Happy Birthday, Joy!
It's been a wild year full of memories and family and friends and fun and sadness all mingled in together to create a beautiful tapestry of life.
I hope you remember this year. All of it. Well, at least the highlights. Your sadness in the loss of someone dear to you, your joy in time spent with the ones you love. I know you're not exactly where you thought you'd be in life at 32, but remember... this is God's perfect for you. He is changing you and growing you and moving you forward to become who He ultimately wants you to be. You will always be changing and growing; and with everything He is showing you, you know that change will be happening again sooner than you thought. Where will you be in 6 months? I mean probably TN, but otherwise... where will God make a place for you?
I know you have all kinds of questions in all of these things, but you should know that no matter what happens God is still in control (if you let Him be! Stop trying to take the reigns!). He knows that while you have two "homes" here on Earth, your real Home is in Heaven with Him and that means that all of this prodding and changing is worth it. even the uncomfortable things.
This past year you've seen another cousin have a beautiful wedding and you went to the Nashville Zoo with your nephew. You watched your SIL J drink sweet tea like a pro and had a sleepover with CG. Your friends, near and far, showed you how much they support you no matter where you are. You got to go with your parents to see one of the battlefields where your Great Great Grandpa fought in the Civil War. You starting having good conversations with your brothers who you love even though you don't really say it enough and got countless hugs and kisses from your niece and nephews.
You taught 2/3's in Life Group at church with PC and loved every minute. Even when you had a migraine you loved hearing those little voices praise God and love their friends, LOUDLY! Your future there might still be a little unknown, but you know that Third Baptist Church was the first place you felt at home in TN. For certain, you know that you will miss those sweet little faces that get so excited to see you on Sunday mornings. You don't see all of your TN friends very often, your work schedule is a little crazy compared to theirs, but that has made the times spent together all the more precious.
You had an awesome conversation about fellowship and community and hardships in your life, how God is moving you, with "the guys" at G's and felt refreshed for the first time in months. You were reminded what true community and fellowship looked like around a blazing fire in the beginning of June.
You started being proactive for the first time in a very long time about your health and you started losing weight. You joined a boot camp at 5:40 in the morning! Who does that! It's SO early!! But you love it. You like having a trainer to ask questions of and to push you. You like the motivation of competition and seeing others around you do better than you because you want to do better too. You like that people notice when you're not there and call you or text you or email you or facebook you to keep you accountable; it's good to know that you're noticed and cared about.
Oh, Joy... what does the future hold? I know you don't know, but I do know that you're excited about it... that you're looking forward to seeing where God takes you in the future and to see what He holds in store.
Happy Birthday, Joy, this year is going to be AWESOME!