A winter full of questions and wondering and dreams, and just not being sure.  Nerves about the summer, nerves about the future, nerves about the unknown. Mostly, just a nervous wreck all around.  That was me (and still is, most of the time…)

Tears, and packing, and leaving, and graduations, and goodbyes.  New jobs, and new lives, and new states for some friends—but not for me.

A summer to remember in Charleston—one of the best summers of my life.  One of the most stretching, and difficult, and rewarding, and blessed experiences I’ve ever had—lots of sweat, and tears (both the good and the bad kind) and impromptu singing and loving and hugging (yikes!) and serving and encouraging and being honest.   Lots of learning what it means to be vulnerable, to be truthful, to not be okay all of the time.  And a few people who were okay with me not always being okay.  And tough enough to hear the honesty.  And there, for all of the tears, the good and the bad kind.   Even when I was a mess.

A new life in Birmingham—twins crawling and moving and all over, all at once.  Re-learning what it means live life with people, and do ministry, and teach, and love.   Figuring out my place in worlds that were very different from the Birmingham I left in May.  And a lot, lot, lot of Hebrew. And I do mean a lot.

Making new friends and keeping the old—but both kinds have been worth their weight in goal this year.   Friends who became family, who became close family—the kind of friends who tuck you in after you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed, find the spot you stopped watching in “Steel Magnolias” and start it again, bring you smoothies and coupons and mashed potatoes and soup, and who love you even if you have a chipmunk face. And are high from the pain meds. And are sending them totally ridiculous text messages.

Fighting—not with others or with society but with myself.  My past.  My life.  The things I choose to allow to influence me.  Facing honestly the things that haunt me.  A hard road that I’ve had to travel, and this is the part where I learn to look back with perspective and to slowly let go and to look ahead without fear.  With optimism.  With hope.  It’s hard.

There are lots of things that I wanted to happen this year.  Most of my prayers were answered, but not in the way I would have ever imagined.  Some of them are still unanswered.  I wouldn’t have painted 2011 in the way that God has painted it.  I wouldn’t have chosen a lot of this for myself, and I guess that is the beauty of the God I follow, who is the author of all creation and the pursuer of my heart.  He knows.  He sees.  He has perspective.  This has been a year where I have more clearly understood that “I’m only seeing half the picture, for the other half I trust.”  Things didn’t end up the way I wanted them—but I think one day, I’ll look back and say that I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.


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