When I stood at the end of 2017 and looked forward, the way I found myself describing 2018 was: a year of travel.
I started off the year in our nation’s capital with thousands of college students at the Passion Conference. Later that month I attended a learning event in Chicago. A few weeks later almost our entire team from work went to the Best Practices for Ministry Conference in Phoenix. March provided a few weeks of staying put before heading out to California in April for my cousin’s wedding. May and June kept me close to home but July made up for it with trips to Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Guatemala all in less than 4 weeks. My exchange daughter from two years ago also visited America that month and I headed off to spend two weeks at her home in the Faroe Islands this October with a couple days in Iceland as well. I’ll spend the last day of 2018 traveling to Florida for another young adult mission trip.
Yes, 2018 was indeed a year of travel. But God took me to new places that aren’t so easily plotted on a map as well. For the first five months I traveled a road of uncertainty waiting to find out whether or not I had cancer. Following surgery at the end of May, I didn’t move much at all physically but explored a new space of rest and recovery. Healing from surgery went very well but in these months wrapping up the year I’ve explored the mountainous regions of depression and a chronic illness brought on by the removal of this crucial body part.
A lot of INCREDIBLE things happened this year (and I’ll focus on them in another post soon!), but to be honest, the roads of 2018 were hard. I don’t feel I traveled them very well. At best, I was the annoying kid in the back calling out to God, “ARE WE THERE YET?!?,” frustrated by how long some journeys were taking. At the same time there were plenty of days I wanted to just stop moving all together, but that’s not an option. One foot in front of the other is the only way through and so one foot in front of the other is what I did.
Yes, it was hard, but in it all, this truth made it all okay:
I didn’t ever travel alone…
not one single step.
At the conference I mentioned from February a speaker shared some things she learned while traveling a hard road as well the year before. One tip that stuck out to me was this:
“Don’t go it alone, even when you feel alone.”
There were definitely moments in this year that FELT lonely, like no one could understand, but it was those moments when I had to refuse to actually do life alone. My travel buddies remained faithful and my Guide, Jesus, the most faithful of them all.
Who knows what adventures 2019 will bring, but in this Advent season I find myself beyond thankful for our Savior, Immanuel … GOD WITH US. Because He showed up, I never travel alone!
SOME OF MY 2018 DESTINATIONS AND TRAVEL BUDDIES: