Sitting on the Sea of Galilee I made a promise to God and myself. 2017 would be a year of transformation. This would be my purest, holiest, most adventurous year yet. I would transfix my eyes on God in full surrender, not letting this world distract my gaze. I would love harder, laugh louder, and serve bigger. God met me in Israel, as if it was divine appointment. He spoke many truths into my life I had yet to believe about myself. He challenged me to dig deeper and risk more. He also planted some God sized dreams in my heart. As July begins, it marks the halfway point of 2017. Needless to say, this year has been transformational thus far. If you would've asked me this time last year where I would be, I promise you I would not have said Africa. God has taken me on a journey of grace and trust over the last six months that has exceeded my wildest expectations. I've seen dreams slowly becoming reality. I've seen realities grow into plans that reach into the future. I've seen my relationships become last and fruitful. But here's what I've noticed throughout this season: unbeknownst to me, my heart has melted. Love has become something that comprises my innermost being. I wake up in the morning excited to talk to God. I rejoice in each step I take. I'm in love with every breathe I take.

So what changed? I've always loved Jesus. I've always followed God. I think it's this: I saw God. I saw Him a way that took my breathe away and brought tears to my eyes. This idea of transformation that I had chosen for this year has actually become transfiguration.

I'm now at the halfway point for my internship in Kenya. I've loved how God has continued this theme of transfiguration as I spend my summer in Africa. God's used this time to whisper softly into my soul, but there's also be a few instances where He's punched me in the gut. He's given me vivid dreams and words from other Godly men and women. The first half of this internship has affirmed my identity in Christ. It's silenced the doubts I've had about my future career moves. It's also brought to light spiritual gifts I did not even know I had. What a blessing it has been to experience the fullness of God; to experience His radiating glory. I've seen Him in the smiles of my dear friends with special needs. I've seen Him through the tears of a woman who lost everything. I've seen Him in the vibrant flowers of a monastery. I've seen Him in the sewage filled rivers of the slums. I've seen Him in dirty hands, broken English, and stray dogs. In all of these instances He's taken my breathe away, made my heart beat a little faster, and whispered into my heart "My daughter, isn't it great?". And y'all, it always is. I am cherishing these moments and all that I am learning. I have so much to learn and so far to grow, but I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment. I'm loving this light, this vibrance, this abundance.

I posted this on social media earlier this week, but I just wanted to share it again on this blog. I've never viewed my love for people with special needs as a spiritual gift until my time here. God has made this evident in many ways, and used it to reaffirm His plans for my future.

The past two days have been my most challenging in Kenya. In an area where children with disabilities are too expensive to care for and a culture that fails to see disabilities as a medical diagnosis, many individuals are left abandoned and rejected by their families. In the midst of this, Kenyan believers are stepping up to love these incredible people. They see people with special needs for who they truly are: People fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of our Heavenly Father; a father who doesn't forsake or abandon, but loves unconditionally. While their stories of rejection broke my heart, the compassion of others and the love of Christ restored it. Please pray for my sweet, sweet friends at charity homes in Kibera. Pray that they continue to grow and achieve, and that God would continue to protect them and fill them with joy.

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