A year ago today, I was driving from Kentucky to Mobile, Alabama.
With the bluegrass in my rearview and palm trees in front, I drove 496 miles to permanently stay in the same city with the man I loved, the community of friends that welcomed me with open arms, hearts, and homes, and the church family God had used so greatly in my life even before I moved.
My heart was full yet bruised and aching, and the Lord knew exactly what ointments to administer to produce healing, growth, and deeper experiences of His grace and kindness than I could ever fathom.
Saying goodbye to my family, the girls I discipled, the babies I nannied (and their dog), and the friends the Lord gave me in Kentucky was not easy. I still miss everyone. But the Lord has shown me how, in His crazy design, one’s heart doesn’t replace people as more enter your life, as if there was a limited seating capacity, but rather it expands to hold more. More love, more joy, more laughter, memories, friendships, and grace upon grace.
And now, 366 days later (#leapyear), I’m in tears thinking about all the Lord has done.
It has been the best year of my life but it has in no way been an easy one. There have been excruciating, heartbreaking seasons and circumstances that have brought depths of pain and sorrow like I’ve never before felt (and never want to feel again). But I can tell you with absolute certainty that I know, love, and treasure Christ more because of the affliction, the friendships, the church, the jobs, and the community He has given. As I was reminded this week, “Both the thorn and the rose come from the hand of God.” Shall we not praise Him for both?
This is not what I could have ever imagined for my life. This was not the plan. It is so much better than anything my little brain could dream up. I’m so grateful for this story the Lord is writing and that, in His providence, He has allowed me to be a part of it. It is exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all I ever asked, thought, or imagined.
“How happy shall I be if this true story of mine is permitted to win some restless, doubting heart to fuller confidence in the unchanging God, and to a more complete surrender of life’s cares, as much as the interests of eternity into His almighty hands!”
(Keep scrolling for more photos from the last year.)