Looking back, I remember being SO excited to finally get down here... I was counting down the days months in advance and finally the day came for us to leave. Crazy!
The one thing I do know is that God is good - all the time. Though this year has had it's difficulties, I would not change one second, one moment of it for anything. Each step has been a stage of growth for me, learning to rely on Him in it all. Boundaries have been set, new beginnings have been made, and today, a year later, I finally know what I stand for, who I really am. I'm a daughter of the One and Only, beloved by Him. I don't think I could have said that a year ago with such conviction.
Over and over I saw the work of the Lord shining through the friendship of others. And there are a few people that have meant much to me as I made this transition. One of which is my dear roommate, Cortney. This girl has challenged me, pushed me, asked the difficult questions. She's sat with me for hours as I poured out my doubts, my questions. She's laughed with me, cried with me, and just done life with me. She's a woman of grace and dignity, a woman of strength and beauty. She has been, and still is, a true God-send. And I have one person to thank for putting the two of us into contact and starting this wonderful friendship. So Steve, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for caring enough to put me in touch with this amazing woman. I would truly not be where I am today without either one of you.
Then there's mama. The one person in Seattle that encouraged me to go after my dreams, though I didn't know what they would bring. Thank you for being my shoulder to cry on from afar on the nights when I thought I made a mistake. Thank you for believing in me and letting me go so gracefully. Your love is how I stuck it out for the year. And I thank you for not letting me give up on my dreams prematurely.
Oh Jenny-o, my dear California dreamer kindred spirit. We both knew we loved this place those 5 years ago on our 1st "big girl" trip to Huntington Beach. I still laugh at the memories we've shared on my many visits through the years. Thank you for seeing my true heart for this place and telling me what I couldn't put words to, "You should move here - you come alive when you visit you know." And you were right. This place has become home and I'm so incredibly blessed to share life here with you. Thank you friend.
Debber Boo, you are a true gift to my life. Thank you for keeping me laughing, for loving me, for encouraging me to see things I often refused to see. Thank you for reminding me of God's grace, His forgiveness. Thank you for the many nights we sat up watching movies, drinking wine, eating chocolate and pouring out our hearts to one another. You're my adventurer, my risk taker, my bold friend who loves well. You mean the world to me.
Catherine, my Catherine. I could not have asked for a more incredible woman of faith to come along side me in my life. You have meant SO much to me and have helped bring me to a place of courage and faith that I never thought possible. You've taken a terrified, people pleaser and turned her into a confident lover of Christ (though I still have a LONG way to go). Thank you for your wisdom, your love, your insight, and encouragement as I've faced the trials of this year. Thank you for your prayers. And thank you for helping me see what God sees.
To the community that I've come into - each of you are an absolute answer to prayer. I remember looking back at my old journal recently and reading a prayer I prayed over a year ago, "Father, I pray for community like that, for friendships like those." I never would have thought He would give me community, let alone the very community I prayed for that night. Thank you for your friendship - it means more than you know.
And my sweet Jesus - I don't even know where to begin. Thank you for standing beside me every step of every day. Thank you for being my source of encouragement when I felt I couldn't go on. Thank you for your companionship, your love, your tender mercy. Thank you for every sweet whisper and gentle reminder that you are at work. I praise you for bringing me here, to this place. And as I head into year 2, use me, teach me. Amen!
Oh. My. Gosh. I actually live here! And now, I just wanna go celebrate! :-)