I was asked yesterday to describe my experiences in 2013 in one word.
My response: “You’re kidding, right? One word..?”
Because, you see, I’ve been to sixteen countries in this year you call 2013.
I’ve flown fourteen times, taken three train rides, and crammed myself into countless buses.
I’ve lived in countless hostels, my tent, other people’s homes, team houses, bunk beds, and my hammock.
I’ve showered with buckets, cold water, and baby wipes.
I’ve moved – oh bless it – more times than I can count.
And these are just the bare minimum details.
I filled up a journal. It’s got SO much – so many details of the days I struggled to understand why the wifi wasn’t working and why I was missing out on so much at home, why I was sick and why it was so hot, why I couldn’t find peace in my soul to be alone, why I loved people so much after only 25 days, and why KFC tastes different in every single country. It’s filled with sweet notes and words of encouragement from home and squad that helped pump me up on the hard days. It’s got sloppy handwriting, pictures, sermon notes, and diagrams. It’s rebound with a little blue stitching where it decided to fall apart with only three months left. It’s filled with 1000 quotes about gifts and grace, David and Anna Karinina and that Wicked book I read once and Frank McCourt. It’s got photos. It’s got it all. It takes the journal cake with prayers and heart cries and lessons learned in a year.
So, 2013, you were full of growth, the kind that stretches painfully sometimes in the knees and elbows. You were full of sweat and tears – literally. You were full of all the learning I didn’t think I could even begin to cram into my brain two years ago when I signed up for that ordeal. You taught me that life is doing. Love is serving. And distance can actually be the fun part.
So, thank you for the tens of thousands of gifts you held in the crevices of each day that made me search and work hard and uncover a little bit more of the me God intended. You will most definitely be a year I will forever remember in the bright lights of life and the deep valleys as well. Not a day will go by when one piece of you won’t influence a decision, thought, or word of mine.
2013 words & phrases:
- breathe deep and press in
- do you
- love does
- live it
- walk it out
One day I’ll compile all tweetable tweets from Liz Renee in 2013 and let you laugh along with me – deep belly laughs – because that girl is something else. 🙂
Until I find the time, Happy New Year, dear friends. Be so thankful for it.