Tonight, I want to start with just a little snippet about my trip to Gulf Coast Getaway this year. We just got back this week from one of the most incredible events we do all year long - I've blogged about it every year cause it changed my life big time. It has become a bittersweet event for me, because Jeremy went with me my first time, and last year I was 8 months pregnant...I just miss being there with him. I want to tell him about so much. Like how beautiful it was there this year, the best weather I've seen yet for January in Florida:
I spent a lot of time on the beach this trip. I thought so much about this beach and the milestones it has taken me through. Two years ago, we sat at the very beach and cried with a hurting friend, prayed together, and solidified a friendship that will last a lifetime. Last year, I sat alone on this very beach, in the cold, screaming curses to God with tears streaming down my face and fury and confusion in my heart. This time, I thought a lot about how much change a year can bring. I stood on this very beach with a different song in my heart, at a different place in my life. I cried a lot for Jeremy, but not the way I did last year. This year, I cried a lot for my brother too...for some reason, his loss hit me hard on the trip. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I feel closer to God in His beauty and creation. I pray more by the ocean. I breath deeper. I listen. But no matter what ups and downs I experienced on this trip, what I kept thinking about was how much different it could be in a year from now, on this very beach.
What I also know is that through all my ups and downs, I have incredible friends. This event brings me together with dear people I only get to see a few times out of the year, or JUST this time every year. But they are treasures to me:
This year, I got another tattoo. This one I've been wanting for awhile, for Jeremy. Sarah and I have gotten both our tattoos together, which is very meaningful to me...and her tattoo was with Jeremy in mind as well:
Overall, it was a great weekend. I always encounter God in a powerful way at Gulf Coast. I even adopted a little boy from Haiti named Johnsley. The kids and I are very excited to write him some letters and learn more about him! It was a highlight of my weekend.
I tried to take lots of deep breaths to prepare me for the changes of another year...