How can I even begin to reflect on everything God has done in and through me this past year?
My faith, endurance and mental stability have been tested and stretched in ways I never imagined possible (like when I discovered my laptop missing at 5 a.m. in the Moscow airport, and its miraculous return via South Africa). I’ve grown in my skills and abilities as a writer, photographer and ambassador for Christ.
I visited 10 countries in 11 months, taught writing and photography courses all over Europe, met with leaders in missions from across the globe, took thousands of photographs, interviewed missionaries through interpreters in both Albanian and Russian, ate whale blubber and reindeer meat, played with gypsy children, edited hundreds of news stories, typed 30+ emails a day and traveled the world via plane, train, bus, taxi, car, taksi (mini-bus in Russia, unique in type and scent to Soviet countries), overnight ferry and my own two feet.
But the story is rarely in the obvious. The story is in the people I met on this journey.
It’s in the matching wrinkles on grandmothers in Russia and Albania, the smiles of dirty children who matter only to God, the empty faces of people from the Siberian north, forgotten by the rest of the world, the prayers and warm hugs from friends separated by distance but united in Christ.
You’d think in the grand scheme of God’s plan for the world that I’ve seen this year, eyes wide open, I would have learned that the big is in the big. It’s exciting stuff, what I’ve seen and done and experienced in 2013.
But, the big is in the small.
That’s what I’ve learned this year, what God impressed on me over and over until even I couldn’t miss it. Don’t get me wrong, the big things matter.
But the little things – the smile, the hug, the prayer or word spoken at just the right time. These matter more. Because God is in everything, the big is in the small.