Today is my last day in my 20's! Instead of sitting here frantically regretting all the things I did or didn't do- I've decided to spend my last day remembering the things I've accomplishments, learned or experienced in my 20's. All the moments, events, people and places that defined my 20's and will set a foundation for my 30's. This post is mainly for myself, but feel free to walk down memory lane with me!
- I GOT DUMPED, FIRED, AND KICKED OUT. And it was the best thing that could have happened to me. When all that happened within a 2 week span, back in Florida, it pushed me to go do the photo DTS in Germany. My life was destroy in order for a new one to be built.
- I MOVED TO GERMANY. At 20 years old, I got on my first international plane (unless you count that really sketchy jet ride to mexico at 18) and moved to Germany for what I thought would be a 6 month trip and has lasted nearly 10 years.
- I DID A DTS. Doing my DTS in Herrnhut was one of the best decisions of my life. I changed and grew in ways that have defined and laid a foundation for my future in almost every way.
- I MET SOLOMON. I met a man named Solomon in Ethiopia who was partially paralyzed, starving, living in a shack on the side of the road and in need of desperate help. When he invited me into his shack to talk, my life was forever changed. Meeting Solomon defined my calling for serving people in extreme poverty.
- I STARTED PICK A POCKET. I was part of starting a non profit ministry called “Pick-A-Pocket” which serves people trapped in extreme poverty through the awareness and advocacy of the arts. Creating, sculpting, leading and learning the vision of Pick a Pocket has been my my entire world in my 20’s. AND I LOVE IT.
- I BECAME A LEADER. Some how I was put in charge of leading a group of (on average) 30 artist who all felt lead to be part of a vision that I too was figuring out alongside them. Becoming a leader, at such a young age, over so many people, grew me up really quick. It taught me how to be loving over nice. Compassionate but stern. Confident but vulnerable. How to provide and still be generous. How to focus on strengths and still be aware of weaknesses. And most importantly: Leading taught me how to listen.
- I GOT MARRIED. I got married at 23 to my best friend. Marrying that superhero loving- bass playing-photo taking German boy was for sure the most fun part of my 20's.
- I LIVED OUTSIDE THE CULTURE I GREW UP IN. In doing this I was forced to get out of my comfort zone. Out of what I thought was “right” and be open for a whole new world to teach me whole new concepts, ideas, philosophies, politics and ways of living. I RECOMMEND THIS!
- I EXPERIENCED LIFE THREATENING EVENTS. From being in the middle of a rebel war invasion in Chad and having to be airlifted out by a rescue plane. Escaping high jacking that lead to murder victims in Kenya. Planes flying through Typhoons. Terrorist attacks in Paris. To a few more. I experienced the violence this world has to offer which redefined my perspective of it and my desire to help fix it.
- I LIVED OFF SUPPORT. Part of my job requires me to live off of support. In these 10 years I’ve learned what it means to lay down your rights. To fully trust the Lord’s provision and not your own (even if it’s for toothpaste). To trust others and to be confident that I and my work are worth investing into.
- I BECAME AN AUNT. Becoming an aunt to my 4 nephews has changed me in some of the best ways. I love those sweet boys and love being their aunt.
- I HELPED START THE KOSHE/ DRAWN FROM WATER/ RAHAB/ PILLALU PROJECT. I’ve spent most of my 20’s starting and running projects in developing countries to help people out of poverty. Koshe: An after school center for teenage girls who once were working in the trash dump. Drawn From Water: a rescue program for babies that were going to be killed because of tribal beliefs. Rehab: A cafe started to transition girls out of prostitution. Pillalu: A children’s home for kids in rural area poverty. These projects have my blood sweat and tears in them.
- I LEARNED WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HOSPITABLE. I’ve slept in fancy hotels and in shacks in slums. Both have shown me that true hospitality means sacrificing for the sake of others.
- I STARTED LIZ AND THE LIONS. I started a band. We've released a few albums and wrote some great music. It changed peoples lives. It funded projects in developing countries. It inspired people to go to the nations and serve. It made people cry. It made people dance. It brought my imagination to life. It's been a blast.
- I TOURED IN OVER 17 COUNTRIES. From the music festival in the states, Pubs in England, shacks in Ethiopia to thousands in concert in China, I’ve toured all around the world. Every show, every audience member, every country has been such a treasure. My biggest dream when I started Pick a Pocket was to take the music and the message around the world. My expectations have surpassed me and I’m so excited to see where the music goes!
- I HELPED START A CAFE/ VENUE/ GALLEY. Pick a Pocket started a Venue with a cafe, stage, shop and gallery inside that served as a tool to link people visually, relationally and financially to our projects in developing countries.
- I MADE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE NOTHING LIKE ME. On an average Friday night, I hang out with people that generally consist of 3-5 different cultures at one time. One of the best things I ever did in my 20’s was stop hanging out with people like me and started hanging out with people I liked. Different ages. Different nationalities. Different religions. Different. And each and every one of them has grown me, taught me and shaped me into a much more open minded, interesting and versatile version of myself.
- I PIONEERED. A ministry. A marriage. A band. A venue. A (few) projects. A base. A new structure in YWAM Germany. A home. A social buisness. A Tour (s). A Life.
- I TRAVELED TO 36 COUNTRIES. Now a days that doesn’t seem like such big deal, but 10 years ago, when I first started traveling, the idea of me going just to Europe was a HUGE deal. For me and for what seemed everyone around me. Now, (only) 36 countries later, I can’t imagine my life before traveling. It’s true, those who don’t travel truly only read one page of the book. I want to spend as much time that I have on this earth seeing as much of it as possible… because only then will I finally be able to understand the full picture of what God sees in our humanity as a whole.
- I FOUGHT. I think learning how to fight was the biggest thing I did in my 20’s. Learning how to fight for something, like Pick a Pocket taught me what it means to be "all in." Learning to fight in my marriage taught me that fighting, when it’s with someone who loves you, doesn’t have to be scary but healthy because it can get you to a deeper place. Learning how to fight with God taught me that He would much rather me be yelling at Him then silent from Him. And most importantly I learned when not to fight. The last years I’ve been fighting for a lot of other people’s visions and dreams and it lead me to a place I didn’t want to be. This was a brutal but necessary lesson. Know what you want, then fight like hell for it.
Au Revoir 20's!
You have been so good to me! 30's you've got some big shoes to fill, but I'm ready to jump in and get this show started! HAPPY ALMOST BIRTHDAY TO ME!