A year ago today, you packed up your car, hugged your daddy tight with tears streaming down your face, told him goodbye, and you and your mama pulled out of the driveway and headed west. You were full of so many hopes and dreams and expectations and the usual fear of the unknown as you drove through state after state and mile upon mile away from your home.

Brave heart, here's what I want you to know...

That first week is going to be one of the most discouraging weeks of your life, and you are going to think you made the biggest mistake in moving here. It's going to be stressful to say the least, you'll think seriously every five minutes about packing up and moving home, but you are going to make it through that week and the next and the next, and Jesus is going to provide in ways you didn't expect.

You are going to experience homesickness like never before, you'll feel an actual pain deep in your heart that you can't explain, and you're going to cry unexpectedly and uncontrollably in public all the time. You'll be depressed for about three months, and you're going to go through a grieving process like you never imagined, but your friends are going to do their best to make this place feel like home for you. In the process, you will learn that it is okay to like living here, it is okay to make new friends, it is okay to start new traditions, and it is okay to put down roots. None of that makes less of the home you grew up in or the friends who are dear to your heart there. I want you to remember that you didn't give up when you wanted to move back home. You stuck with it, cried it out, hugged it out, pushed forward, and it may have taken months to feel okay, but you did it.

Around month four, while sitting at your favorite spot, you'll realize you hadn't had the thought of "maybe I shouldn't have moved here" every day that week. That fearful thought will slowly fade until it no longer exists. You'll realize that Jesus does not lead you where he does not also go. He is with you always, to the end of the age.

You are going to see some of the most beautiful places in this new state of yours. Your little heart that longs for adventure will get its fill. No matter what people say, you won't lose your sense of wonder at living by the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The peaks and ranges will take your breath away every day, and that's the way it should be.

You'll go home for Christmas, and it will be so good for your heart to see family and friends, and to be back in the place you grew up, where you are known and loved. You'll be worried about how you'll react to leaving and heading back to Colorado. You'll hug your mama and daddy on the sidewalk at the airport, and you'll hold back the tears as you wave goodbye. But you'll get on that plane heading back to your new home, and for the first time, you realize you are going to be okay. You are okay in this new place. You have friends and community. You have a life here. And until Jesus says otherwise, this place is your home.

Jesus is going to give you some of the most unexpected and wonderful friendships here. They are relationships that will take work and intentionality, but they are so worth it. This year you made friends, you trusted, you took risks, you got hurt, you grew, and your story isn't over.

I don't want you to ever forget what this move was like, and how you felt, and the way that surprised you. I don't want you to forget what you've learned and how you've grown. I don't want you to forget how good Jesus is even in the hard. I don't want you to forget that this time, this adventure, is a gift. Don't take it for granted. Here's to another year in this beautiful place.