another year older

Time really does fly by, but also creep slowly all at the same time. I've thought a lot about my birthday - about what it would mean. Obviously, it means i'm another year older, but it also means it's my second birthday here in Japan.

My last birthday, I had only been in Japan two weeks. I knew three whole people, one of them being Drew, and I wasn't able to drive anywhere. I remember feeling so alone, thinking that there was just no possible way I was going to find friends here. I even cried a little, and said some really pitiful prayers to God about desperately wanting a community.

The one person I knew asked if she could take me to lunch for my birthday. And it was at that lunch, that I realized my years here were only going to be what I let them. God was only going to work if I wasn't just sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

So I went to new churches, invited myself places, joined bible studies. I commented on strangers instagram accounts, talked to people at the grocery store, and dove deep into making a life here.

It's crazy to me, to look back on myself turning 25, wistfully just praying for a few friends to make the time here in Japan not so lonely. Because now, turning 26, i'm truly in awe of what the Lord has done in just a year.

There was a point on my birthday this year that I actually felt overwhelmed from all of the people that took time out of their day to celebrate me. Friends in the states that stayed up late to celebrate me the second it was August 12th here in Japan. Friends that celebrated me twice, in both time zones. Friends that decorated my entire cube and our entire office, made me a homemade cheesecake, bought me gifts, wrote me cards. Friends that brought me cookie cake, wine, kit kats, and so many other things. Friends that took the time to send snail mail, or an amazon giftcard, or just carved out space for me to tell me they were thinking of me.

25 taught me so many things -

To make the time for the phone call/Facetime. To write the letter, to send the text. To start the photography business, to buy the drone. To read the books, listen to the podcasts, and to try and run more. 25 taught me to be a better wife, it taught me how selfish I can be, and it taught me that there's truly just nothing better than showing up for other people.

25 taught me that time truly isn't ours - that it can be taken away so easily - and that celebrating every moment of it is so important. It taught me that distance, while it does make the heart grow fonder, it also reveals a lot of weakness. Distance really does reveal true friendship - and while it's been hard for me to watch some friendships burn slowly, I've also seen the incredible ways that some have really bloomed.

I think I've probably learned more about myself this year, than ever before. I learned so much about God, and the way he comes alongside us in our valleys and trudges forward with us. I learned to rest in His plans, and to try to let go of this never ending battle of always wanting all of the control.

Here's to 26 - to whatever it has for me. I'd like to think i'm ready.