Reckless Boldness

I arrived home today at little before 5. We left Indiana by 6:45 this morning, so it was about a 10.5 hour drive. It was a rather uneventful car ride with the initial shock of driving away from Taylor with tears streaming down my face. Despite only having about 4.5 hours of sleep, I was wide awake. I held my pillow for comfort wishing I hadn’t packed the stuffed only stuffed animal I brought to school that comforted me so many things throughout this tumultuous year. I threw in my headphones to drown out some emotion with the always-calming Bon Iver; however, I could not rid my thoughts of leaving Taylor.

I finally pulled out my journal and documented my adventures over the past few days. This weekend has been one of the best I have experienced in my life. I can’t remember a time where I was so blissfully happy. I got a chance to resolve some things that could have turned into some major baggage, and I got a chance to reconnect with people that mean the world to me. Even helping decorate the floor made me break out into huge smiles. I cannot get over how amazing this weekend was. I don’t think I could have written a better way to end my time at Taylor.

I got to meet the freshmen on the floor and they are AWESOME. I wish I could stay so I could get to know them more and see how they start to integrate into the floor. Plus, the leadership on the floor feel like they have been hand-picked by God to bring these women closer and closer to Him. The leadership throughout the bilding get along really well and bring such different things to the table but not in such a way that their ideas compete; they complement each other very well. It was so much fun to sit back and watch them all hang out because they truly enjoy each others’ company. Not only that, but they also want to challenge each other as leadership and as brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s so cool to see that kind of community come out a structured form but blend together naturally.

Confession time: I loved this year’s hoedown. Last year, I was kind of in culture shock. I was freaking out about going to school in the middle of the cornfields with all these conservative, Midwesterners, and then there was a hoedown to top it all off. I was like, “what am I doing here?! I like the coast! Why am I wearing plaid listening to a guy explain different square dances?!?!” This year’s hoedown throw-down was pretty much the icing on the cake of a wonderful weekend. I got to see so many people I thought I wasn’t going to be able to say goodbye to. I got to talk to someone who I lived with for 2 months this summer and her current roommate. I eventually joined in the dancing about halfway through the first part with a pretty happy guy. Our group of 8 had so much fun. During the break, I connected up with some old and new friends. We formed a new group of 8 and danced until our feet were sore. I had the time of my life. Who knew this girl who constantly craved people, building, hills, and the beach would have the time of her life at a hoedown in a parking lot??? I never thought that day would come…but then again, I never thought the day would come that I would transfer out of Taylor.

I was once told to approach God with reckless boldness. To ask him things that are absolutely insane. To pray for things that I think are impossible. Honestly, I think what I’m doing is kind of insane. Who willingly leaves a community the love and call family to follow a path that they have no idea where it leads? This guy. When I started praying for direction, God would not get this out of my head. Now, while I don’t know what school I’m going to specifically, I feel like God is calling me to New York City. It kind of scares me despite visiting Philly countless names and New York enough to know what it’s really like. I looked at school in Boston and even the UK, but images of NYC keeps crashing through saying, “oh wait! Don’t forget about me!”

Eventually I will be heading up north in some sort of capacity, whether that be in 4 months or 12 months. I’m hoping to get some sort of internship (preferably remotely so I can be on the road a bit as I visit friends I have spent virtually no time with.)

I am praying that I will get into some sort of textile school and find a stimulating job in the meantime. I pray God’s hand will be on my living situation no matter what  they may look like this coming year. But more importantly, I pray that God blows my expectations out of the water. There are so many unknowns that I have learned to not rely on expectations to get my through this next phase of life, so I pray that God works tangible miracles in the lives of those I encounter throughout my period of transition.

God, I dare you to blow my mind every day with your love, compassion, and power.

Almost There

This week has been a rather strange week. I move early Sunday morning but work all week and socialize the rest of the time.

I must admit–I was really nervous about seeing people again. I didn’t know how I would handle saying hi and by in the same conversation. I didn’t know who I would see, what I would say, or how I would be. It has been so good to see familiar faces walk around campus. It was definitely strange to see people that I recognize walk around campus after only seeing strangers stroll around for the entire summer. And while it is overwhelming, the amount of people is in increasing as my nerves increase about leaving this place I have learned to call home.

People ask me how am I and I pretty much refer them to the bipolar scene in Tangled right after Rapunzel leaves her tower for the first time in her life. I am really excited for everyone to come back to campus, and I am excited to follow this new path that God has laid before me, but I am FREAKING OUT about leaving this place. I am going to miss everything about this place. Even the farm across the street from The Villa. Every morning there is mist rolling across the open field that has a beautiful red barn next to a white house. The early morning light refracts through the mist making the ground glow. It takes my breath away each morning (photo below.) I will miss my independence, but I will also miss depending on the Godly women I have been living with throughout the year. Needless to say, this week has been chock full of unwanted mood swings. (Today, I found myself goose-stepping around my desk holding my head saying with wide eyes, “I’m going craaaaaaazzzzzzyyyyyyyy!”) I would like to take this time to apologize to anyone that may have experienced a crazy Emily this week. I hope it was more entertaining than frightening.

If I could stop time, I would for just a little bit. I would spend probably the equivalent of about 10 days being with people–catching up, praying with them, and sharing with them my favorite memories of them. Alas, I am only here for 2 1/2 more days.

The past 2 weeks have gone so fast. It felt like the summer dragged on and on until about the second week of July, and it has just sped by since. All of the sudden it was August. Then it was time for me to choose my last day at work. Then it was my last week of work. And tomorrow is my last day of work. Then my last day in Upland. I have dreaded these last few days because they mean the end of this wonderful chapter. It feels like they are just slipping right by. I turn around and they are suddenly out of my grasp. I reach for them, but they swiftly glide further and further into a past I can see and so desperately want to go back to.

But here I am, incredibly happy to see wonderful people but hating the goodbyes that must leave my lips.

Eventually I will have that big cry that comes with semi-reluctant transitions. Eventually I will be ready to move on–just not yet.

This whole thing is so strange. One minute I am freaking out what the future holds because I have no idea what’s in store for me, and the next I have an incredible peace over me. The past few weeks I have been blessed with an overwhelming peace and contentment. Sometimes I don’t know if I freak out more about leaving or about the possibility of leaving that peace in Indiana. What parts of me are coming back home with me to Pennsylvania?

Upon lots of reflection, I think I am a very different person than I was a year ago when I left home. I was quick to get angry and defaulted to the defensive and was rarely content with just being happy. I have become a much more peaceful person who wants to work towards hard solutions in a positive way. I am a generally happier person. When I would be alone, I would often drift to very dark places that I could rarely climb out of. Now I am in a place where solitude brings about a huge sense of calm . I cannot express in words how much I am thankful for this change. It took lots of work, but it was worth every moment spent journalling and in prayer. It was worth every tear that was shed over my general sadness that seemed to dive into the very deepest parts of me.

But I’m back. The me who has been on vacation for a few years is here and ready to be happy. I am as ready as I can be for this change. With every step I take, I lean completely on the Lord. So thanks to everyone for your support and encouraging words. Your prayer and well-wishes have helped carry me through this week, so thank you for being little blessings (actually rather large blessings) that I am tucking into my heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The Other Debby

I recently took photos of one of my housemates, and let me tell you, she is a natural model. It was such a joy to shoot her…with a camera of course. This woman has made such a positive impact on my life and particularly my temperament. God has used her time and again this summer to speak to me and to love on me.

I often refer to her as the “other Debby” in my life since my sister’s name is Debbie. I love how every Debbie I encounter is lovely and makes such a huge impact on my life. I am truly blessed to have Debby in my life. Thanks for being amazing, chica!

But enough talking! Below are some photos of Debby.