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The following blog post is a letter to myself one month into my Gap Year with the World Race. You may be wondering, friend, why this letter would ever be something you’d want to read.

While I do write to myself, this is for anyone. 

Anyone who is walking through a season of refinement. Anyone who is undergoing a process that is difficult and painful and seems to be never ending. Anyone who can’t seem to see that little light at the end of the tunnel. 

Anyone who needs a reminder that He is with you. Through it all. He is for you. Anyone who needs a reminder that despite how hard this season is, you’re growing. You really are.  

Anyone who needs to know that you don’t have to have it all figured out because He does. 


To the Emma of month 1, 


I put myself back in your shoes often. I think about what it was like to be you. I think about that first night in Gainesville, Georgia, when you were laying in your brand new tent, covered in a salty mix of the day’s sweat and the night’s fresh tears, both drying on body and face, becoming one and the same. I think of the way you lay there, exhausted and incredibly overwhelmed, thinking,


What did I get myself into? 


I think about you a lot. 

There’s a million things that I wish I could tell you. I want to tell you that you are seen, you are known. I want to tell you that you are whole and you are held. I want to help you see yourself with His eyes. I want to tell you that you can stop performing, that you can stop caring so much about what other people think. I want you to know how loved you are by the Father and that this is your whole entire  purpose. Telling you all of this won’t help. You already know most of these things, you just haven’t started believing them yet. I can’t say anything to make this sink from your head down into the deepest parts of who you are. This is something you’re going to have to walk through on your own (with Him, of course). It will come in time; it’s a process. 

I wish I could tell you that it would be worth it, to stick this out. I realize that I don’t need to though, because deep down, you somehow knew it. You stuck it through. Despite how many times you wanted to quit, to throw in the towel, to tap out, you stayed. You were being refined, and you knew it. You despised it at times, ran from it on occasion; it was painful.

I remember how you felt like He was tearing into your heart, turning it inside out. He was exposing the lies you clung onto with such tenacity, exposing the darkness. I can almost feeling that aching in my chest again, when I think about it. 

I also remember the pangs of loneliness and discomfort that came with that exposure. I remember the frequency with which you wished the hard days away, and the amount of times you wished you could go home. I bet you would never imagine that now, I never want this to end. The thought of saying goodbye makes me tear up even as I write, and we still have a month to go. The end of the Race probably feels like a lifetime away for you. But now, 8 months has passed in what feels like 8 minutes, and the people you felt so disconnected and isolated from in the beginning have become your family. It’s hard to imagine, I know. 

I think about you a lot. I think about the woman I’ve become, how far I’ve come. That’s not to put you down at all or discredit the season you were walking through. It’s not to put up the facade that all this growth is because I really put in the work, gritted my teeth and pushed through to the bitter end. It’s quite the opposite: I did nothing except submit. He did it all. 

And He’s still doing it all.

I wish I could tell you that I have it all figured out, but that’s definitely, absolutely, completely not true. I have nothing figured out. But I do know that I am walking with Him, and He definitely has it all figured out, so that’s a plus. 

I also know that while I’ve grown immensely over these past months, I still have so far to go. Because I walk with the Lord, and because He is vast and infinite, I just get to keep going deeper and deeper and deeper. What a privilege. That this never stops. Not after this next month is over, not in the next year, never. 

When I look back on you, Emma of month 1, it’s to remember. It’s good to remember, because in remembering I am reminded of His faithfulness and goodness. And He has been so incredibly good and faithful.

One more thing. As I reflect on the Race, the months past and the fact that I only have one more month until it’s over: it’s not to close out this season prematurely in any way. I remind myself that I do have one more month. What a blessing that is. One more month with the people I now call family, one more month to choose in and press in and really fight for my squad. I’m not wishing this time way. I’m relishing in it. I’m so incredibly thankful for one more month. 

Emma of month 1, you have a crazy adventure ahead of you. 


All my love,  

Emma of month 8