-Night is drawing nigh-
For all that has been – Thanks!
To all that shall be – YES!
(Dag Hammarskjold)

Every year the people of a bible study in Chicago that I participate in via Skype choose a word for that year.  It can be a word that defines where you are, or where you’d like to be, or a word that reminds you of who you are….as long as the word is unique to you and has special meaning, it works.  My niece, who is almost three,  chose “tickle-tickle” to be her word and I assure you with that group her life will be full of tickles this year.

I battled coming up with my word this year  Last year my word was Victorious, and while there were days that I did not feel victorious, over all that is exactly what last year was.  So I wanted another incredibly powerful word to define this next year.

But my life is so much different this year that it was last year.  I am a completely different person.  My journey to my current self started 5 years ago on this day.  I wrote in detail about that here….and reference it often so I won’t go on about it now.  But that day I began to change, or actually, I began to become my true self. This past year was hard, I had to face up to parts of me that I’d hidden from myself for years.  I had to look at the ugly parts of me and decide if they were going to stay ugly or if I was going to do something about them.  I battled my singleness like I’ve never battled it before. I fought through serious bouts of depression where getting out of bed was harder than I can even describe. I have cried until I thought there were no more tears and then a fresh batch just started flowing out of my eyes.  I confessed sins that I had hidden for a long time and that were slowly but surely eating away at my soul. Sounds like an incredible year, huh?!?

BUT GOD!  I love those words….I have them posted at my desk and on the mirror in my room.  Because those words changed my life this past year.  Victoriously – I faced those parts of myself I didn’t like and learned that they didn’t have to identify who I was, they were a part of my story and journey and that was all. Victoriously – I looked at the ugly parts of me and through grace and friendship saw beauty through the ashes.  Victoriously – I embraced my single self and found the adventures I could live because I was single and the ways I could serve and be used of God in my singleness that none of my married friends (as amazing as they are) ever could. Victoriously – I had sweet amazing friends who laid hands and prayed over me in my darkest night, and who daily sent text messages, came to see me and checked in to let me know that not one moment of my depression was I alone, they were there and weren’t going anywhere. Victoriously – I was able to laugh through my tears and eventually they dried up. Victoriously –  He was faithful and just to forgive my sins…in fact, they were already forgiven the enemy had simply used them to eat away at my soul….but no more. My year was VICTORIOUS!!

So my word for this year…..i’m getting too it….HOLD ON!

I started this year exactly where I said I was going to….in Paris at the Eiffel tower. It was exactly where I wanted to be doing exactly what I wanted to do.  I stopped worrying about what others would think or where everyone in my life might want me to be and off I went to celebrate in the most beautiful city I have ever visited…bringing in a year I was incredibly excited about!  I had asked God last year at New Years that I be in a different place in life this year, and I was in all senses of the word.

I got home from Paris and 48 hours later boarded a plane to Portland to begin what was for me the realization of a 10 year dream.  I have started a Masters of Intercultural Relations program. It is a limited residency program – meaning I am here for 2 weeks in intense classes and then home for 6 months to work then back here in July, etc.  I am getting to learn new things and meet new people and start forward on a path that I have wanted to be on for a long, long time. It is scary, and there are some serious unknowns along the way, but I am excited and exactly where I want to be!

I am walking into this year with friends that love me and, beyond loving, truly care about me. I have a family that supports me and wants only good things for my life.  Most of all I am walking into this year with the Promise that no matter where I go or what lies ahead I have a God that loves me and has been with me and will be with me every step of my way.

I am choosing to continue to seek out adventure, to live life to its fullest….to face the things which frighten me the most and to make the most of I have of this one precious life…and live out in the most amazing of ways my word for this year – FEARLESS!