Coming into a new year usually prompts reflection on the old year and anticipation of what is to come. It seems everyone does this at one time or another and makes resolutions to be healthier, more successful and happier in the New Year. Since 2014 started, I began to think about my life and not just this past year but looking back over my whole life. I turned 32 this year and though that is not old by any means I felt I had enough years to think back over the changes that have taken place and where I am today compared to my childhood, teens and 20s. As I reflected, I began to realize there was a pattern to my life and to how the Lord has worked in my life and prepared me for each step of my journey with Him. I moved a lot growing up. And when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. Until I was about 15 I had never lived in one place longer than 3 and a half years. My dad was in the ministry and we moved from church to church throughout the years as his ministry roles grew and changed. As a kid this was sort of an adventure. We were homeschooled so there wasn’t really the trauma of being uprooted from schools for which I was grateful. However, when I reached my teens it was no longer really that “exciting” to move from place to place. I found it difficult sometimes to want to make friends or try to invest in activities or people because I wasn’t sure how long I would be there. Throughout this time though, the Lord would prepare me emotionally before each move. I remember when I was old enough to realize this was happening. It was clear when we would be reaching another move because I would feel a bit restless and ready for a change. Then I would hear from my parents that we were moving and I was already prepared in my heart to go willingly. Don’t misunderstand; it was never easy in the sense that it was always hard to leave friends and places in which I was involved. But I never seemed to struggle very long with a discontent of being in a new place and having to make new friends. As a result of moving so much, I feel that I had a great preparation for life. It is never easy to put yourself out there and hope people like you. I am naturally more introverted and I had to learn to go up to someone and introduce myself. This doesn’t come naturally to me. It is still hard and I would much rather be a listener and observer in a crowd instead of the one starting the conversation. But I have learned that if you want to have friends you have to show yourself friendly. Often this means making yourself uncomfortable at first in order to be comfortable and at ease later. These lessons have stood me in good stead all my life and each new place I went I was able to put these into practice with great success. In our moving adventures my family and I met a lot of interesting people and have seen some beautiful places. We had a lot of friends who were missionaries and friends in all different kinds of business and ministry. I always felt that my world was large and open and I longed to travel more so I could experience for myself the places I had heard about from friends. When I was 18, my parents sent me to Europe with a friend as part of a larger group for my senior trip. It was probably one of the best times of my life, seeing such wonderful sights for the first time. I was so happy! This trip opened up a desire in me to travel more but it wasn’t until I was 29 that the Lord opened up the door for me to go overseas again, this time to Lebanon. I went with a group from my church and I fell in love with the country and the people. My mom told me later that I came home and said, “I could see myself living there”. I had never said that about any other places I visited. After this trip, I was praying I could go back the next year but the Lord had other plans and I went to Thailand on a women’s mission trip with a different church. This experience was wonderful! I loved Thailand, the people and the food. This was yet another experience of getting out of my comfort zone and loving on people I didn’t know and sharing God’s love with them. I learned that a smile goes a long way! Over the next few months I began to seriously talk to a man I met on my mission trip to Lebanon in 2010 and thought was just a friend. We had begun talking not too long after I left the mission trip but I didn’t feel any romantic interest in him or feel that a relationship could go anywhere if started. The Lord had other plans in His way to prepare me for the life He desired me to live. Through a series of events, I lost the job I had at the time and went through a period of searching and asking why. During this time, this man was always there as one of my biggest encouragers and simply as a wonderful friend. Over time I began to think that there might be something there deeper than just a friendship. We kept talking and in the summer of 2012 I went to visit him and his family in Lebanon. I was there for 4 weeks and on the 3rd week we got engaged! I went home the next week with a ring on my finger and my heart full of plans for our future. We discussed things over the next few months as we planned for our wedding. I decided that I would be willing to live in Lebanon as that was where my fiancés job was and again, I felt the Lord preparing my heart and He gave me a peace that otherwise could not be explained. In April 2013, I was married to an amazing man that God gave me and we started our life together in Lebanon in May 2013. I am so blessed and feel so privileged to be a part of a story larger than myself. God prepared me all my life for change, moves, uncertainty and being uprooted. He showed me He was with me each step of the way and that He is ALWAYS there and ALWAYS faithful. I am so excited for what this New Year holds and though it isn’t always what we would call easy, life with Him is exciting, adventurous, beautiful and challenging.