This year was a significant year for me. So many positive things were happening and celebrating my 23rd birthday seemed to be the icing on the cake. I was fortunate enough to go on my first cruise with my sister and some friends to celebrate a new year, new opportunities and somewhat a new start. There are so many things I enjoyed about the cruise, from the karaoke nights to swimming with the dolphins to attending a random wedding. No I could not afford the internet package, so I had to just put up with human interactions, just kidding. But it was nice I was able to be free and be away. During the 60s Motown night I found myself feeling at home singing along to the Temptations, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.  But one of the most memorable experiences I have of this cruise was stepping out onto the balcony and feeling the cool breeze and looking at the beautiful view of the ocean. I realized at that point, I was happy. You are probably thinking, “out of all the things to do on a cruise, your best moment was looking at water?” I know it sounds crazy, but every moment I stepped on that balcony it was just me, the water, time to reflect and God.

Often times, everything is always going at a fast pace. School, work, children, family, just life in general seems to always have us on the go. Rarely do we get time to appreciate the simple things of life. Standing above the ocean allowed me to reflect on my journey and give God thanks for where He has brought me. I remembered 4 years ago in my first year of university, I would find myself crying and praying because I believed God told me to take a risk and leave the social work program I was enrolled in. This was one of the scariest decisions I had to make in my life. Where was I going to go? What was I going to say to those who were asking me how school was going? So many people expected me to start what I finished but now I am being told to take a leap of faith and just leave? It took me weeks to come to terms with the fact that if I was going to take this journey of life with God, I had to trust Him. And so I eventually took the leap and left.

Four years later, on my birthday, I stood on the edge of the boat with an honorary degree, a running non-for-profit organization and peace of mind. I remember standing there and thinking to myself, ‘I have never been so happy in my life.’ You see it wasn’t about having a secure job anymore or knowing that I wouldn’t have to struggle that was important to me. It was simply knowing that at that moment God had never forgotten what He promised me 4 years ago. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” And in that moment as I stood above the ocean, I had realized not only did I make it to 23, not only am I fulfilling my purpose, but it was the simplicity of the water, God and peace of mind that told me, “Leanne you are finally happy.”