As I began reflecting on the past 365 days, I felt as though my year had been stagnant. Last year I ran my first marathon, went on a missions trip, and published a book; how could I beat that? Through continued thinking, I realized 2015 was the exact opposite of stillness. The theme for this year was most definitely change.

I turned 21. Although I still hardly order drinks, I must say turning 21 was a big change. It sure is nice not having to question whether or not I am allowed to go into a certain restaurant or bar after a certain hour. And although I am still usually the youngest, it isn’t quite as obvious how young I am!

IMG_9079I graduated college. I suppose this is a milestone in life, right? The actual graduation ceremony was a few hours of my life, but what the ceremony meant will forever alter my life. I am no longer a student; instead, I turned papers and exams in for commutes and trainings. I entered the “adult world,” and if that wasn’t a drastic change, I’m not sure what is. I made big decisions for myself that I didn’t need to make as an undergrad. I wondered where to live, what career to pursue, what things were to be prioritized. I changed.

I moved to Asheville, NC. After moving from downtown Chicago to the suburbs, I moved down south for an internship. I started my a job in my dream field, and I learned that the job did not align with that dream. I hiked, I floated down a river, I listened to open mic music, and I met some of the most incredible people. I laughed, I cried, and I decided to leave. Making this decision was far from easy, but it forced me to again accept drastic changes. I got better at hellos and goodbyes, and I learned to appreciate each moment in a new place.

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I moved back to Chicago and started another job. It may sound like I am a job-hopper, but I promise that’s not true. I am just an adult trying to figure out my life: isn’t that what we are all trying to do? After leaving Asheville, I moved back to Chicago and found another job that I had previously considered pursuing. I realized that being in the suburbs I would have to yet again meet new friends and start over. It isn’t always easy, but it’s change–the theme of my 2015.

I experienced some of the deepest changes within my family. My family circumstances have altered greatly over the past year. Graduating and moving were difficult changes to embrace at times, but the changes in my family have been much harder to comprehend. Some days it is hard finding the light at the end of the tunnel, but I know it is bright–shining even more than I realize. I love my family with all of my heart, and sometimes it is unbearable being so far away. I know that changes happen for a reason though, and I believe it with all of my heart.

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Change. It’s such a short word, but it can flip everything upside down. For me, it did. This past year has been the epitome of change. If you know me well, you know I am uncomfortable with any changes, so this year was not always easy, yet when I look at what has come from these moments I am so grateful.

I met people who have changed my life forever. I have touched people’s lives in similar ways. I learned a lot about who I am and who I want to be. I recognized how quickly the circumstances on earth can change while our God is still exactly the same. I learned to rely on Him when I felt uncomfortable and scared.

I learned to accept change.

We can wish things back to the way they were, or we can embrace each alteration and watch the beauty that grows.

Last week I got my hair colored and cut. I’ve been trying to grow out my hair for years and years and years, so when my cousin (my hair dresser) asked if I wanted a change (rather than my typical trim) I said “yes.”

Why not?

My goal for 2016 is to truly embrace change, to accept the things that come my way and find the beauty in each step.

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