Last week I quietly celebrated a little personal anniversary. It was five years ago that I boarded a plane from Atlanta, Georgia to venture toward a new life in Scotland. My big brother and I landed in London on July 28th, and on the 29th we were on our way up the island to my new home in Edinburgh. Wet behind the ears and totally uncertain of what was ahead, it is funny to look in a mirror five years later and see the same person, and yet a very different person, looking back at me.

I’ve learned so many things from getting outside of my own culture and customs, ministering in different ways in different places, experiencing Scotland for four years and now South Africa for almost one. I’ve celebrated joys and high moments with cartwheels in city parks and I’ve cried my eyes out in low moments on borrowed pillows. I’ve spent more consecutive days, weeks and months away from the home where I spent my first 17 years than I ever expected. I’ve taken risks I never thought I would take. I’ve made decisions I never thought I would have to make.

And if I sit still and quiet just long enough to reflect on the most important thing I’ve learned, it’s something I knew before I ever boarded the plane.

I need Jesus.

No matter how strong I think I am, after selling my stuff and arriving in a new country with three suitcases and hopes as high as the sky, after a couple of years of living on my own halfway around the world, after setting aside the tangible dream of a paid-for PhD for a bigger dream, and after moving continents again, this time with my husband and baby boy, the truth remains absolutely the same:

I need Jesus.

I cannot miss taking a quiet moment to read the Word and pray, to find the Centre of the universe and aim to make Him the Centre of my life. If I miss Him for a day, I might slide by okay. If I let busyness draw me away for two or three days, or more, the struggle begins. I struggle to keep kindness on my tongue. I struggle to keep peace in my heart. I struggle to listen for the still, small voice. Worries and anxieties begin to strangle joy. Sometimes I even struggle just to get good sleep.

Without Him, I can do a lot, but none of it is really worth doing. Without Him, I can say a lot, but it’s usually stuff that’s not worthwhile saying.  No matter how unique or special my story might seem, it’ll be insignificant in the end if it’s lived without Him and His big picture in mind.

But with Him I have the hope of glory. With Him I have the hope of a life lived that matters. With Him I have the hope of bearing fruit that remains.

Twenty-eight years, three degrees, three continents, one husband, one son, more addresses than I can count, five long years far away from the place that still feels home.

This is the Truth I need every day, the Centre that matters the most:

I need Jesus.

He’s not my crutch, my illusion of comfort in a weary world, or a reason for me to try to be good enough to get by. He is all that matters and I’m daily a debtor to grace. And apart from Him, though it sounds like foolishness to the world, I finally see it: I can do nothing.

The Good News: you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to find the most important Truth there is to find. He’s been everywhere you are, waiting for you all along. My thoughts about risking life without Him are well described on a vehicle I was a little surprised to see here in SA:


P.S. Sorry things have been quiet for a few days! Things have been busy with our move, lack of internet, and a power outage, but I have an amazing story to share with you…and I plan to share it tomorrow!