I’m 2 days shy of my 28th birthday, and I feel like a different person than me last year around this time.
Last year, I was SO excited to turn 27, mostly because of the extra syllable (first four-syllable age, y’all) and I wanted to dance and socialize and go to the zoo. I did all those things, and I had a double birthday party with a friend in Gainesville. I also got super anxious because I worried for some stupid reason that I wasn’t going to feel loved. It was probably a sick combination of hormones and a long-distance relationship, but I sure drove myself nuts last year.
This year is the polar opposite. I do love my birthday, don’t get me wrong, but I haven’t planned any parties or dinners. I haven’t thought about gifts. I haven’t worried about who will and won’t call. I haven’t had any anxiety about it. It’s almost like I really don’t care? I kind of don’t care. Is that how all of you have been this whole time? Have I just been the birthday enthusiast for 27 years and now I’m joining the rest of the world in birthday-related apathy? Sounds about right.
This weekend I get to go out of state, to Alabama, on a mission trip with Leif Hetland. Leif has written many books, done incredible mission trips, and is one amazing man of God. It’s like the Lord had a birthday gift for me all along, for my 28th birthday, to spend it on a mission trip and be part of this team. Be praying for the impact we will surely make!
This past year was full of surprises.
I moved to Atlanta, where the players play.
I visited FIVE new states.
I led 20 women on a mission trip to Thailand, my first trip to lead solo.
I got re-baptized twice hahaha, once in a river in Thailand on my 10th anniversary of baptism, August 1st. The other time was in the ocean in Florida, alongside the majority of my Bethel Atlanta School of Supernatural Ministry family. The ocean baptism was a backflip, and I think that is worth noting.
I dyed my hair red because I felt like I walked through fire.
I started sleeping in a hammock instead of a bed.
I started ministry school, and got trained in Sozo inner healing ministry!
I visited my family in Brazil and attended my aunt’s wedding.
I got a new job at a hospital. I love it!
Phylla House got 501c3 coverage through CODE Ministries, which was an answer to prayer. Phylla House is still going on, via the #ATLdevo and ministry calls. Over the summer, we’re doing leader training and some groups will pop up over the fall. That’s the plan, and God will send the people.
I wrote a lot of blogs, and I started writing the #ATLdevo! It’s been a fruitful adventure.
I talked to SO MANY WOMEN on the phone whom I’ve never met. Hearing their stories and getting to pray with them has been a light in my life.
I met a lot of people over the year, some who will be in my life forever. I’m thankful for them. God has increased my family and my territory.
It was a year of healing, discovery, and dying to self. I died a lot this year, to shame and to worrying about what other people think. Greater dependency on the Lord.
I’d like to think I matured emotionally, too. I cried some major tears, and grieved the painful things that happened. I also grieved the things that happened that reminded me of other things that happened. Yay for triggers, am I right?! But healing is a long journey, and patience is better than strength. What made me proud of myself is that I didn’t shy away from suffering, nor did I bottle it up to handle it later. I invested myself fully, and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. But God remained faithful in all of it.
I learned so much about being brave with words and actions. Love is brave, and we are called to love in action and in truth. Most people prefer to save face and hold back their cards, but I did my best to be vulnerable this year. I said words I didn’t hear back, and I gave to others to find it not returned to me. But my Jesus? He always showed up, and He was my constant companion, my constant encourager. I saw that in action through the whole year, that this Love is invested in me. He abides in me, and I in Him. And that’s why I don’t need anything from anyone, and I can love from a place of freedom and not from a place of need.
I sang new songs this year. I heard new melodies and sang them. I sang about His mercy. I sang about His heart. I sang about His eyes of fire finding mine in the crowd, and my heart blooming with praise like the trees. He gave me a new gift of praise, and you bet that I took it.
Oh and one last announcement: I’ll be the new executive director for an already-established ministry for widows and orphans in Uganda. I was speaking at a dinner for Adventures in Missions, and the CEO piped up and said he had a ministry for me. Sure enough, I’ve been in contact with the staff of this ministry for over 2 years, had already visited all the widows, and it lined up perfectly. I feel like I’ve been prepared for exactly this, and here it is, at the end of 27, I’m inheriting a piece of Kingdom I did not build but am called to steward. It’s such a huge honor. You’ll hear about it more later on. And I’ll be living in the USA, running it stateside. Breathe easy, I’m staying in Atlanta until further notice.
I’m SO thankful for what God has been doing in me, in my life, in my heart, and around me over the course of this past year. May everything I do point back to Him, at every age. May He continue to build in me the maturity required for the road ahead, and refine me through any kind of necessary fire. May I continue to burn.
Bring on 28.