This may be a little cheesy to do, but y'all know I like to remember things in order to remind myself of what God has done and to remember to be thankful.
Tomorrow is my birthday! I'll be twenty years old. I can't believe I am even writing those words. Twenty is that age I always thought about when I was little, as though twenty would be the essence of my life. I thought I would be cool, I would dress nicely, I would be this bubbly and smiling person who had lots of friends and who loved other people with all her might. Depending on the year, I either saw myself as a famous singer (haha, I'll admit it! Its true!), a missionary (usually working at in orphanage in Latin America. Why Latin America? I have no idea), or else a girl in college (that one was only when I was trying to be most realistic). Well, the last one came true! And at least for a short time, the second one will be true as well! (That's weird!)
It is strange, because this year I have grown up a lot. God challenged me, disciplined me, and changed me more in the year I was nineteen than ever before. I'm just a little different than I was this time last year, and a lot different than I was this time two years ago! That may sound immature to say, but it is true. I have learned a lot, and the things I have learned have made me grow up a little. Which is weird, because in some part of my mind, I am still a little blond-headed girl, imagining things and dreaming and playing with her brothers and her Barbies. Deep inside of me, there will always be that girl who laughed and played, who went on dates with her Grandpa and loved going to the grocery store with her daddy and wanted to be just like her mama when she grew up and made up games with her brothers. Those are memories but they are integral to who I am now. And I do still have inside me the parts of that little girl who thought about things and wanted to truly be good and learn things. I still love to imagine the future. I'm still incredibly and unrealistically idealistic. I still love my family more than anyone or anything else. Those things shaped me and made me who I am, and I can never "outgrow" those things. But even as I think about those parts of me, there are other parts, parts that have learned that following God is a lot harder and a lot more worth it than I ever knew. Parts that have been hurt deeply but have also learned much. There's this weird sense of combination as I think about being twenty. I even feel as I type these things that part of little four-year-old me, and then little eight-year-old me, and then ten-year-old me, and then thirteen-year-old me, and then sixteen-year-old me, and seventeen-year-old-me, and then my almost-twenty-year-old me are echoing through. Its a surreal feeling. I know, that probably sounds ridiculous. It probably sounds like I'm being unnecessarily contemplative or dramatic or something. And maybe I am. But it is good for me to remember, and if nothing else, it describes as best I can how I feel right now.
Its even stranger to realize that at twenty, I have my entire life ahead of me! I mean, just this year, I have so many plans! I'm unbelievably excited about going and serving God in Hungary this summer. And then I have about four months in Brussels (with trips to the rest of Europe, of course)! That is insane! Then it will be back to school and a few more months and I'll be twenty-one. Wow.
Ok, thank you for indulging me.