An early year in review

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For anyone that knows me, knows my life, they can witness to what can only be described as the most ridiculous year of my life. For anyone that knows my sainted boyfriend, they can witness to his unwavering patience, understanding and ability to pull me together after the most ridiculous year of my life.

So for those of you who don’t know me well, and to give the rest of you guys a breakdown since I have basically stopped writing on a normal basis, here’s what’s been going on in my life in the last 12-18 months.

  1. I moved to London. As in London, England. For those of you that didn’t know that, scroll back a few posts ago to where I had a panic attack about packing up my life and moving 4000 miles away (spoiler alert, it turned out pretty good)
  2. I started grad school at Goldsmiths, University of London and interned with the US-UK Fulbright Commission. If you’re not familiar with Fulbright, well shame on you, because it’s the shit and the people who work in that office in London will forever be my family. Best people in the WORLD.
  3. I found my church family in London.
  4. I fell in love, hard. Bonus- I’m still in love and it basically makes everyone else gag but makes us extremely happy.
  5. I finished grad school (just barely) and will graduate in February (yay student debt).
  6. I got a job that would miraculously keep me in the UK (yay God and yay Fulbright connections)

So, really, those are the biggies in life since I last talked about moving abroad. I moved to London to do my Master’s degree, and truth really be told, the only reason I moved to London for grad school was because of Fulbright. For anyone who needs help clarifying all this, Fulbright is known in higher education as one of the most prestigious academic awards programmes in the world. Fulbright is important. And for me, who knew I wanted to be working in higher education, Fulbright was pretty much the #1 choice for an internship when doing my grad degree. So what’d I do? I based my choice of grad school solely on location. Ironically, as many who know my travel experiences well, London was the LAST PLACE ON EARTH I thought I would ever live for an extended period of time. Everyone knows that Greece has my heart (fear not Thessaloniki, you still do). But I could not say goodbye to the idea of working with the Fulbright Commission.  Naturally, like any normal person would, I made my choice and committed. Finally. After choosing 3 different grad schools over 3 years, I pulled the trigger. I leapt. And boy, am I glad I did.

After moving to the UK, I was sort of freaking out. Luckily my job at Fulbright kept me sane and my new schoolwork at Goldsmiths kept me engaged. But I was scared. That was until I found my church. Thankfully, Hillsong (yes, think Hillsong United, Australians, all that) has a church (well actually it has 2 campuses in greater London and another 3 in England) in London. So very quickly the Old Dominion became my place of comfort every Sunday. And God wasn’t finished working from there, ha, in fact, that was just the very beginning.

You see, there’s this little thing in the states I had called Tinder, and when I moved to the UK, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to meet some new people (since I knew literally zero people here) and take a chance at finding someone. Well, after a few months I was lucky enough to swipe right on the hunk I call my boyfriend to this day (happy 10 months tomorrow babe). I was rude. I didn’t give my sweet Karl the time of day until nearly 2 months after we initially started talking. Luckily his patience on Tinder translated to normal life together, and he miraculously still loves me today. We met on Tinder and today bring hope to the masses when they learn we beat the odds and fell in love on Tinder. For the record, my best friend just got engaged to the man of her dreams who she also met via Tinder. #trueloveontinder. So anywho, I met Karl, we fell in love, he’s the best and we are doing life together to this day. So there was that. God brought this wonderful man into my life. He gave me someone who made me feel at home. And from that point, I had a family. I think because Karl is such a babe, he also attracts the best people as his friends. Since moving to London, I’ve become close with many of the fabulous people who are part of his life. But God wasn’t done of course. I wanted my own network, my own people.

So when I went to an engage event through Church just before Good Friday, I met Emy. Emy is Jesus with skin on. Truly. Never have I ever met someone with such a heart for people, wanting to know the core of someone. She is amazing. And she took me under her wing. The following Sunday was Easter and God brought more wonderful people to my life. He introduced me to Aaron. Aaron is a jerk wonderful person who left me to go study at Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney. Can you tell I’m bitter that he left? All jokes aside, Aaron connected me in a way that I am still thankful for today. He got me hooked up with my connect group, and every 2 weeks, I get to build community with my kind of people. Bonus, being part of connect group also brought my two favourite people in London into my life, Celest and Aston. Celest and I quickly learned that despite our growing up two very different lives, we are in fact the same person brought together years later in London. For real, we both studied at Goldsmiths, we both have backgrounds in marketing/pr/communications stuff, we both have a heart for Jesus, we both have anxiety for ridiculously stupid things, we both are awesome. ha. I love Celest and her hubby Aston. They are my people. LOVE them.

So God tackled my people problem. I needed to feel community and relationship in London. Check one in that box for sure. So fast forward through multiple panic attacks, feelings of inability, worries about ever being able to successfully complete grad school and just general meltdowns about life and visa applications and jobs etc, etc (thanks for putting the pieces back together Karl and everyone else both UK and stateside that helped in that process) I made it through.

During that same period, over the summer of 2015, I experienced serving at Hillsong Conference. Can y’all tell yet that Hillsong sorta is my home in London? So every year Hillsong London does their global conference (there’s also conferences in Sydney, NYC and I’m sure other locations too). It brought something like 10,000 people daily to the O2 Arena to learn about the church, be encouraged in their walks with Christ and just in general praise the God of our universe. It was awesome. Like over 2000 people giving their lives to Christ awesome. Yup. Big time awesome. And I served as part of the new Christians team during that time. Not only did I meet more Hillsong fam (holler to every one of you), I also got a really clear message from God. Brian Houston, the head of Hillsong Church, preached on that first night about declaring the desires of your heart. I told God that night that I was going to believe him for making a job happen for me in London so I could stay. It was two days later that I had an offer on the table to work with CATES Tutoring here in London. Boom. Another point in the God box. I also signed up that day to serve at conference in 2016, unsure if I would be able to stay in the UK. God is faithful, people. In case I forget or in case you needed a reminder.

I made a secret trip back to the states to finish (and let’s be really honest, START) my dissertation in August and by mid-September I found myself with 12,000 words finished and working a full-time job with CATES. While I am convinced that my visa application won’t be accepted when I finish the process in December when I’m back for Christmas, God is faithful and will provide the desires of my heart, and that desire is to build my life in London. Please continue in prayer with me that God delivers on his promises.

So to elaborate a little further, while I was back in the US in August/September, my (now) boss at CATES asked me to join the team in New York while I was in Iowa. So I took on a short-term role as their Director of Client Services while I was writing my dissertation, working remotely from home. So my what I thought would be vacation/writing trip, quickly became a writing/working trip home for 6 weeks. Once I hopped the pond and came back to the UK, I have since upgraded in my role with CATES and am now the Director of the UK for CATES Tutoring (internally screams because of fears of inadequacy). God has blessed me in ways I would never have dreamed, and I cannot wait to see where life takes me this coming year.

Once my visa is confirmed in December, I’ll be allowed to live in the UK for three years. So now, life in London long-term is becoming what I feel to be a reality. Knowing I won’t have to say goodbye to my family here, with Hillsong, Fulbright and of course, my dear sweet Karl, is the most relieving thing I can imagine.

So, when the new year 2016 rolls in, I will have a new life and purpose in London. Here’s lookin at you 2015, and looking forward to the amazing 2016.

Proud.

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You know, there are a lot of moments when you just have to take a step back from what you’re doing and just feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. I get that way sometimes. I look at my life and ask myself, “what have I really accomplished?”

With a list that includes graduating from UNI, travelling the world, falling in love, loving Jesus, and making some amazing friends along the way, I’d have to say I’ve accomplished a lot. My heart is scared about 85% of the time, but when I really push myself to accomplish something, I find that I can make myself pretty darn proud.

But that’s not what this is about today. It’s about the people I’m proud of. People that have shown up in ways in my life that are unexpected, who’ve inspired me or who just get ‘it’. So this is for all of you. Just a little reminder that I’ve been seeing you, from near and far (please don’t read that as- I’m watching you), and I am beyond proud to know you.

My friend Hannah Rodriguez. I’m proud of you. With a year like you’ve had and having to push through a lot of things, I’m proud of you for sticking your head out and travelling. I’m proud of you for being a pain in my butt about coming to visit me, and no, I am NOT putting you in that category with everyone else. I am proud of you for getting out of your comfort zone and seeing the world that I so love. It really does change your life, doesn’t it? Mostly, I’m proud that even though I suck at maintaining our friendship, you’re there helping to carry the weight. Thank you, I am so proud of you.

My dear darling Taylor VanderWell. I’m proud of you. To move to Scotland and pursue your MA is no easy feat. I know, as we’re in the same boat. I am so proud of you fearlessly conquering this journey and doing things God pushed you to do. I’m proud of you for growing through a heartache that no doubt hurts like hell. I am proud of you for being one of the warmest, sweetest and most genuine people I could ever come across. And mostly, I’m just proud to know you because people with your kind of heart make the world a better place. You’re awesome.

My best friend Chelsea Hackman. I’m proud of you. For moving to Rochester, settling your life there, falling in love (you’re welcome) and buying a house, and puppy. Please stop being an adult before it’s too late. I am so proud of you for doing life and just being so good at what you do and who you are. I love that you put so much into our friendship. I am proud that you continue to be an outstanding best friend despite the 4,000 miles between us. For constantly listening to my incessant “I can’t’s and I won’t’s”. I’m proud to call you my best friend.

My friend Brittany Montella. I’m proud of you. For taking a chance and moving across the country. For letting yourself be vulnerable enough to go through life and let it shit on you sometimes. For looking fierce every single day even when life isn’t so kind. I am proud that you are brave and strong and have an attitude of confidence that will make you go places one day. I’m just straight up proud to know such a badass.

My sister, Alli Linn. I’m beyond proud of you. For going through vet school and coming out the other side in one piece. For being my confidante and letting me unload on you when you don’t really have the time or energy. For making me laugh and helping me believe in myself. I am proud. I’m proud of you because it makes me proud of myself, that I can look up to you and feel like I can fill your shoes and make other people just as proud of me. I’m proud of you for doing what you love, and for being one of the most mentally strong people I’ve ever met. You’re the best sissy.

My girl, Jardelle Johnson. I am proud of you. You’ve gone through it. Many times. And yet you have this softness to you that I really can’t explain. I am proud because you are trusting enough to have let me into your life and let me see the hard parts. I’m proud because you’re gonna go off to Brown in August and absolutely crush it. I’m proud because in the short few months I’ve known you, I’ve gotten to witness you grow, get stronger and make strides in your life that no one could NOT be proud of. I hope you try to be as proud of yourself as I am of you.

My love, Karl Lawson. I am proud of you. I’m proud that every day I wake up knowing that someone like you loves me. I’m proud to watch you work and create, because I get to see a whole other part of your mind, and it makes me love you even more. I’m proud of you for loving me when I often forget how to love myself. I am proud every time I see that grin on your face, every time you calm me down, every time I get that next encouragement from you. You are a huge reason that I can be proud of myself. You’re a ten, babe. I am so proud to call you mine.

Myself. I am proud of myself. For moving across the world and letting myself be vulnerable to all that life makes me worried and anxious about. I am proud that I am striving to serve the Lord more and watch what he does with  my life. I am proud that despite my biggest insecurities, I will finish this task in my life and complete this degree, even if it kills me. I am proud that I opened my heart to love and found the best man I could ever fathom. I’m proud that I love others and care about them like I wish to be cared for and I’m proud that I can write a post like this about amazing people in my life who make me feel this way. Good job, Jacci. I’m proud of who you are.

The year of fear.

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As the people-pleasing person that I am, and the one who realised recently that she only posted three new blog entries in 2014, I feel I should apologise, not because I feel sorry, but because that’s what a people-pleaser like me would say in this situation. Sorry.

But really, I’m sorry to myself. For not taking to the keys to let my emotions out more in 2014. For not being honest with the shit that hit the fan in 2014. FYI- 2014 was a scary year. Way scary. Pack up your bags and move 4,000 miles east scary. Know no one and survive scary. Survive semester one of grad-school while battling your health and mental status scary. Fall in love scary.

2014 brought me to my new home in London. I’m thankful and awe-struck at God’s abundance and guidance in leading my life to this point. My road to London was never an easy one, as many know, grad school was originally meant for France, then for Bath- but ultimately I followed my heart to London where God prepared me.

He has set a course for me this year. This I am convinced of. God is asking me to trust him in ways I’ve never been secure in doing. So to be transparent in a time of extreme weakness and to let you all in on where my life is, unlike so often what you see in the picture perfect lives we live on instagram, facebook, etc. Here’s where I need God. Right here, right now.

1) My health. Since I moved to London, I’ve been battling with one thing after another. First kidney stones, then loneliness, now debilitating anxiety. It’s been ongoing and sort of killing me while living here. I’m daily reminded that I need to ask for help, but feeling like a burden is something I constantly battle with.

2) My mind. I’ve been really weak. For those of you reading who know me personally, you’d often disagree with this but my mind is my biggest enemy. I live in my head far too often and let my negative thoughts attack me.

3) My relationship. For the first time, I think ever, I’m in a relationship that I’m afraid to lose. Legit terrified. In no way do I deserve the type of man my boyfriend is, and yet he’s here and loves me. I’m not really sure what I did to get him to love me, but I need God in our relationship so I don’t mess this up. I need God to help me feel worthy not only of my boyfriend’s love, but of his love too.

4) My schoolwork. I’ve never entered into something uncertain, mainly because I don’t like risk, but mostly because I hate failing at anything. I actively do not do things I’m not good at, because I hate looking foolish. I avoid them. I need God to open my heart and mind and just let me try. I need him to push the desire of my heart to succeed and unfurl in me the desire to achieve for him. I’m scared though. Super scared.

5) Fear. It’s the common denominator in my life. It’s the constant. It’s what hangs out in my head every day. It’s what makes my anxiety and depression usual and normal in my life. How dare the devil do that to me. I’m so weak that I let him think he has the power to overcome my heart and mind to make me worry and fear my life? I need God to cover me. To pull me from my fears, from my worries. To remind me daily, that I am his and he is mine. That everything is possible through him. In him.

So there they are. Those are the big five. The ones I think of often. Daily. The ones that hopefully, as 2014 is now gone, and 2015 has begun, I will understand, I will push past and gain confidence in. Please join me prayerfully, if you would, to ask God for his hand on these five pieces of my life. Thank you all.

I hope to be back writing, far more as this year moves forward. No fear.

The reason.

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As I sit in my office with the door shut, shaking (probably from the 36 oz of iced latte, but possibly from the fear of life moving forward) I did what I do every morning when I get to work. I go through my news feed. I check through emails, I read about the happenings from the day before, I search for news worthy of posting to social media, because that’s my job. Not so frequently, I will also read a few blogs. I did so this morning.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon Hannah Brencher. She’s the creator of moreloveletters.com and if you’re not familiar with her or her writing or her TED talk, you should be. She is my soul. Recently, Hannah moved to Atlanta. I can’t help but think this makes her even more part my friend- even though we’ve had one correspondence in our lives, because ATL was for a short time, my own home. It was my place. Where Souper Jenny’s fed me and CASIE educated me and 12 Stone Church poured into my heart. Atlanta is special and I hope it becomes a safe place for love and growth for Hannah too.

So, this morning, I opened up my WordPress, and I read her recent blogpost, this was never a hopeless place. She spoke about her time leaving, saying goodbye to her friends before her move to Hotlanta. This, of course, made me cry. After all, I’m preparing for a journey over 4,000 miles away from where I sit right now in just a few short weeks. I look back at the last two years of my life pondering what would have happened had I gone to Rennes, had I gone to Bath instead, who I wouldn’t know today, who I wouldn’t love today- where my life and where my heart would be.

This was a preparation by God.

I sit in Cedar Falls humbled, knowing I am being prepared for 4,000 miles. I’m being prepared for the goodbye. I’m being prepared for the hardest year of my life.

Last weekend I had my goodbye party. Like Hannah, I don’t like goodbyes. That’s why I had the party a month before I actually leave. So I can make excuses and blame lack of timing for not saying real goodbyes. Not to mention I fear others not making the time to say farewell either. It happens too often. I love people more than they love me. Don’t pity me for that last sentence, it’s just true. I love people so much. I have like 100 best friends. My real best friend, of course, but then my best friend from growing up, my best friend from the west coast, my best friend from Greece, etc. etc. I get made fun of for it. All. The. Time. But to be honest, I’m scared, because never have I been filled with so much love and hope for myself and the world around me.

In the last two years I met my CASIE family in Atlanta, I met my Central family in Pella, I met my new PLC family in Cedar Falls and I will continue to take them with me where I go. I have the unique capability to love people from a great distance. I’m a freak of nature when it comes to this- perhaps it’s because I love travel too much and feel that long-distance is necessary, but I truly believe that closeness has nothing to do with distance. If you’re part of my life and you value my friendship, I will carry you with me. I will carry you through my life. I will love you through life. I may not verbalize it, I may not show it often- but my words to you will be there. My heart for you will not waiver. Show up for me and I’ll show up for you. The people I surround myself with are my heart. They are the glue, the sanity, the rib cage protecting me.

Last weekend I got two extremely special cards, from two friends I love dearly. Both praised me for conquering my dreams and chasing what I love in life. I have to say to the two of you- and to the rest of my friends and family, any of you I’ve ever had a long conversation with, a coffee or a beer with, any of you who I’ve shared a cab with home or lived with…you are the reason I can go after what I want. You are the reason I’m moving to London. Every day you inspire me. I sit and listen to you speak, I hear about your hopes and dreams and you give me courage and motivation to never settle. I read your blogs, I listen to your voice mails, I watch your videos, I laugh at your silly posts, I cheer you on because you’ve shown up in big and little ways that will make all the difference.

I am terrified. I’ve never wanted to flee from something so badly in my life. But you, you my special friend, are my reason. The reason I press on. You look at me with hope-filled eyes, proud. You hug me tight and say, “watch me do it too.” You are the reason I don’t run the other way.

Thank you, for showing up. It’s all I ask in the continuity of life. That when I show you love, you hold it and protect it, and give it back to the world. Nothing could make me more proud. You are my reason.

“I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. I am never without it anywhere I go, you go my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling. I fear no fate, for you are my fate, my sweet. I want no world, for beautiful, you are my world, my true and it’s you whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you. Here is the deepest secret nobody knows, here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or the mind can hide and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart. I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart.”  -EE Cummings

For My Father

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As the clock just turned past midnight, today is now Father’s Day. As I text my pop at 12:03 this morning, it just dawns on me that I seriously do believe I have the best dear ole dad in the entire universe.

While both my parents grew up with alcoholic fathers, I grew up with a dad who played catch with me, taught me how to ride my bike, to drive my car and to do algebra. I had a dad that would go out in the 95 degree summer heat so I could pelt him with tennis balls as I practiced. I had a dad that stayed up with me til 3 am to help finish my Western Civ. project that I just HAD to do to scale of Stonehenge. I had a dad who’d hide an extra 20 in my purse when I went back to college, just because. I have a dad that will do the interlude at UNI games, even though he looks ridiculous and runs a high risk of throwing out his shoulder and/or back while doing it.

To those that know me, who have ever met me, know that my father is my favorite person. I do not say that one time a year on the day that fits it the most. But rather I’d say it with a gun to my head, with my hand on a bible, unfaltering, unwavering. My pop is the best.

I got the chance to be a part of the conference my dad was chairing this year this past week. It’s a really big deal, and all during the week I met people who know and love my father. And as he passed on the gavel, the new chair replied, “I have never met a better man than Myron Linn.” With my beaming pride and swelling eyes, I thought to myself, no one has.

People always claim that you marry your father, or you marry your mother. While some so often find that disturbing or gross, I cannot tell you how accurate and true I hope that to be. If I find a man with the character, humor, humility and love that I find in my pop then I will have gotten what I wanted. My unrealistic standards in life has not been met, because they’ve been set by my amazing dad. Not only for me, but for my dad’s sister too. She claims to this day that she didn’t marry a guy like her dad- but she married a guy like her brother. I can only hope that one day I will find a guy that can sit down with my pop and gain his approval and love as his son.

Of course, as my father’s daughter, I’m sitting here in tears, thinking of all the memories, the multiple road trips and countless encouragements my dad has given me. I know the constant pride my dad has for both my sister and I and I can’t help thinking how lucky I am to have someone like him love me.

So even though I could write a thousand and one thoughts on here, and pour my heart out (and get snot all over my computer because of it), I’ll stop here and leave you with some of the greatest reasons why my dad, Myron Linn, is by far the greatest of all time.

1) For capturing all of my attitude in its glory on video tape when I played dress up when I was little

2) For playing Memory with me when I was super little and for actually losing at something!

3) For driving across the country twice with me and making those hours some of the most fun I’ve ever spent in a car.

4) For letting me pick the radio station in the car and letting me listen to it as loud as I wanted on our way to the hospital when you were no doubt terrified of my illness.

5) For talking me off the ledge when I legitimately thought I was going to fail accounting while studying abroad and I KNEW I couldn’t pass it in the United States

6) For listening to me when I had a meltdown during finals week when my car got stuck in the snow.

7) For being the first person I want to call when I find out good news

8) For still doing all of your dumb jokes with your glasses and eating something that never get old to me.

9) For finding my humor just as funny as your own.

10) For being the best dad I could have ever asked for. God has truly blessed me with the most amazing father, mentor, guide and friend I could have imagined for myself or anyone else. My pop is the best.

I love you, pop. Happy Father’s Day, today and every day.

The Year

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I’ve been writing this blog for a long time now. Several years of my life have been documented in the 70 some posts that are Meet Me in Thessaloniki. In the last year or so, I have found myself in a difficult moment of life. Most of my dear Facebook friends will quickly tell you they are annoyed with the mass amount of ‘all things Greece’ dumped onto their newsfeed from yours truly. 

You see this year was supposed to be thee year. The year I have been waiting for since 2009. The one I dreamed about, envisioned over and over. And now it’s gone. Poof. It only exists in what one day will likely end in a movie script that I will indeed try to sell as a turning of age story of a girl looking to be loved in the way she can love. (Just for the record- it wins a few Oscars). The lovely heroine would of course be played by Jennifer Lawrence, because who doesn’t love her? and obviously she and I are dead ringers for each other (insert sarcasm and a genuine mix of all seriousness). 

2014 is the year I was convinced that I would move back to Greece. Since 2009 I said I would live in Thessaloniki again, I would come back for good one day, and I thought that would be in 2014. I had an interview with the school I attended while in Greece. I was a shoe-in. Or at least I thought I was. 

For the record, dear readers, or random bored human out there reading this because they liked the colorful design and my snarky attitude about J-Law- I am not an over-confident person. When I say I was a shoe-in, I genuinely mean it. I was over-qualified for this job. My heart was prepared for it. I was prepared for it. I did all but pack my bags 6 months early, and it’s a good thing I didn’t. 

God had other plans. That’s one thing that’s changed drastically since I first started writing Meet Me. I so questioned my faith back then, I was in search of something bigger, and I looked in a lot of wrong places for it. Not now. I can look in my heart for the biggest thing- God. 

For anyone who has read this blog, they know that I fell in love when in Greece, with a man named Kosta. He was everything to me. I saw him every time I went back to Thessaloniki. I would lose time over him repeatedly because I was so in love. And then he had a girlfriend. A girlfriend he cheated on, with me. I am not proud of that, especially now, when I try to set an example for the young women in my life that I lead. 

But I would justify it, I would continue to pursue my heart because he was my true love. He was mine! Or at least the invisible stamp that I had all over him said so. But as I told him the news that I could be moving back home to Greece after these five years away the words, “I’ll be married next year,” just rolled from his lips. It was a dagger. 

Had I not known better I thought I was just stabbed. How could he? How could he replace me? It was a flash. Everything after that moment. His face flushed with regret, tears. I congratulated him. What more can a girl do? Apart from call up her best friend after ending the skype call and ask her to take the bitch out. Which I did do. Immediately after getting off this call, I was plotting how to get him back. Thinking about ways we’d be together again.

And then it happened. Three days later I got the news from Greece. ‘It was a very difficult decision this year, as there were many outstanding candidates’. Another dagger. I knew what had happened. Oh and was I pissed?! God did this. God did this because I wouldn’t do it for myself. Had I gotten that job in Thessaloniki, there is no question in my mind that I would have broken up Kosta’s marriage. It would not have been a matter of if, but when. 

That is the most disgusting and ugly thing about me today. I’m pretty sure of that. I was more willing to fight for him than search for a man who would never put himself in a position to cheat. God did this. God protected me from my sin and from myself. God gave me an opportunity to be better. I’m going to take it. 

In the last several weeks, God has been doing crazy shit. Sorry for the cursing- but it’s legit. Crazy. He is uncovering things in me that I haven’t felt in years, if ever. He is putting things in place in me as his child that I didn’t think I was good enough to be part of. 

I always thought I wasn’t a real Christian because I was never able to experience things the way other Christians were in my life. It’s funny how amazing hurt can be for a child of God. If you look really carefully at the dirt of your soul and examine why you put it there, you might better understand why God loves you. And that’s just it. That’s what I realized in these last couple of months. In January and February, there were a lot of days I thought I was going to die. I was so scared, so depressed, so hurt by things around me and I just felt like I was drowning. And then God would do something and show me bigger things. 

For the first time ever, I could see my life from an outside perspective. I was like a third person to myself. I looked on my situation with a broken heart and just wanted to fix myself. For the first time I have been unapologetic about my faith. And it has reaped dividends. Friends of mine, one of my best friends accepted Jesus into her life. I have had more God talks with people in the last two months than I have in the last eight years. 

There’s a saying that sometimes God closes a door to open a window. In my situation, God slammed the door and I am so grateful. He saved me from what I know would be more hurt, more disappointment and just another let down. God is preparing me for far greater things. I am charged and ready to be that person. 

Greece will forever be in my heart, and probably a piece of me will always love Kostas. But my heart is not about to be put in a position to be broken in Thessaloniki again. There will be a day when someone meets me with a heart that is capable of loving me, the right way. Maybe that will be in Thessaloniki…or maybe somewhere else…the year and all those to follow, is still young.