Beginning of summer 2017. Beginning of my job at Mt. Gilead. Beginning of two (+) months living in the Poconos.
Away from my friends. Away from my family. Away from the business of life that I always seem to be getting caught up in.
I just felt like I needed to take some time and reflect on life as it sits, and hopefully share what little perspective I have right now.
This was the busiest school year of my life. In the fall, I started at Temple. I loved my fall semester. My classes were great, my friends were great. My job proved to be stressful. Very stressful at times. I missed my friends who were away and I was very overwhelmed during my time of transition, but after a month or so into it, I found a rhythm and it was such a rewarding semester. I learned so much about the city and teaching and I just felt like my heart and mind were being opened up to so many things. Toward the end of the semester, I went through a fairly rough break up. It was really sudden and hard in a lot of ways, but I learned a lot about myself and in the end, I'm really thankful for the time I spent in that relationship and the experiences I had outside of it.
Post-breakup, I went through a season of loneliness. I lost my major friend group at school and was really searching for a place to belong on campus that I could call my home. Over winter break, I spent a lot of time with my friend Gabbi who really helped me refocus and keep me grounded.
During that time, I started clinging to Jesus in a way that was different than I ever had before. Throughout December and January, I learned that the Christian walk isn't something we can just take up one day and then all of a sudden lives are changed over night, but rather, the Christian walk is something we daily choose to walk. It's the path of righteousness that must be chosen day by day by day. I can't explain some of the things I felt and experienced at the beginning of this year (2017) but I couldn't help but beg God with the question of "Why?"
Well - hindsight is 20/20. Now I can see God had been drawing me closer and closer to himself because he knew that I couldn't sustain myself. I was thirsty for a water only he can supply. So I walked and I searched.
Spring semester brought it's own form of healing back to the business I always seem to be burying myself in when all else fails.
I found my home during the spring semester.
I wanted to join a sorority, but I was short about 500 dollars, 40 hours a week and extra blood to sell my soul, so I picked a different club. I've always been fairly athletic, so when I decided to give rugby a go, people were surprised but not shocked. I've never met a more inviting, exciting, and fun group of girls before. Day 1 I had a nickname and even though I had no idea what was going on, I still felt like a total part of the team. We laughed, ran, studied, had friday night get togethers - the whole 9 yards. Or meters as we would say. I found myself feeling more at home at school than in Bucks County and nestling in with my newfound family whenever possible.
Rugby pushed me to work hard and sweat out my fears, failures, successes, trials, and whatever else I was facing. Tackling a big girl? Get low and dig deep. A big paper? Get low and dig deep. Broken nose? Get up and fight back. Life knocks you down? Get up and fight back.
My team showed me that there is strength in femininity and beauty in boldness. Joining rugby was the defining point of my semester and I think the turning point in my college life. Definitely one of the best decisions I've made this far. But the semester ended and we all went home and life comes and people go and I miss my team and my little family from Willington and my petty pals.
So now we've reflected. I've loved, lost, regrouped, loved again - people and things. But I still felt like I was missing something. That's when I decided to take to the woods. You see, I love the city. Love it. Want to live there, want to change it, want to run it. But the woods - that's where you find yourself. You're stripped bare of everything and everyone and the noise and the background and life is still and quiet and lonely and beautiful and full of adventure.
So here I am, for my summer in the woods. Partly my decision was selfish. I had spent all year running. From one thing to the next; always running. I needed to relax and regroup and refresh and sweat out all the toxins my pores have so willingly soaked in. But also, I needed to put other people before myself. I am selfish by nature, but I do love to serve. and I've learned a lot this year - about myself, about people, about God and who he is and why he loves me and how he loves me and what he desires for me and I need to give that to others. So I came here to share him with some girls who need him just as much as I do.
Because this year, he was pretty silent. Sure, I can see his hand moving and working now, but in the moment, I couldn't. I cried of loneliness and dispair and confusion and needyness and lack of faith because I couldn't hear him. But he was there, and he was faithful.
He was faithful.
In my doubting and failure and mistrust of who he is, he was (and still is!) FAITHFUL. I couldn't see it because I had been blinded by my own selfish desires but God is good. and even when he is silent, he isn't absent. God is NOT an absent father. He is loving and kind and provides for us even when we can't see him leave for work in the morning. He was faithful, in his silence, to provide for me people in moments I so desperately needed them, people who were not silent, but lovingly (and sometimes not so lovingly) spoke truth into my life. My parents, friends, people I didn't know. People who I had let see me in my worst moments and know my ugliest self, were still loving me. THIS is just how faithful God is - to give us what we need, when we need is. God is a god who provides.
He beckons, he calls, and he draws us to himself with loving and open arms - always.
This is what I learned this year, and I'm sure there's going to be more to learn this summer.