Tuesday, September 24, 2013

God Knows What's Best for Us.

I often find myself worrying about the future - about whether or not I'm doing the right thing right now in order to get to where I'm supposed to be in the future.
Sometimes I worry about things like that til it drives me crazy. It's hard being 20-something! Life is nuts.
But as I was driving Granny to my uncle's house last night for a visit, something seemed to click in my head.
We were on the interstate and SHE was giving me directions on how to get to his house in Greensboro (if you know Granny, you know she doesn't drive outside of High Point and knows nothing about Greensboro).
The song "Y.M.C.A" had come on the radio.
It was a gorgeous fall afternoon.
I was basically driving under the influence because I was in a food coma and thought I was about to fall asleep.
I had planned to do SO many things, but I knew I'd only get a fraction of them done because people are more important than things.
I knew it would be a late night because I had soo much to do, and I would get about three hours of sleep before I woke up at 5:30 to drive to Boone for a morning class.
I was thinking about all the things that are stressing me out and how unsettled my life is right now.
But in that moment, everything was perfect because I was living and breathing and the sun was shining and I'd just eaten some awesome food from Carter Brothers and we were going to see my uncle because he's okay and God is going to heal him, I'm sure of it.
And we had good music on the radio, and I'm so blessed to have Granny and who cares if I only get three hours of sleep?
Who cares if I don't have all of life's answers right now?
Who cares if all of my weekends for the next few months are gonna be extremely hectic?
Who cares if I haven't cleaned my room at home in three years?
Who cares if I miss Dancing With the Stars a couple weeks out of the whole season?
Part of the fun of life is going out the door every day not knowing what to expect.
God is full of surprises, and the plans we have may seem great to us, but guess what?
God's plans far exceed our own if we trust Him. If we believe that He knows what's best for us and rest in that knowledge, we don't have to worry about anything.
Like, seriously. Part of the beauty of life is having no earthly idea how it's all gonna turn out.
Even when everything seems like a huge mess, life is wonderful.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Two Years Without Her...

Two years ago around this time, one of my worst fears came true.
I had watched Grandma suffer for so long, and I was glad she wasn't suffering anymore, but life without her didn't seem to make sense at all.
From September 18 until September 22nd of that year, life was just a waiting game. She was in a drug-induced coma because apparently that was best and the most peaceful way to go. I don't know.
What I do know is that I've never experienced anything like that. I watched one of my best friends in the world slip from this life to the next. Slowly. Each day that passed we all wondered
"will it be today?"
Obviously I couldn't concentrate on school or work or anything. I did what I had to to get by but I spent all my extra time that week at Hospice, sitting with the woman I had admired so much all my life while she slept on and on and on. 
I talked to her because they said she could hear me. But it didn't make sense. None of it did.
But I talked to her anyway.
I told her how much fun I'd had with her over the years.
I told her how much I appreciated everything she'd done for me.
I told her she was gonna see Grandpa and her daughter soon.
I knew that in a matter of hours/days/ whatever, she was gonna see the daughter she'd only known for a day. The one that died as a newborn. I imagined how exciting that would be.
But none of that changed the void in my heart. There was a hole that was forming in my life that would never be filled again, except with memories.
Thankfully I had my family and Grandma's friends and I had Brooke and Zach to go over there with me and sit with me. I will always, always be grateful for that.
On the morning of Thursday, September 22, 2011, I had a strange feeling. I remember sitting at Ledford High School, at my teaching internship, counting down the minutes til I could leave and go to Hospice. My body was sitting in a desk in a ninth grade classroom, but my mind was a billion different places.
When I got to Hospice that morning, I took Grandma's Bible off her nightstand and read her the 23rd Psalm over and over. 

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

I poured my heart out and cried and cried and told her how much I was going to miss her.
I told her how cool it was gonna be to see loved ones and friends in Heaven and how awesome it was gonna be to see people we'd read about in the Bible.
I don't even remember what all else I said, but I know I got everything off my chest.
I had to go to class at HPU that afternoon, and as I was leaving class and getting onto the elevator in the Wilson School of Business, I got a phone call from my dad. I had known what it would mean when he called me, so I knew before I even answered what he was going to tell me.
I drove as fast as I could to Hospice, and by the time I got there, Grandma had been out of her earthly body for about 20 minutes.
The cool thing was, though, is that it had been SO cloudy and dreary the entire week, but around 4:20 (when Grandma passed away), the sun came out for the first time that week. It was as if she was being welcomed home for all of us to see.
As sad as I was, I was happy for Grandma and ever so thankful for the years I got to have with her. I'll never forget that week, and especially that day.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 11th

So yesterday was fairly unproductive for me at first. I did however, think back to September 11, 2001 and how scared we all were and how confused the nation was.
When I looked at my Instagram first thing in the morning, I saw the following picture:

Amos 9:11.
How utterly awesome is that???
I don't believe in coincidences.
God is faithful and God restores.
We've come a really long way in the past 12 years.
I thought about that later in the day as I randomly drove past school, past King Street, and all the way to Tennessee.
It was super rainy and dark and hard to drive in Boone, but once I got out of Boone, the sun was shining so brightly (yet still POURING the rain).
Then it just stopped raining and got really sunny. So sunny and so beautiful. God's country.
I'd never been that far past Boone before, and it was just so beautiful.
(Next time I'll take pictures.)
This is the land we fight for and defend.
In a way, it was really significant, too, because just as God literally brought me out of a storm and into the light, He does that all the time for us, figuratively.
I thought that was a pretty cool parallel.
I drove on, listening to both rare and popular Elvis songs on satellite radio, sipping on my Coca-Cola, with my American flag earrings on to commemorate the day.
I took in all the beauty around me.
And I just thanked God for everything.
And the day only got better from there.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just a September Afternoon in Boone

This afternoon I took a break from work and walked to downtown Boone.  I figure I should do that while the weather is still nice enough to do so!
It's so cool to live in a little college town. It's something I've always been fascinated by - little college town life.  Granted, I wouldn't trade anything in the world for my years at HPU, but it's so nice to experience college life in a totally different way.
So walking downtown, I decided to pop into some antique stores. It's like 75 degrees and all the stores downtown have their doors open and it's just so perfect to be in an antique store and feel a breeze coming in through the door and travel back in time for a bit with songs like
"Brown Eyed Girl" playing while you peruse through vintage items.
((And is it okay to say that I just LOVE seeing elderly people in Boone?????))
It used to be that when I thought of Appalachian, I thought of my mom going here, which made me think of the 1970s and what I imagine they would've been like. So I've always associated this place with the past, and in a lot of ways it is the past. Many of the buildings on campus are old, and I love that.
It just has a college-y feel.
And despite all of the obligations I have, it was nice to take a little while to just walk through these breezy stores with all of their links to the past and for a little bit, just forget about all the other things I have to do.
(unfortunately my phone died before I got to all the really good stuff)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Going on Faith

We had a youth leader meeting at church last weekend and this question/statement was put up on the screen.
It really hit me because it reaffirmed everything I'd been thinking for the past few months.
I'd been thinking that what I was doing was much bigger than me, much bigger than anything I thought I could handle on my own, much more difficult than it needed to be. Yet I had a peace about it because I knew from past experience that God would be with me and wouldn't leave me hanging.
And that everything would work out just the way it should, just like it always had.
Well, with that being said, and all that still on my mind, I saw this quote, and it just made me smile. "This is what it truly means to live by faith," I thought. "This is perfect."
While I was in that meeting, I got two phone calls and voicemails from my mother, which is weird.
Once I got out to my car and called her back, she said my uncle had been admitted to the hospital and I needed to get Granny and bring her up there, but for us not to worry because it wasn't anything major.
I got Granny and once at the hospital, we found out my uncle had cancer. He went from one hospital to the next, and we sat in lobbies and waiting rooms, and it was hectic and confusing but for some reason I had peace.
I kept thinking back to the quote on the screen.
The next day, we found out it was stage four cancer, and they wouldn't know til a couple days later if and how they could treat it. But still I had peace.
I started to get aggravated with myself.  I thought, "How can I not be freaking out? Why am I so 'numb' and void of emotion right now?"
I guess it's because I know that in addition to other things I'm trusting God with right now, I can also trust God with my uncle. There is nothing any of us can do. This situation is bigger than any of us, so they only way to deal with it is by faith - total reliance on God and His will and His plan. 
Just like I'm dealing with everything else.
And when you FINALLY realize that worrying won't fix or help anything, you let go of all that worry, place it all in God's hands, pray fervently, and rest in the fact that
God has it all under control.