Monday, October 19, 2009

So long 20's, you were good to me....

I'll admit right from the start, this idea is not my own, but one I will gladly "borrow." :) Last week, Beth Moore's daughter, Amanda, turned 30 and she gave tribute to her 20's. Her blog made me start pondering over my own 20's and realized that they were really good to me...and thought they were even blog worthy. I started my 20's as lost as lost could be and they became a journey of becoming a lover of Jesus.

So, in the remaining hours of my 20's, I pay tribute to you, because you truly were life changing.

Here we go:

Age 20: At the University of Georgia, I was the true definition of rebellious and "enjoying" (enjoying actually meant miserable because I was filling the voids in my life with worldly things) life at one of the top 5 party schools in the nation. During my 20th year, I lost my Grandma Billie--the first of my grandparents to pass away and I lost my dear friend Katie, and it shook me. Life as it was, was no longer okay.

Age 21: Surrendered my life to the love of my friend Katie's life, Jesus....and He became the Love of my life.

Age 22: This year marked me as who I was to become and one I will never forget! This year was spent at the feet of Jesus. I found myself on Leadership at Wesley, leading Freshman girls. I also went on my first mission trip ever and it was to Costa Rica. I graduated from TheUniversity of Georgia this year. GO DAWGS!

Age 23: Headed to Costa Rica for 3 months to live with an amazing family and work with teenage prostitutes. It was during these 3 months the Lord gave me specific dreams and visions of what was next--so at the end of 3 months, I boarded a plane and headed back to Richmond Hill (that small hometown I said I would never go back to--Jesus has a sense of humor and oh, how I love that place now, 7 years later!). Within a few months I took on the role of Youth Minister at RHUMC.

Age 24: Went to my first ever OneThing Conference--and it marked me, again. The Bridegroom Message pierced my heart and I left that conference never the same. Actually, that was the year "ruined" became a common word in my vocabulary. Jesus became my Husband and I fell in love. I also LED my first ever mission trips this year--and they were to Guatemala and to the rural north Georgia mountains. I lost my Granddaddy at the end of this summer. I miss both him and my Grandma Billie dearly and wish they both could see who I've become.

Age 25: I almost died this year. Seriously. Food poisoning in a third world country will put you in and out of the hospital in that country and back home for 8 weeks....but it will allow you to see things in a new light and from a new perspective. Leading mission trips this year took me to Costa Rica and Arcadia, Florida to do Hurricane Relief. This year is also a special year, as it's the year Robert and I worked together for the first time. Only Jesus knew then that it'd be a lifetime partnership! :) {cheese, I know!}

Age 26: I actually turned 26 while in Waveland, Mississippi {my birth state!}, sleeping in a semi-truck that had been converted and had bunk beds in it, leading an adult team (that was a new adventure for me) that was doing hurricane Katrina relief. Wouldn't have had it any other way! A few months later, my dear friend Heidi and I tracked half way around the world to Romania together to spend the Christmas season with those less fortunate than ourselves. That summer we put International missions aside and I led a team of 60 to do Hurricane Katrina relief back in Gulfport, Mississippi. 26 was a good year--a year the Lord used to rebuild my physical strength! This is also the age the Lord showed me who my husband was and he began to pursue me.

Age 27: I got engaged!!! YAY!!!! And well planned a wedding! This Summer is also the summer we launched "Missions In Our Own Backyard" and actually had a mission trip in Richmond Hill which was really exciting. We also had a mission trip to Honduras--which means it was the age that I almost died--again. You've read the blogs (if you haven't click here) and well--it was life altering. Kelli's song puts it best and I encourage you to read the lyrics here. I also lost a dear friend this year, Ms. Ashlee Kraft. I still miss her oh, so much.

Age 28: I GOT MARRIED!!!! Yeah, um. And I went to Rome. Rome, Italy for my honeymoon!!!!! I could say enough said. But as this was one of the most joyful years, it quickly became one of the most painful, as the Lord showed me my 5 years in Richmond Hill were coming to an end. For the complete story, you can click here, but to make a long story short, I fell in love with those kids. 5 years will do that to you. And to tell them I was leaving ripped my heart out. I still love them. I still miss them. But Jesus is faithful. And still the One I'm head over heels in love with, and where He says go, I go. I finished out my last Summer in Richmond Hill and led one more trip to Costa Rica, New Orleans and had one more go around of "Missions In Our Own Back Yard" in Richmond Hill, then had my last day as Youth Minister in the Hill. Before moving, I stood next to my baby sister as she married her high school sweetheart, and then 2 days later, Robert and I uprooted all we knew and moved to Marietta/Kennesaw, Georgia and RiverStone Church.

Age 29: Hm--I became an adult--because I paid off my car! That makes you an adult right? :) 29 was an interesting year of many ups and downs and relearning my identity in who I am in Jesus. I survived my very first RiverStone Summer Camp--of 300 youth going passionately after Jesus and I'm grateful the Lord has me apart of such a bigger picture that I can't see just yet. I've been learning that He created me to be ME and that one statement might not sound much to you, but it means everything to me right now. 29 has also been a year that I've settled down (did I just say that?) and I learned how to be a wife, which I think is a good thing. :)

So, here we are....minutes away from 30. 62 minutes to be exact. And I come in expectancy of great things that the Lord has for me. There are many friendships and relationships that made my 20's possible that I couldn't even begin to contain in one blog, so this is one big thank you note--to ALL of you. Thank you for investing in me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for not only loving me, but loving me well. Thank you for holding my hand, helping me keep my chin up, wiping away the tears, holding me when holding was needed, for the hugs, for the laughter, for helping me lead, for being my behind the scenes team that allows me to walk in who Jesus has called me to be, and for helping me walk into my 30's gracefully! :) You have my heart!


Matt and Sara Beth Stout said...

Happy Birthday, my dear sweet friend! I hope you have an amazing day! You sure had a busy decade! I love it and I love you!

Robert said...

I think 29 is my favorite... Not that I know what it's like to be 29, but it just seems to be my favorite year in your decade.