where He preached the Good News, how He lived and loved, how He loved Israel and how God works than I ever thought I would. Israel will forever hold a place in my heart. (and one year later, I’m going back again…in just a few days! What….God is SO faithful!)

Being out of the country for four months also taught me a lot about my American, entitled, and (ultimately) human mindset. For months I lived on just a few pairs of pants, t-shirts, and not wearing much makeup. A few years ago, I would spend quite some time “getting ready”, putting on a full face of makeup and having the perfect outfit. That’s changed quite a bit over the years but mostly since living abroad. Upon returning in May, I donated/got rid of about 2/3 of my belongings (mostly clothing). I was so suffocated and sickened by all the stuff I had; makeup, clothes, knick-knacks, keepsakes. I now envy the people that live on 100 items or less.

2015 was also a year of struggle. Coming back to the states was much harder than I anticipated. I moved four times in the span of a few months. One week after returning to the states I moved to an apartment in Humboldt Park with three girls I didn’t know and one I went to Israel with. My time transitioning back was filled with resentment, reverse culture shock, loneliness, wondering and longing. The 3-4 months after coming back to the states were all sort of a blur.

Being back at Moody has been refreshing, joy-filled, foundational, happy and busy. I’ve finally found a home church and God has blessed me SO much. Leading worship again, being deeply involved in fellowship and church ministry has been so sweet.

I’ve learned a lot about myself this year. I’m bad at commitment and staying in touch when life gets busy. I’m a lot more “go with the flow” than I thought. Sometimes I don’t process for awhile and just keep going forever. Much of me feels like so much has happened and I haven’t had much time to process it.

This coming set of days I pray to be Spirit led and not emotion led. I pray that I would be heaven-minded, as I lay aside every weight and sin that entangles me. I pray that I would be committed to evangelism and discipleship, making Jesus known and helping those in knowing Him more intimately.

As the years and days go on, I ask if I am a character in a story, am I allowing the Lord to write my story. Layers pile on and I feel as if time is just flying by. It’s remarkable to think of how much has changed and what the Lord has done.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. -Psalm 90:12

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