Twenty-seven began a few days early. Splashing through a low tide, laying in the back of an SUV watching the waves, eating freshly fried fish tacos so hot they burned my mouth. We smelled like sea salt, had wind swept hair, and never once asked about the time.There is something about being in this place, near the ocean, that restores. And this weekend, starting a new year of life amidst the waves felt like a baptism, a rebirth. 

Baptism by fire is a common occurrence and my goodness I've lived through it. In many ways, twenty-six was a ball buster. Much of the year was spent in fear, surrender, and relearning hope. A slew of dark days and doctors appointments composed the first six months. I battled depression, pride, a miscarriage, and it felt like the hits would never end. An uphill hike followed, giving way to new practices and strength. The fire, the searing and burning, it deepened my need for Jesus and revived a bit of gumption. 

These last few weeks, the remaining days and hours of twenty-six, they have dipped me among currents and pushed me back to the surface. In the Christian faith, when you are baptized, it's not by charring fire but rather cold water. Plunged below the surface, you rise, a picture of new life. That's what these weeks have been, a refreshing dunk into chilly waves that brightened my soul.

I acutely feel it, deep in my bones, this shift in my life. Maybe I can sense the change because I have a few trials behind me, some gained perspective as I slide into my late twenties. But I vividly see where I have been and I undoubtedly feel revived.  A renewed purpose, refined vision, slower way of living, and the practice of peace (because my goodness it takes practice) have risen up. Baptism is a symbol of death and the new life we have in Christ. This past year of my life overtly displays it. I felt dead for an entire year, it was so dark I can hardly remember it. But the lost year gave way for Jesus's grace; he sunk me into a pool of faithfulness and used the icy water to breathe new breath into these lungs and heart. 

There are things I thought would be crossed off my list by twenty-seven: writing a book, having a baby, traveling the world. There are things I've accomplished I would have never dreamed- running a large business, owning a home, and having thriving community.  It would be easy to spend time creating a plan this upcoming year, to determine what I want to achieve before twenty-eight. And while  I have a few goals and ideas, mostly, I have a whole heap of gratitude for the invigorating dip that woke up my soul. Because this time last year I felt 80 and now I feel 16. Well maybe not sixteen but fresh and excited all the same. Abundant life. Full life. Baptism.

Welcome 27. Lord, that you for a lovely beginning and a year to be young at heart.