Some of the girls I live with at Benton Lake in September.
Ryan blowing out birthday candles on his 21st birthday.
I have a healthy obsession with black kids. It's healthy because I love them. And I really want to adopt one (or eight) after I get married. I think my obsession with black children, or any color child for that matter...but specifically black, was born after my first trip to Africa. Then it only continued to manifest and grow: after my second trip, after my trip to inner city New York...and now my working with kids in low socio-economic environments here in Cleveland/Chattanooga.
Plus, it doesn't help that my "boss" Jason has adopted a little boy from Ethiopia. I was seriously within an inch of putting the latest picture of Matty on my desktop as my wallpaper. But I refrained. That'd be creepy.
I have three pictures on my desk. One is of me and Sarah on the last day of my time in Malawi. I miss her. I miss that little girl singing Blessed Be The Name while we play in the dirt and her deaf sister sits next to me and touches my hair. I miss living in a hut made out of mud with a thatched roof that has no electricity. I miss showering underneath thousands upon thousands of stars while singing Veggie Tales at the top of my lungs with my sisters from other misters. I miss the lizard in Maddie's hut and the tuna casserole cooked over an open flame and sunrise worship by the river. I miss the simplicity and the closeness of His love.
Another picture is of me and the girls from the second trip to Malawi. In this picture are some of my sisters. We don't share earthly parents, but we share a Heavenly Father. We share abundant laughter and tears and hugs. We share the longing in our heart that we
feel to travel and serve and love unconditionally. We share our love for NSYNC and Christmas songs year round. We share our obsession with black kids and our intense love for anything chocolate. We share Jesus with each other, and with each life that we come into contact with. I miss these girls terribly. They are as much my family as my mom, dad, and brother are.
The third picture on my desk is of Chad. The man who has blessed me in astounding ways in the last 9 and a half months of my life. The man who has taught me so much about the Lord, music, how to almost lock yourself out of the house, how to love the unloveable, how to keep everything in perspective, how to not take myself too seriously, and how to love unconditionally. I just smile every time I see this picture of him and I from back in August. We've changed a lot. Physically (thank you, P90x!) and mentally and spiritually and relationally. But through it all, he's been there. And the Lord brought him to me in the most unconventional of ways. But that's how Dad works sometimes. His ways and His thoughts are higher than mine. And He's in control. And I'm just so insanely blessed. Golly.
It's November. I'm out of school in a month. I'm half way done with my sophomore year in a month. CRAZY. I've been insanely busy, cried lots, eaten a lot of chocolate, stayed up way too late too many times, been to Walmart too much, laughed until I cried, quit habits and picked up new ones, written many many many papers, studied many many hours, danced and laughed and taught kids just about every day, been loved, and loved. As hard as some points in this semester have been, I wouldn't trade them for the world.
Being around kindergarteners a lot is interesting. The little guys change day to day. The growth seen from August to the next May is astounding. If you ever doubt learning and education, hang out with a kindergarten class. The learning that goes on there is exponential. But I kind of feel like a kindergartner. I'm just 20 now and in college. Last year, I changed a whole bunch. This year, I've changed a whole bunch. It's almost day to day. One day is unlike the one before it or the one after it. I am on a continual journey to the King, and to His desire and will for my life.
At this point in the semester, I am RESTLESS. Yes, in all capital letters. I want to go. I want to do. I want to love and travel and adventure. I want to do just about anything other than have my nose in a book for one more moment or take one more test. I just want to get OUT of school and DO LIFE. But I am trying my very hardest not to wish my life away. Because I am in this season, this place called Lee University, for a reason. The Lord has me here to teach me and nurture me and grow me into the young woman He wants me to be, and the young woman that I need to be to do what He wants me to do. So I listen and I wait and I keep on studying and staying up late and loving on the people here and praying without ceasing.
I am clay in the Father's hands, and in Him I live and move and breathe.