Monday, June 30, 2014

a not-so-elaborate call.

Before July 2009, I was in a spiritual coma. I had a super rough junior year of high school, and I decided to put God on the back-burner. In July 2009 I went on a youth conference trip as I did every year.  That week was very special to me.  God worked to meet me again and show me that He had not abandoned me as I had abandoned Him.  One night that week, my group and I were gathered after an overwhelming chapel and communion service, speechless and broken at our realization of what it means to be in Communion with God.  One-by-one people in my group started telling about all their struggles: porn addictions; being molested by a family member as a child; pot addictions; drug addictions hidden from parents; bad relationships; abusive parents; all of these things that brought us away from trusting God.  I remember looking around and hearing God speak to me for the first time in a long time: "Look around you. This is who you will be working with." And I knew it: I had received my calling. I would be helping teenagers in a Christian setting work through the many struggles of teen-aged life. This was it.

So I set off on a path I felt God guiding the entire time. I found the school that God would have me go to, and I started as a freshman in college with a major in Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture.  I thought that surely I was being called to be a youth pastor.  I didn't feel like I really wanted to do that, and often questioned why I would go to college for a program that would not really help me pay bills and student loans once I was done.  But I trusted God and kept going.  A few years later I felt that God had taught me all I needed to know from those youth min classes and felt that I was being re-directed to Psychology - the originally intended program I had in mind before July 2009.  I felt that God was re-directing my calling to something more along the lines of what I would want to do: counseling.  Maybe I was supposed to counsel youth and families, or marriages and families, or students at school.  Something along those lines.  Recently I have not been sure at all of what I want to do.  I haven't felt that any of these job ideas were really what I was supposed to do, but trusted that God would be mighty to align my passions with my calling in some way.

June 27, 2014: I am a leader for a group of high school girls on a retreat in another state.  I am familiar with who the girls are, and they are familiar with me, but we don't really know each other.  I am still new to them.  That night, we had a phenomenal speaker who shed beautiful truth about the way God designed marriage in His image.  When we got back to the hotel, I was getting ready for bed but happened to step out into the hallway before going to bed.  A girl was trying to get people together and I asked if I could help.  We got all of the high school girls together in my room and she began to share about herself, something she found so hard to do.  She shared about an addiction she's been struggling with with, and confusion that has been concerning her, but she had been too afraid to share that with the group for fear of rejection and being shunned by those who she was close to.  Quite the opposite though: the girls spoke to her assuring her that we love her and that we want to help her.  She opened up an avenue for a few other girls to share struggles and memories that haunt them.  And they ministered to each other.  I remember sitting on my bed with a few other girls listening to the beauty of burdens shared, thinking back to that week in July 2009.  I reminisced through those moments as if they were repeating again in front of me and remembered the words God spoke to me that night years before, "Look around you. This is who you will be working with." I smiled. And then I heard God speak to me again, in that moment. "These are those people." I shuddered and was in awe of what I just heard.  These girls were those people I would be working with.  These girls were those people I would be ministering to.  These girls were those who God was saving me for.  All this time, I thought my calling would be something so elaborate, so broad and general.  I would be a youth pastor with a large youth group; I would be a counselor with many clients needing my counsel.  No.  I would be there at the right moment for eight girls who needed the guidance God had given to me to give to them.  

That is my calling.  Not so elaborate as I thought it would be, but much more beautiful than I could have imagined.  No, I still don't know where I will be going a year from now, or what will happen with our moving process, or where we will be going to school at some point - if I'm even going back to school once I'm done with Undergrad.  But I know that where I'm at right now is where I'm supposed to be.  
Right here, with these girls.
So blessed.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

june 21: longest day of the year

Today is what the Pagans like to call "the summer solstice."
To me I call it the longest day of the year, or a few extra minutes of fun.
Today, June 21, marks the true beginning of the summer season, and to celebrate that summer is truly here God gave us a few extra minutes more than He has given us any other day.
While Pagans celebrate for one reason or another, I celebrate today simply because God orchestrated the sun, moon, stars, and planets for us to celebrate Him and the mighty ways in which He works.  I celebrate the fact that today I could enjoy the beauty of the day a few minutes longer than I can all year round.
So happy longest day of the year! I hope you enjoyed every extra minute of it :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014


June is usually a strangely busy month for me... Or a very lazy one... As far as blogging goes, I have blogged less in the month of June more than most other months, annually.  Last year I didn't even post anything in June.  So for this month, I'll try to post a few things here and there, but it's already pretty busy so don't expect much.  So far this month I have:
  • Waited at the airport for Frank to come back from Europe
  • Watched my sister graduate
  • Spent time with friends
  • Helped mom get the house ready for Em's graduation
  • Worked a few hours
  • Gotten the whole house clean
  • Gone to youth group events
  • Had my brother over for a few days
  • Discussed near-future plans
  • Traveled all over SC
  • And a lot of other things...
I have yet to look forward to:
  • Travelling all over SC
  • Visiting friends
  • Watching the World Cup
  • Watching the Tour de France
  • Settling some near-future plans
  • Going to a sweet friend's wedding
  • Being the wedding photographer for her!!!
  • Going as leaders with the youth group to Georgia
  • Helping mom some more
  • Visiting family
  • Getting ready to go on a week-long camping and hiking trip
  • And a lot of other things...
So June is busy, but good.  I will share soon a detail or two from Frank's trip and I might put some thoughts out there. Otherwise, I hope you guys are enjoying your summer start as much as I am so far.  I am beginning to wind down, and I can't remember the last time I didn't think about what I had to do the next day in terms of papers and exams!!  So this time is good B)  Any big plans for the summer?

world cup 2014: winner stays

In honor of the World Cup starting today, 4pm Eastern time!
Although I'm sure Brazil will win, and I'm deciding to follow David Luiz this year, we are rooting for Croatia.
They're pretty good, and they have a chance.
The two guys I'm following this year (because I follow individual performances within the team, not always the entire team) are David Silva (Spain) and David Luiz (Brazil).  Sad that Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn't playing.
Together, we are rooting for Belgium because they have a pretty good chance this year.  
We'll follow the US, but in all likelihood, they will not win.
Any soccer/futbol fans?
Who are you following this year?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

to my dear sister:

 Dear Em'ii Bemmy,
I know you hate being called Emmy so I spell it differently; I hope you can hear the difference.
Last Thursday evening, I watched you walk across the stage through the lens of my finicky camera and I was proud.  You have worked so hard these past 18+ years of your life, and you have had learned how to suck it up and keep going when things have gotten tough.  You are amazing.  It may be nostalgic to look back and remember all that there is to remember from this year: your last first day of school, your last band competition, your last jazz band performance, your last last day of school.  But I am excited for all that you have yet to experience: your first day on your own, your first day of hard college classes, your first cross country meet, your first hall meeting, your first 9:17, your first roommates, your first lifelong friend. You have ended many 'lasts' but you have so many 'firsts' to uncover.  It's like a scavenger hunt, only it comes to you naturally.  Despite the circumstances, I'm thankful I get to stay here an extra year to be here when you need me, to be here when you need to cry or vent, or for when you want to bake something and need my stove.  I'm excited to be on the sidelines and watch you experience life as yours - not mine, not mom's, not Nathan's - yours.  Your life.  You have so many ways to grow and so many things to learn, and I am pumped to see what your life looks like.  I want you to know and remember that I love you; I am your sister, and I will always be here for you.  Congratulations, Em'ii - ya did it ;) I love you!
One proud big sister,
(Because I also hate being called Jessie, but Jess'ii is okay)

PS. Your face here is priceless.