7 days

I am actually leaving Korea in 6 days. My how fast a year flies by, and oh how crazy wild and beautiful and painful and incredible this year has been! I have been crazy excited to come home all year, but really started to feel the excitement building around 10-11 weeks to go. I had major self control to not start a daily countdown then, and told myself to wait until there were 30 days left. Then somehow I blinked and I had 20 days left and I decided to forgo a countdown altogether. Until last night- I was talking to Andrew and just trying to get the reality of my departure to sink in. It just doesn’t feel real, and so we decided a countdown would be a good idea.

I grow so impatient when I am excited for something, so countdowns always help both build the excitement and give me a tangible visible way to see the expected day approaching. In college my roommate and I would make paper chains, each link would be a major project, paper, or exam that stood between us and fall break, christmas break, summer break. We would have huge celebrations when it came time to break that last chain and hop in the car headed for home. It was the best.

Back in December when I was anxiously and impatiently awaiting Andrew’s first trip to Korea I decided to give him an early christmas present that doubled as a countdown. It gave me something to focus my energy on instead of cleaning my apartment for the 17th day in a row. When the countdown was 10 days, I emailed him a song and a note describing what that song meant to me and how it made me think of him. [ulterior motive: The ultimate result would be that on his way to Korea he would have a collection of music to listen to and think of me the whole 15 hour plane ride ;)]

So it only made sense that my countdown to the end of Korea would need to be significant and meaningful. I will totally have the temptation to just unload my 5 journals onto my blog as a means to share all the the Lord taught me this year- but that would ruin the storytelling in person, yeah? Instead, I want to provide some simple snapshots each day until I leave. I somehow managed to merge the major highlights of my year into seven categories that I’ll share each day- pictures and music included. I hope it provides – as wholly as possible- the scope of this year, if only as snapshots of the real thing. I also hope it can be an encouragement to you, wherever you may be on your journey, to be reminded whether for the first or the hundredth time that no season lasts, so learn from the hard ones and savor the good ones! That good things are always ahead, so keep trusting, obeying, and moving forward, and know that God is so faithful. He is faithful to carry you through the wilderness, to continue a good work in you, and to lead you Heavenward to our true Home.

Seven. September.

At this point in my life, I see so clearly that September’s exist to be a breathing space between transitions. Not only does the air  itself exhale it’s cool breath all over the tense heat and humidity of summer, creating a space for fall to sweep in, but every September for as long as i can remember has been a season of transition. First it was the transition from high school to college, each year different and transformative because of the changes Fall brings. Then it was moving to Korea and landing flat on my face and spending the whole month just trying to breathe and take one step, one day, one minute at a time. Now, I am in a season of leaving that feels just as intense as the season of arriving. So to commemorate the start of this countdown, this is a perfect place to start. Here is a snapshot of this time last September, a memory of a time that has marked me forever as completely simultaneously hard but good.

First night, first apartment selfie
First night, first apartment selfie
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The first sunset I saw from my window. Even though my heart felt completely broken and so afraid, I just remember feeling so much peace in this moment — Knowing full well that I can cast every care at the feet of Jesus and He can take it!
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Learning my way around, growing more and more thankful for the location I live in — my building is the farthest in the background and a good number of my friends live in the building just across the street!
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Moments like these… early mornings at starbucks because I was jet lagged and it was the only place that felt familiar. Little did I know just how many seeds God was planting that He would water and grow in His good timing!
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Turning the studio into a home, bit by bit.
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persimmons and market sunflowers were some of the sweetest parts of this season!
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As soon as the leaves started to change colors and the city grew more vibrant, I started to sink into the reality that all would be well. This was a particularly happy day. Ironic isn’t it? That as the leaves die, some of us come more alive.
 see you tomorrow for day 6!
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