Eight Suitcases & Twelve Years Later

Nervous butterflies filled my stomach as I quickly checked the clock and then squeezed the rest of my practical and precious belongings into eight suitcases. A mixture of lightweight, summery clothes and shoes, not really suitable for the majority of the British seasons, took up most of the packing. This was followed by some favourite books, my journal, a cherished stuffed animal, some photo frames of my loving parents and friends. Into these eight suitcases, I was trying to pack up bits of twenty-five years, which I was leaving behind.

This was it: months of preparation, our wedding, then a quick honeymoon and I was leaving my American world with a one-way ticket to England!

The drive to the airport seemed to take ages, and I was haunted of visions of my mom and I crying uncontrollably while saying our farewells. As we approached the check-in kiosk, I physically felt my stomach twisting itself into knots, yet at the same time, the Holy Spirit’s peace was hovering over my heart.

Surprisingly, there weren’t any dramatic outbursts or even overwhelming floods of sadness, just an unexplainable peace, slowly calming my nerves and reminding me that God knew what He was doing with my life. I was filled with a Holy Spirit-infused confidence that not only would God look after me and my new husband, but He would be watching over my parents, family, and friends as I was saying goodbye.

Precisely twelve years ago, I left my native land and entered an exciting, slightly familiar yet distinctively different, new place. God provided the boldness I needed to conquer my fears. He gave me the strength to embrace the changes. I was equipped with the ability to adapt and grow as needed.

Just like twelve years ago, the weather today has been grey with bursts of rain showers, and happy, golden daffodils are declaring hope and joy even in changeable weather. Perhaps that is why I love daffodils so much. They are some of the first springtime flowers to emerge, and they are like warm sunshine even under the darkest rain clouds. I remember feeling a deep joy back then and also right now, reflecting on how God faithfully journeys with me and helps mark my life with significant events to remind me that He is always at work.

What is a special mile marker in your life? Take some time today to reflect on how far God has taken you since then. Imagine how much growth you will make between now and a time in the future!

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:20b

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