A Letter to 2015

Dear 2015, 

You were wild and wonderful and totally unexpected

Your January began with a broken heart, living back at my parents' house (a year's lease in a crappy little apartment finally over), totally unsure of what zip code would be home next. You didn't hold a real job at first, but instead days full of chasing and loving two rowdy little boys. Life was uncertain and unsure and unpredictable. I learned to rely on God's perfect provision in your early months.

You were slow to get going, 2015. Things didn't seem to be moving forward for quite some time, but then, seemingly out of nowhere, things got really, really good really, really fast. A 100 day project helped kickstart my creativity and keep me motivated in a long-term way that has had lasting benefits in my work and life. Opportunities to write kept falling into my lap as I kept working hard at my craft.

In March, I etched a design into my skin that I still can't stop staring at. I'm thankful for the conversations it always starts and for the doors a little ink can open into sharing my story. I'm thankful for the testimony of my life that this tattoos represents, and for the Author of my ever-evolving story.

May held a sweet 23rd birthday full of champagne and dear friends and good food. You brought the long-awaited promise of a full-time job with Rethink to be, and it was wonderful. You were full of cookouts by the poolside, growing gardens, chasing kiddos on scooters, sipping wine in Charlottesville, scouring farmer's markets for fresh flowers and veggies. I celebrated the sweet goodness of God in all the plenty of the blooming spring months.

Your summer's highlights were both trips-- one was to Texas with the Rethink team (full of incredible conversation and good drinks and shooting video and good food) and the other was a two-week, cross-country trek with Dad, exploring new states, visiting friends and family, snapping pics with the selfie stick, chasing whimsy and good coffee all the way. Seeing so much of creation showed me so many glimpses into the glory of my Creator and reminded me of how small I am in His big world.

Your August was marked by transition-- moving to a new apartment in a new zip code with a new roommate, stepping down from leadership of my small group, disconnecting from communities that weren't fulfilling or challenging me. I learned better how to listen to the promptings of the Spirit as autumn came and everything changed. As leaves let go, so did I. I always loved the rebirth and slowness that fall brings.

Your September brought the launch the project that is a huge part of my heart-- The Rising was brought back to a beautiful, vibrant new life in your days, with words from an incredible, ever-growing team spilling onto your pages day after day to increased success each time.

Then, in October, you blew me away. A brand new job out of nowhere-- you really pulled out all the stops with that one! I'm still in awe of how everything worked out to bring me here. What a reason to praise my God-- the One who provides more than I ever dared ask for or imagine.

I set goals for you, 2015, 52 to be exact. Some I met, some I blew out of the water (like reading 85 books when I aimed for 50), and some fell by the wayside (there's grace for that).

Many of your hours were spent in coffeeshops, church, Barnes and Noble, and outside. You held more Caps games than ever before (#rockthered), new adventures and old favorites (like camping and apple picking), more parties and bar hopping and dancing, more brunches, more cooking and tons of long walks around new neighborhoods. I can't put a number on how many words I've written in the past 365 days, how many blog posts I've read, how much I've learned, how much of the Bible I've revisited, how many songs and podcasts and shows were enjoyed, how many new places and experiences were visited and had. You were full in the best ways, 2015.

The best parts about you, though, were all people. I'm so grateful for my people. The family around the table at Thanksgiving, the friends crowded in apartments playing board games and drinking mimosas, the roommate I do practically everything with, the believers in the high school auditorium worshipping alongside me, the women who have teamed up to plan a massive upcoming gathering, the friends who fill up my phone with texts and tweets and endless encouragement, the ones eating tacos and drinking lattes and sipping ciders across the table from me, the little ones I play games with and tuck into bed at night... my heart is so full. 

Thanks for the lessons and the growth, 2015. For the realizations that I am capable and that I have a voice and that I can be a leader and that I can be confident in my roles. For the bravery to step forward into new things and the courage to let go of other things. For the words from dear friends that echo in my mind and remind me of who I am and how loved I am. For continuing my longest stretch of being single, and for teaching my heart to be free and bold all on its own and find fulfillment in my Creator instead of any crush. For the many, many memories that I'll cherish for all time. 

My word for you was selah, and it's been the undercurrent, slow and steady, of every month and changing season. Pause and praise. Pause and praise. Pause and praise. It has changed my attitude and my outlook and my heart. I slow down more often now, take time to write all the blessings down, look up more, capture the beauty in photographs, make my words matter, and look for ways to remind others they are seen and loved. Pause and praise. Selah.

2015 was good, 2015 was wild, 2015 was full, 2015 was great.

May this coming year be all that and more. I'm so grateful for a God who provides in abundance, who offers life to the full, who is endlessly faithful and relentlessly gracious and who stunningly loves my wandering, restless heart. This year brought me closer to Him above all else, and I'm forever changed. Spirit, make me brave and lead me on.

Cheers to you, 2015! And cheers to all that's to come in 2016!