This year for New Year’s my house became the “People-Who-Don’t-Want-To-Get-Drunk” party.
It was so much fun–there were 6 of us all hanging out, one of my friends made some amazing stuffed peppers, and we just had a night of playing Clue and Pictionary and failing to get the ball drop to stream on my computer. It was so much fun–my stomach hurt so bad from laughing by the end of it!
Everything was great, and it was a fantastic end to the year. I’ve been thinking about this last year, and everything that’s happened. It really seems like a lot longer than just 12 months ago, since there’s been so much change.
See, this last year started off not so great. I was doing online university and although I was getting good marks, I really didn’t enjoy it all that much. Plus, I was working a ton, and had just applied to two more jobs I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get. I lived in a small town, and although I had the best friend in the world, I didn’t have any friends in my town since she was going to school in another city. So it was a really stressful and discouraging time.
January kept going in that direction, but February got a bit better. I had just turned 18, and my mom and I went down to Mexico as a big celebration trip. And I fell in love. Head-over-heels in love with the culture, the country, the language, the food–everything about it. I got to know a lot of the locals who were working at the place we were staying, and honestly, God used that vacation to prepare my heart in a way I had never experienced before for something bigger. In February, I gave up control and offered my life to God wholeheartedly, for whatever he called me to. It may be weird to say that I fell in love with a country from being at a resort, I know. Our family travels a lot, and I’ve been on vacations and missions trips, but no place has affected me as much as Mexico did. I don’t know what it was–generally, when you get on a plane to go back to Canada I feel like I’m going home. This time, I felt like I was leaving my home.
So God worked in my life through that experience. Then for the next few months it was more trying to figure out what exactly that meant. Unfortunately, that made me really begin to realize some things about myself that really alienated me from other people around me–but in a good way, not a bad way. I grew up, and a lot of the people around me didn’t. I know it sounds harsh, but I just stopped having things in common with the majority of teens out there, and really only got along with people older than me. So I let go of a lot of people who were bringing me down, and a couple of groups of people who were kind of like anchors on my feet rather than supporters and encouragers of my faith–even though they were Christian.
So, summer came. And I got the amazing opportunity to work at a deaf school as a lifeguard. I’m really not all that emotional of a person, and nothing really gets to me at a heart level in general. I’m not a psychopath, I’m just a highly logical person. But working with these kids was another story. I have never felt so affected by a group of people in my life. I learned that I love working with kids with disabilities, whether it’s autism or cerebral palsy. I learned a ton of sign language, and it’s probably my favourite language out of the ones I’m learning. The amount of joy I felt whenever I got to talk to one of those kids is unmatched by anything I’ve felt so far.
I started to wonder how God could give me such a passion for two different things. But I think that often God can use one thing to prepare you for something bigger. And slowly, as I worked at the deaf school, my calling to Mexico began to feel like it was being replaced by a longing to help make life easier for families with children with disabilities. What does that mean for my life? I still have no idea. But I’m willing to do whatever it takes, because I know God has given me my gifts and talents for a reason, and he won’t waste my life–he’ll make it more meaningful than I ever could.
At the end of the summer, I moved to Ottawa. And that was a hard transition for me. I was homeschooled, and am super close with my family, and I was terrified. I was constantly caught between crying I was so nervous and just screaming at the top of my lungs I was so excited to finally start my own life! I’m sure any of you who have moved out know what I mean.
But it turns out that school is not big and scary. Your teachers aren’t out to get you, and your classmates don’t all hate you. In fact, school is really fun! I got involved with a Christian fellowship group on campus, made some amazing friends, am living with some great housemates, and found a church I really love and feel at home in. I’ve made great friends in my classes, and God has given me some amazing opportunities with that as well to actually live out my faith instead of just claim that I have faith. Obviously it wasn’t all perfect–there’s always going to be doubts, heartbreaks, and frustrations. But I have learned so much more about myself, God, and life in general in these last three months than I have my entire highschool-age life.
So what’s happening with me now? To be honest, I have no idea. I’m going back to school soon, going to get to see my friends again, get back to my house in Ottawa, and just enjoy life while God teaches me whatever he wants. I still really love Mexico, and I’d love to live there someday. I’m learning Spanish in school to prepare, and I’m just trying to be ready whenever God calls me. And I’m also learning ASL, because that too is such a huge passion I have. So I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the next six months, the next year, even the next week. And you know what? That’s ok. If God’s taught me anything in this past year, it’s to let go.
What has God taught you?
Happy New Year, everyone.