Twenty five.

Today is my twenty-fifth birthday.
a quarter of a century.
halfway to fifty.
Pretty much any way you look at it, I'm getting old.

If you had asked me ten years ago, where I would be at the age of twenty-five, I would have had a lot of different options, but none of them would be doing what I am: living in the ghetto of Chicago, volunteering full-time to be friends with elderly people, living on barely any money, etc. 
Here's more along the lines of where I would have expected to be at twenty-five:
  •          Married.  Definitely married.  Probably to some incredible man I met at NWC.
  •         Almost certainly with a baby on the way.
  •          Gainfully employed as a fourth grade teacher.  That was the dream back then.
  •          Successfully running a side business decorating cakes.  Yup.
  •          Owning a big, beautifully decorated house with a guest bedroom and a fireplace.  I could have showed you my house plans - I had them all worked out - complete with furniture from the Pottery Barn catalog.
  •          Living somewhere exciting, like Seattle.

I could go on, but the point is, things don't go as planned.  They never do.  I learned that a long time ago. 

At least not as I have them planned.  Thankfully, God's plan is bigger and better than mine.  He can see the bigger picture and plan accordingly.  I can only see a tiny piece of the puzzle.  It's not always easy to trust God's purpose and plan for my life, but I sure try.  It's not easy to hear His voice and follow His directions, but I'm learning.
And what an adventure He is leading me on!  The more I follow Him, the more I discover that He wants the BEST for me.  Better than I can even imagine!
So I may not have crossed a single thing off that other list, but here are a few of the adventures that He had led me on, things that I have done by the age of twenty-five (most of which were never in my wildest dreams!):
  • Graduated from college - with a degree I love more than teaching.  (Art/Graphic Design)
  • Read my entire Bible, from beginning to end, with this girl.

  • Built several lifelong friendships.  Better friendships than I knew were possible, because they are built on a mutual love of Christ.  Relationships where I am truly loved.
  • Spent a month in Africa.
  • Climbed all the way to the top of a mountain.
  • Left a job that paid the bills an today gave me comfort and stability follow God to inner city Chicago and love people with His love.

It's easy to look at those lists and how they don't line up AT ALL and feel like a failure, but maybe my reality is better than my dreams.  Maybe trusting God with my future and letting Him lead the way is better than forging my own path. 
I do believe that.  With everything in me.  And so I'm trusting Him with my life.  Every moment, every breath, every dollar - may He use it for His glory.

Here's to another year of trusting, following, loving, praising, and living.