Monday, October 24, 2016

{almost} feeling twenty-two

it's only seven-thirty in the evening here, usually I wax eloquent two hours from now or so on this, my birthday eve. But it's been a long busy day already, and it feels about nine or ten and my mind is racing and the words are flowing and for the first time in what feels like eons, I feel like sharing on this little corner of the internet I've called home for seven years tomorrow.

i'm bundled in a fuzzy blanket, with a coffee cup nestled in my lap, my journal and bible alongside of me, a coloring book and pencils on the night stand, and bags and clothes and suitcases and various sundry things strewn about the little cottage that Josh and I have called home this past week. Josh is also snuggled up in a blanket, sound asleep next to me - tuckered out from a day of driving and exploring. (he said it's a power nap, and he'll be getting up to make a salad for supper in a little while. typical.)

we've been cozied up in this tucked away gem for the past week on what has been an idyllic honeymoon in the Green Mountains of Vermont. we got up earl(ier) this morning, driving two hours north to Stowe to visit the Trapp Family Lodge and the Ben and Jerry's Factory. the scenery was beautiful, our time was perfect, so many memories made and so many childhood dreams fulfilled. and how sweet to finish our adventuring and come back "home" together, with no goodbyes ahead. (best part of being married after a long distance relationship - no more tragic farewells, halleluyah.)

tomorrow, I turn twenty-two years old. I feel like I'm leaving so much behind with this birthday. twenty-one you can still pull the "but I'm just a kid" card, sometimes. but this feels like adulthood...and I finally feel ready for it. I've been fighting growing up for a long time, and I know I'll always be young at heart, but after this past year, this past much has solidified itself in my heart, and it's time to take a deep breath, and step over the threshold into a new chapter.

this has easily been the hardest year of my life. i've never been so tired, battered, exhausted, and spent in any other season. for a while, I felt like I completely lost sight of the Liza you all know so well, the personality that I've always rejoiced in, the joy I thrived in, the love I had by default for the world around me. and this year, I learned that in order to live out of that kind of "happiness", you have to understand in the depths of your soul that pure and unadulterated joy comes only from resting in Jesus. Quit trying, quit striving, open your arms, and rest.

this year, I've learned what true love looks like. I've been fiercely and faithfully cherished by the most incredible man I've ever known. I've seen my community rally around us as a couple and carry us like the hands of Jesus that they are. folks, it truly "takes a village." I've been so humbled to see my family care for me in ways I never wanted to admit I needed. Jesus has stripped me down to what feels like the bare bones emotionally, and shown me His capacity to love, and that it's mine in Him. i've felt helpless to do anything, and found out I don't have to do anything. which is liberating and terrifying.

this year. oh, this year.

tomorrow marks one year, when, around ten at night, I got a Skype call wishing me happy birthday from the four people I missed more than any other people in the world. and when that call was over, one of those people asked if they could call me on the phone. and when he did, it changed my world forever. less than one year later, he's sleeping next to me, my best friend in the whole world, my husband.

within twelve months, I went from single, to "in a relationship", to engaged, to married. i have a new last name, a new home, two new rings, a new family. hardest year of my life? hands down. BEST year of my life? you bet.

dear twenty one,
you were rough.
i'm glad you're over.
but you were the best year of my life.
i've never known such depths of joy or stabs of pain like i have this year.
but i've never been more thankful.
i've never seen Jesus this clearly.
i've never experienced grace like I have this year.
i'd do it all over again in a heartbeat if I had to.
twenty one, it's been good.

twenty two?
you're going to be the best yet.
you're going to be a year of healing.
i don't know what's ahead, but I have HOPE.
bring it on.

all photos taken by caroline morales during an epic engagement shoot a month before our wedding