my fourth last post

Once again, it is December 5th, and I find myself looking back on a whole year of my life, knowing that tomorrow begins a whole new one. This is my last post as an eighteen-year-old. 

My eighteenth year has held so many more blessings than I could ever have deserved. Every year when I write this “last post,” I wonder how any year could top the one I just finished; this year is no different. 

I started the year by plunging into the semester of a lifetime with my internship with TeenPact. I traveled through Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Wisconsin, Maryland, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. I bonded with Lydia, Aaron, Mr. Martin, Ben, Stephen, Nate, Johnny, Reagan, Ryan, Brady, Blake, Danny, Stevie, Adam, Grayson, Michael, Brenn, Lauren, Carolyne, Katelyn, SharaLee, and Julia. I got to be involved in so many student’s lives, and saw my staffers make a difference everywhere they went. Most of all, I had adventures with Jesus, and learned to trust in Him alone. I learned to live with no regrets, to remember that life is short, to act with urgency, and to love, love, love. 

After the semester with TeenPact, I jumped into summer with my family. I worked at my dad’s photo studio for a few weeks and developed friendships with purpose. I went on a vacation with my mom and sisters, road-tripping through Oregon, Nevada, and California… and back! We made so many memories together, from the banks of Lake Tahoe to the beaches of Los Angeles or the canoes in Rocky Point, Oregon. As summer came to a close, I realized just how treasured my life, my family, and my friends are to me. It’s such an incredible gift.
But soon, it was time to dive in to the next adventure of a lifetime. Rachel B. and I flew out on August 25th, had a rapid layover in Japan, and began our three months together in Beijing, China and Dandelion Middle School. From the very beginning, we knew this was a time of life we would treasure forever, and we crammed as many experiences as we could into our 90 days. From spending two days looking for a post office, to train trips through Hunan Province, to late night motorcycle rides in Sanmenxia, to finding leftover croissants in coffee shops, to teaching students who absolutely stole our hearts, we had it all. 

Now, Rachel has gone home, and I am continuing here in this school that I love so much. Every day, my heart is filled when I hear my students calling my name. Each new minute brings new opportunities to teach and to learn. I am where I am meant to be, and I am full of purpose and life.
When I was writing my last post as a seventeen-year-old, I had no idea what my next year would hold. Looking back, I am overwhelmed. Literally overwhelmed; there is no way for me to write down the beauty of the past 365 days.
Oh God, you have grown me so much in this past year. I know you better now than I did one year ago. And that is all I ask for this next year. Yes, I would love if your plan included daring adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but my only request is that I know You more. I know that this next year may have hardships I could never foresee, but I simply ask to know You more. I love you, Father, Son, and Spirit, and I trust You. Thank you for Your faithfulness and everlasting love.
Nineteen, here we come.


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