27

I’m exceedingly psyched because I’m turning 27 today on 02•22•20… and if you know me, then you know that the number symmetry, along with turning one of my favorite numbers, makes me feel absolutely delighted.

But really, it’s always a blessing to me to see another year. The song going through my thoughts these past few days was You Keep On Getting Better sung by Maverick City Music, especially the refrain that says, “Every day gets sweeter, every day gets better.” It speaks to the fact that every day lived in relationship with our awesome God gets better for us as His children – He never changes in His perfection, but for us He gets better as we discover more and more of Him with each passing experience, good or bad. I’ve found this to especially be true these past few years, and it’s a concept I’ve been pondering these past few days as I walk into 27 with that same mindset. There’s another part of the song that says over and over – after declaring how good God is – “You keep on getting better, You keep on getting better.” I couldn’t listen to that part without joyfully singing along and expressing thanks to the Lord for who He is and all He’s done. I asked myself in what specific ways the Lord’s kept getting better to me, and what I loved was that many of the ways seemed like such simple things, but their impact on my life was anything but. He gets better and better to me every time I get the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the clouds above me, or the serenity of a Poznan sunset at the end of the day. I mean, at times (at least in my view), the sky looks so intricately painted with a range of pastels, and I just can’t help looking up in awe at God’s creativity. And then it’ll be a whole different range of colours the next day, harboring a completely different vibe and bringing a new sense of wonder to my heart – something new, yet at its core, still the same. God gets better and better to me with each day, as I literally experience His strength in me on days when Tuesdays feel like Thursdays and I can barely keep my eyes open long enough to study. I notice how He listens to me and encourages me exactly as I need, and how He draws me closer to Him, motivating me to be a better child of God, refining me day by day and removing all that isn’t like Him. All these things and more make me emphatically say: Yes, Lord – You keep getting better! And I love that as I discover more of Him with each passing year, I’m consistently reminded of how He is good. There’s a part of You Keep On Getting Better that says, “You are good; In the morning I’ll sing ‘You are good.’ In the evening I’ll sing ‘You are good,’ You are good to me.” It’s a sentiment often said about God without much thought – Oh, God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. But the reality of taking a moment and realizing that He truly is… means so much. The way He works and helps me when maybe I’ve slacked a bit on my to-do list – He’s good. The way He warms my heart through interactions with my family and friends during long rotation days – He is good. The many, many ways He shows me His character through specific verses in His word and strengthens my faith daily in such thoughtful and personal ways – He is so, so good.

Turning 27 today is a gift. There’s so much peace, joy, and excitement surrounding me, not only due to anticipation of the year ahead, but because I know that no matter what, He keeps on getting better.

25

Today, I turn 25.

A whole quarter-century…! This blows my mind.

One whole quarter deposited in the piggy bank of life already.

If I thought that time flew before, these past few years, it’s basically felt like it’s going at lightening speed with each birthday that comes around. It’s truly a blessing to see this new year; so many young adults don’t make it to this age, so I’m extremely grateful for yet another day to enjoy life’s simple joys, and to celebrate another milestone birthday.

Birthdays are always a time for me to reflect back on the past year, consider what values I’ve learned or honed, and make goals for how I want to grow at my new age over the next year.

For some reason, 25 feels like a new horizon: all the 24-and-below years neatly packaged away and left behind to enter solidly into the mid- and upper-20’s. So a few months ago, I thought to myself on what I’d want going into 25. All I knew right away was that I wanted to keep knowing God deeper, and growing in my faith and relationship with Him. It’s what brings me the most joy and satisfaction, what informs my life, and what motivates me to pursue growth as a person. After that, I thought a bit more on what values I particularly leaned on over the past year, lessons that stood out to me as good life advice for myself to continue pursuing in this new year and beyond. Here are some of those thoughts.

Love people hard.
Loving people always comes with consequences that accompany that vulnerability. However, it’s completely worth it. Especially if those loved ones are your family, or friends. It’s such a privilege to have close, supportive, and loving family + friends, and I couldn’t be more grateful for mine. They always push me to be better, and inspire me in my faith. For me, loving them often comes in the form of appreciating them as much as I possibly can amidst the craziness of life from so far away. It’s not extravagant usually, but I’ve found that often, the simplest encouraging words over the phone end up meaning the most. Continue reading

24 Things Life Is Too Short For

Today, I’m turning 24 (…I know… twenty-four!). Every year around my birthday, I try to write down a number of fun things to commemorate the day – kind of like random things I might’ve wanted to know for this age a decade ago. It’s a fun way for me to reflect without getting too deep, while also thinking back on lessons I’m thankful for learning.

This year, I thought it’d be cool to think about things that life is too short for. The answer is probably “everything”, but since I’m turning 24, here are 24 things on just that.

Life’s too short to…

  1. not trust God. This is something I have been and am learning daily, but it’s a beautiful journey, and one that we should encourage each other in.
  2. not learn some Bible verses. These come in very handy when you need instant encouragement. It helps to have God’s word ready to go with anything that comes your way.

  3. not make some goals. Life goals, man. It’s worth it for the direction and motivation.

  4. not be accountable. Find that family member or friend who can help you reach those life goals.

  5. not have good friend-mentors. I totally made up this phrase, but it’s what I consider a trustworthy, good friend that can offer you solid direction when you need it. You will need it. Continue reading

A Country’s Birthday

Happy July 4th! It’s been a minute and then some since I’ve written here, because pesky final exams for my first year of med school got in the way, but I’m back for the long haul (meal planning for the fall will hopefully free up more writing time for me!).

I’ve always loved Independence Day (hello, fireworks!), but there’s been nothing like this past year abroad to make me truly appreciate this wonderful country I grew up in. Although I’ve lived abroad before, this past year has made me acutely aware of the world’s views on Americans (and Texans). A lot of the perceptions stem from various sources – American movies or people met in passing while travelling – and for some, the views could cause a bit of self-consciousness. But for me, I think the things that might render Americans unsavory to some are the things that most endear me to them. Yep, I’m talking about things like the food… we certainly do serve somewhat “bigger” portions here in comparison to other countries, but nowhere else can I find the deliciousness that is Chick-Fil-A. But I’m also talking about things like the intense sense of patriotism, the general kindness of people toward one another (especially toward strangers, at least in Texas), and the work ethic evident in many of our citizens.

So I’ll take the American jokes any day. Because it means that I’m part of an amazing country where 239 years ago, our forefathers had the mettle, the courage, and the ambition to declare our independence and start us on the path to where we are today. I couldn’t be more proud to be an American than I am today. Happy Independence Day!