2012 had some big challenges for me, but it was also a year that marked a spiritual growth spurt in my life. I learned the importance of putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) every day, especially as I worked to teach others about Jesus Christ. The more I stepped out in my faith, the more the enemy tried to stop me. Also, I remembered how difficult circumstances in life are often beyond our control or ability to change them; what is in our control, though, is how we face those circumstances. We can become bitter, resentful, and refuse to change when life seems unfair, or we can ask others for support, make a commitment to do our best, and turn to God for the strength to keep moving forward. Adversity and growth seem to go hand in hand for me, and that was definitely true in 2012.
2013 is going to be full of many major life changes for me. I want to make the most out of the time remaining for me in Japan since I’m moving back to the U.S. at the end of March. I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with friends, co-workers, and students. I know I have many farewell speeches in Japanese and difficult goodbyes ahead of me. The transition back to America will be full of mixed feelings, moments of reverse culture shock, and challenges. It’s a bumpy road that I’ve traveled before and will again soon. In the midst of all of that, I will also tackle finding a new job, moving, and starting over again in a new community. I don’t really like changes, but they’re an unavoidable part of life and probably a common theme for me this year.
I know that I can’t face 2013 alone; I need strength and support from God, family, and friends. I am excited to see God’s plans for my life unfold this year. I’m glad that even though I have so many questions about my future, I can trust God to be with me every step of the way. Now, I have a big favor to ask: please keep me in your prayers this year as I journey into the unknown and face transitions around every corner. May God bless you and your family in 2013 too!