I found out I was accepted to the University of Toronto's International Development Studies, Co-op program on a Thursday. I celebrated 18 years of life the next day, Friday, with sweet girlfriends and a Frozen birthday party fit for a 4-year-old.
I turned 18 - adult age, for real - the next Wednesday.
And you know what? Until Tuesday, my birthday eve, I was totally unaware and unrelenting to the fact that, on that Sunday after my birthday party, ISIS had beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians.
And this is the world I get to be an adult in.
A world where teenagers flee their home country, leaving their family and everything familiar behind to run from persecution, torture or death.
A world where teenagers sleep on the streets, far away from a home or a family.
A world where teenagers feel helpless to do anything about everything... They know their peers are suffering all over the world, but they just don't know what to do about it.
Happy Birthday, me - this is the world you get to be an adult in.
Oh, but wait - and lean in close for this part, because this is where it gets good...
This is also the world I get to be an adult in:
A world where I get to celebrate my birthday on Friday, then celebrate the birthday of two refugee youth at Matthew House on Saturday. And my heart could almost burst at the loving community of Christ that is surrounding these two after the most tumultuous year.
so awesome to have meaghan from the @refugeoutreach speaking about #youthhomelessness at @DunbartonDHS today! :) pic.twitter.com/z6lXzYtvgH
— alyssa (@_godsgal4ever) February 19, 2015
A world where I get to lead a workshop at my school about youth homelessness, encouraging fellow students to get informed and take action.
A world where my beautiful friends gift me with donations to The Refuge for my birthday.
A world where I get to watch my face flash big across a screen at a youth conference, my voice telling this room full of my peers that "We have a God who loves us. One who made a way to fix this mess and make things right again."
And then I get three. whole. minutes. to tell these unsuspecting world-changers that they have the power to do something for their peers living in extreme poverty by sponsoring a Compassion child. And can I admit something? I came off that stage frowning, but that girl that came up to me after with "I love what you said." on her lips? She made my weekend.
A world where I get to study International Development at the top university in the country on a fancy scholarship, and my heart just wants to shout it - this world is full of crazy amounts of grace if you look just beyond the brokenness.
Because yes. This world I get to be an adult in is so. so. so. broken. Just ask Kayla Mueller. Or those 21 Christians.
But oh yes, is there ever wild amounts of amazing grace in this world, too.
I once said that we don't get to choose the world that we're born into.
But I do believe that we get to choose the world that we live in.
May we always. always. always. choose the world where we can take heart, for the world we have chosen is already overcome by the Man that hung on the cross. The Man who overcame, is overcoming and will overcome this world with salvation, peace, hope, light and love.
And may we always declare that truth with our words and our lives... We are people of the cross - people who live saved and freed, stand for peace, believe in hope, shine brightly, and love radically with a risky, take-up-your-cross type of love.