My 23rd Birthday Letter

Yay for turning 23 today!

What I love around my birthday is that I get time to reflect on the past year and make goals for the future. I write a letter to myself every year to capture the big moments and wanted to share it with you!

Dear Maddie,

What a year!! Every year just gets better and better and my 22nd year has been one for the books. Let's recap: two days after turning 22 I started a new job working for Emmanuel Church. My hometown church hired me! Unreal. I am so blessed being able to do ministry as a "job." So blessed. I know this is where God is calling me personally and I am so stoked to be working in my dream job. Family wise: Mark is doing an incredible job working at Emmanuel. People love him and its been so wonderful watching him grow in his faith, leadership skills and love for the church. To be honest, Mark and I were a little concerned how we would work this past year living together and working together in our home. Early October we moved into the parsonage at Emmanuel. A super awesome house with an entire bedroom dedicated to a walk in closet (gah- my dream come true!!). It's been awesome living on the church property. I enjoy working from home and although there have been difficult times figuring out when I need to wake up and when to stop working late at night, it has been a blessing. So moving and a new job. Thank you Lord for making all these transitions so smooth…maybe too smooth?

Mark has always had a heart for ministry as in working for a church, while my heart for ministry has always been on a volunteer basis. After four months of working at Emmanuel, Mark and I started talking about how much we love it and really feel this is where God is calling us- to this full time ministry thing. When Mark and I were dating I clearly remember threatening him multiple times (not joking) that if he wanted to go into ministry work full time I was not dating/marrying him. I was convinced I was not a pastor's wife nor did I want pastors kids. Mark assured me that he wanted to be a teacher in the public school system, summers off, great pension… comfortable lifestyle for me. As I write this I can't help but laugh out loud at my screen… oh maddie…the things you said a couple years ago. Lord, you really do have your own agenda when it comes to our lives and I will still follow you if you call us to a pastors lifestyle. I just want what you want for our lives…but really pastor's kids scare me a little bit!

So Mark believes that God is calling him to pastor a church. The most surpassing, amazing miracle is that I believe it too. Despite all my fears about being poor and moving around a lot, I've realized that the bible doesn't ask me to live a comfortable lifestyle but once that shows this broken world Christ. I am all in 100% ready to support my husband at 22. God has given us such a peace this last year as we have prayed about it and sought His heart. I am excited to write that we are just waiting on Mark's transcripts and he is headed back to school! This time, his masters of theology. 

Through this 22nd year of praying for our new careers directions we've had to ask some hard questions. Financially, that means me working at Crossroads a few extra shifts to afford his school. But once again, I am so happy to work more so we can afford school because I believe in my husband and the calling God has placed on his life/our lives. The scripture "two becomes one" has been playing over in my head as I type this. It is really true and I am noticing it in such a practical way this past year. Mark and I are one. We are doing this life together as long as the Lord comes back. His struggles and joys and mine and vice versa. Lord, thank you for giving me Mark. He has been the most loving, incredible husband this past year through all our transitions and I am so humbled that you allowed us to be together. Thank you for giving me my sweet man. I honestly love him more each day and I can't imagine what you have in store for us as we take your name wherever you call us (but my vote is staying in Elmira!!ahha)

I still feel like a teenager most days and not turning 23, but reflecting on the year I can see my spiritual growth in the Lord and that is the most exciting and rewarding. God, thank you for working on me. Thank you for not giving up when I screw up so much! I want 23 to be the best year yet for us. I want to look more like you, smell like you and allow you to use me to bring people to you. I know my faith is little but I will go wherever you want me to go and do whatever you want me to do. I long to bring others to you and to grow closer to you. I want to know you better, have longer life chats with you and dig deeper into your word. Thank you God for being so faithful to me and for blessing me with so much. Continue to teach me how to bless others with everything you have given me. Each day that we journey together I love you more. 

Reflecting back on 22, I can say that I never doubted God's sovereignty or His plan. I know God is in control. I know He knows what He is doing and I know where my place is. Sure, I ask a lot of questions about poverty, sickness, slavery, cancer and people dying so young - but never in those times did I question God's sovereignty or His plan. God is just and loving and is coming back and I am so secure in that. 22 was a great year to secure so many truths I knew in my head into my heart and every day lifestyle. 22 was also a great year to be secure in what God thinks of me. I have come so far with getting my worth from God, not others and just sitting at God's feet letting Him love on me. God and I have real conversations and I can't wait to read His word (the bible). It's no longer a chore or a question if God could really love me. I know these answers and now want to share it with others as God continues to work on all my other sin with me. I can't wait to see how my relationship with God will grow in my 23rd year. 

So happy 23 to me!!! Can't wait to see what this year holds. So excited, God have your way in my life.


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