The Past Ten Years

I turn 30 tomorrow, and I am so grateful. I am thankful that the Lord has given me three decades of wonderful adventures, and I’m also infinitely grateful for the way He’s carried me through the not-so-wonderful moments as well. I’ve been thinking about the past ten years, specifically, about how I am not at all the same person I was a decade ago. I’m thankful for the ways the Lord has grown me and shaped me. I’m nowhere near perfected, but I’m definitely more at peace. Here are 30 things I know now (although I’m still working on knowing some of these better) that I didn’t know when I was 20.


1. I am not ugly. I am beautiful. Self-hatred is not humility. To acknowledge my beauty is to come into agreement with how God sees me.

2. I should eat healthy and exercise not because I hate my body and want to change it, but rather because I love my body and want to take good care of it. I should want to be healthy because a body that works well is able to serve the Lord better. Reaching a certain dress size will not make me happy.

3. Angelina Tea House in Paris makes the best cup of hot chocolate in the world.

Me on top of the Eiffel Tower in 2007.

Me on top of the Eiffel Tower in 2007.

4. My singleness does not make me a failure or defective in any way. It’s allowed me to make some cool life choices.

5. Being single doesn’t mean that I don’t have love in my life. Rather, my life is overflowing with people who love me and who I love in return.

6. “I love you Aunt Jeni” is the most wonderful phrase in the entire English language.

My niece and I, summer 2016.

My niece and I, summer 2016.

7. Worry is never an effective strategy.

8. I have something to contribute to the world.

9. God is a really good provider.

10. A Malaysian “roti bomb” is the best thing I will ever eat.

11. I don’t need to be perfect at everything, or perfect all of the time.

12. God can redeem anything.

13. On some international flights, they will give you free chocolate if you ask. You say, “I would like a Toblerone, please.” And they will give you a Toblerone. One should always try to fly with these airlines.

14. My identity is based on who God says I am, and does not change based on circumstances, what people say about me, or what I think about myself.

15. Everything is going to be okay, even if it seems “The Plan” is going off track.

16. Embrace the awkward.

17. People’s first reaction towards me is not immediate dislike.

18. Don’t worry when small dreams fall to pieces, God has some huge adventures in store.

19. Flying kites on rooftops in Nepal is incredibly difficult, but makes for some good memories.

On a rooftop in Nepal, 2012.

On a rooftop in Nepal, 2012.

20. This too shall pass. Sometimes it will pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass. (I saw that somewhere on Facebook.)

21. Life does not reach some magical point where I will feel settled, so I should stop expecting it to. I need to stay present, enjoy the season I’m in, and trust God to take care of tomorrow.

22. Laughter is the same in every language.

A Nepali friend and I, 2012.

A Nepali friend and I, 2012.

23. Be anxious about nothing. It’s a waste of time. Everything turns out fine.

24. God is with me, always.

25. Bitterness is not a good look on me. Take off the mourning clothes and give them to God.

26. The bungee jumping was prooooobably a bad idea, but at least now I can say that I did it and never have to do it again.

27. The things that terrify me most to do, are also the best things I’ve ever done. (Except, maybe bungee jumping I guess).

28. Comparison is the thief of joy.

29. “That’s the way things went, so that’s the way they were supposed to go.” -my Grandpa Jones. It’s important to learn to be content with how things turned out, instead of dwelling on what I think went wrong in the past.

30. Sometimes, in Tanzania, they oversell the bus seats. Also, I shouldn’t bother taking the anti-malaria meds. They don’t work anyway.

Tanzania, 2012

Tanzania, 2012


3 Thoughts on “The Past Ten Years

  1. Angela Vogel on September 19, 2016 at 10:09 pm said:

    I love all of these things! I love you! Happy Birthday. May God bless you with another decade of great lessons! He who began a good work in you will be faithful to compete it!

  2. Marilyn Moeller on September 20, 2016 at 8:13 am said:

    You are a daughter of the most high God! You are beautiful on the inside and out! Celebrate 30 & enjoy your adventure! Love reading your posts… glad you are where you are and my prayer for you is incredible growth. You are destined for greatness! Happy Birthday, friend!

  3. Andrea Gonsor on September 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm said:

    I LOVE your list!! Thank you for sharing 🙂 You are such a kind and wonderful spirit! God Bless You!

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