I so wanted to have this post up on Monday, however we were having horrible weather which made for horrible internet. Then, Tuesday I rented the new Jason Bourne movie and watched that instead of blogging. Because, y'all, the Bourne movies are some of my most favorite and it hit Redbox this week! On to today's post: around the end of the year, photos and videos start popping up on social media, giving a recap of everyone's year. The best nine typically is found on Instagram, so I checked out what mine was going to be. The website just generates your top nine based on numbers of likes. While I liked all the photos, I didn't feel like it really showed what 2016 meant to me. So, I chose my own top nine. You may have already seen it on my instagram, but here is my top nine, with lessons, moments, and memories I want to remember as 2017 begins.
We were only three months into 2016 and I found myself moving into a house with my already roommate and two practically new to me girls. I was a little iffy on the whole move at first, I am anytime that I have to move. In college and the couple of years after, I never blinked an eye to moving around or changing places. Yet, the older I've gotten, it's something I don't want to do as often. I like where I am and I want roots. Roots can't grow unless they've been planted somewhere for awhile. At the same time, I don't want to be unwilling or unopen to whatever and wherever the Lord may lead me. Ultimately, my roots are in Him alone and in 2017, I want those roots to grow deep and strong.
This is straight from the Instagram caption of when I shared this picture last May: "Four years ago I graduated from college. My life looks completely different four years later than what I thought it would be. But, I'm resting in the fact that God's ways are higher and better than mine and I'm so thankful for that and praise Him for where He has put me. These years have taught me to take risks and have adventures, to take care of myself and cultivate good habits, that moving back home wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and the importance of finding community. So, here's to the next four years of navigating the sometimes unfamiliar adult life. My time at Bama taught me a lot, these last four years have also, and I'm sure the next four will as well. Roll Tide to the adventure that awaits." This year, 2017, marks five years out of college and ten (10!) out of high school. You guys, that seriously feels like a lifetime ago. Even as I read that caption and this post again, all of these things still ring true. I want this year to bring more adventures, more risks (the good kind!), more community, and more cultivating those good habits.
I think THE biggest lesson that 2016 brought me was experiencing forgivess and reconcilation. Not only in extending it, but being offered it as well. I finally broke through a wall that I had built and continued to fortify for six long years. That wall did nothing but keep people out and allow my heart to harden. And when the silence of six years was broken, I found freedom. There was reconcilation, yes, but there is still work to be done. And I've never been so happy to see work in my life. If there is one post I want you to go back and read from 2016, it is this one. And I pray that if there is someone on your heart, someone you've had silence with, someone you need to forgive, that the walls will come down and freedom will come in. Never have I understood Ephesians 4:32 more. "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
It's funny to me how quickly friendships can form and how I don't often remember the first time I meet someone. I just remember all the times after and the stories and moments we can relive. My last year at college brought me two of the greatest friends. We had been in school with each other for years already and in the same college ministry, but one summer we were all still in town when it seemed everyone else was gone, and we've been in a group message ever since. ha! Last fall, I got to watch one of those sweet friends get married. It was one of the best weekends and greatest celebrations. I love weddings, because they are like mini college reunions. And when one happens in your college town, you get to walk along the same streets and eat at the same restaurants at late hours and just reminiscence about how much you miss things. And realize that you miss it a lot, because of the people you were with the first time, and it just wouldn't be the same if you moved back without them. We may not all be in the same town anymore, but I know that they are literally only a phone call or text away.
Remember when I moved into that new house at the beginning of 2016? Well, it brought two new people into my little community. We are #Casa605 and we only have good vibes, #Casa605Vibes. And one of those girls got herself engaged and married in 2016. The other has become one of my dearest friends and we are practically the same person, except she is way extroverted and I am way introverted. So, it makes for interesting times.
One of the best books I read in 2016 was Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. I knew the moment that I saw it announced, it was a book I needed to read. I immediately pre-ordered and wanted to devour it the moment I got it in the mail. Instead, I took my time, did an online Bible study with Proverbs 31 ministry and worked my way throug the book, chapter by chapter, week by week. And there were some days I didn't want to keep reading, because it cut so deep. I'm pretty sure Lysa had seen some of my posts here or maybe a journal or two that I've written in, because this book was absolutely for me. It will frequently be pulled off the shelf and most likely re-read each year. One of the biggest take aways from this book was the practice of replacing lies with truths. I realized that I am not unworthy or alone, invisible or ignored, uninvited or defeated. My God sees me, knows me, and wants me. The same is true for you as well. In 2017, get rid of the lies and practice putting on truths.
In 2016, I discovered what resting in the Lord looks like. And how following Him is simply choosing Him. It's not always going to look perfect and it won't always be grand. But, all I have to do is simply choose to say yes. No longer do I want my laziness, lack of perfection, or comparison to other believers distract me from following the Light. I read this verse with new light in 2016 and I want to carry it with me into 2017: "My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, Lord, I will seek." I'm declaring and committing to that verse (Psalm 27:8) in this new year.
2016 also made me an aunt for the sixth time! I got to welcome and meet another sweet nephew into my heart. I swoon over every picture I have of my neices and nephews and wish ALL of my free time could be with them. I'll settle for holidays, praying that I make the most of the time that I have with them. And pray that they know how dearly loved they are. I will never understand how my heart can love so many places and so many faces. How much more is the Father's love for us!
And finally, 2016 saw the end of the golden year. I said goodbye to 27 and hello to 28. What does it hold? Only God knows. I've stopped with birthday wishes. Instead, I just thank Him that I'm able to blow out candles for another year and pray that I will enjoy every moment and honor Him as much as I can.
Happy 2017 everyone!
What lessons, memories, or moments are you bringing with you into this new year?
Well, today is the day that I admit that I didn't finish yet another challenge. Have I mentioned that I'm horrible at follow through? I am. My intention is great and I love setting goals, but I have absolute no follow through. Two weeks is around the time that I usually fall behind and slowly walk away from whatever it was that I eagerly began. Case in point: I made it 15 days into the Write 31 Days challenge.
At the beginning of October, I started the journey to aim to write about finding rest for 31 days. I wasn't as organized as I should have been, I wrote most of my posts at night (sometimes late at night) after work, one post was written entirely on my iPhone, I didn't promote the series like I should have, and the majority of posts do not have pictures. I didn't tell many about the challenge mainly because I thought I wouldn't finish it and I heard once that you're more likely to finish something if you don't tell anyone about it...
I think part of me thought that my writing would take off and that I would have some sort of book idea by the end of it. That was the elaborate, long-term goal. The easier, short-term goal was for me to just get into the habit of writing every day. It's something that I enjoy, so why wouldn't I make time for it? I bounced around with different ideas about what to write on for the next 31 days and I almost changed it completely the night before it began (even after I had already created the graphic). But, I knew that rest (and finding it) was something that the Lord was calling me to, because He knew that I needed it.
Writers usually write about what they know or they do a lot of research before writing and sometimes (most times maybe) it's a combination of both. Rest was something I wanted to learn and write more about, because I felt like it was something that most of us need and are seeking. I didn't know just how much I was needing rest, until I started reading about it.
Many books, lists, and Scripture searching later, I've found that needing rest is something continual and that it ultimately is found in my Savior. I wasn't going to find it in 31 days. But in 15 days, I was closer to a better understanding of it. And thankfully amazed at the perfect timing of the Lord, that He knew that now is when I needed rest the most -- emotionally and spiritually.
Honestly, if I had finished writing about finding rest back in October, I probably would have stopped looking for it. I would have thought that I had found it and been done with it. I would have thought, "Okay, I know what rest is and how to accomplish it. I'm sufficiently rested up." But, I think the Lord knew that I would still be needing this reminder, even now, maybe more than ever. I needed the reminder, that to sufficiently find rest, I must daily look to the One is All-Sufficient. So, here we are, day 16 of writing about finding rest. But, day 42 of actually learning what that is.
I love fall. I'm pretty sure I've said that enough times where you aren't surprised anymore.
I love crisp mornings and I love bright blue, wispy cloud days. I love that the leaves know to change colors and fall when the wind blows them off of their trees.
I love that when I drive up to my parents house, I top a hill and see vast white cotton fields starting to bloom on my right and on my left.
Fall doesn't seemed rush to me. It's the season where colors change and so do I. The season before the hustle and bustle. The season where things can be enjoyed, slowly and peacefully before everything gets loud again.
The fall is the time where things seem peaceful and more restful.
I almost didn't write at all today. I wanted to write and in a way knew I needed to write. I just didn't want to. I came home, worked in my backyard, talked to my mom on the phone, had dinner with my roommates and then was about to pull out the computer, but went to lay in my bed instead. And that is where I am right now. Typing this out on my phone, desperately trying to keep my eyes open.
Desperate. That's a word that has been showing up all around me lately. It means to "have an urgent need or desire." But, there is another definition that stood out to me. It said desperate was something "reckless or dangerous because of despair, hopelessness, or urgency."
I am desperate for some hope.
I am desperate for some truth.
I am desperate for God's love.
I am desperate for some rest.
For the days where I don't want to talk to anyone. I'm desperate to talk to God.
For the days where I just want to lay in bed. I'm desperate for the Lord's strength.
For the days where I don't have answers when someone asks if I'm alright. Im desperate for the Word of God.
For the days where my head overthinks and my mind becomes my worst enemy. I'm desperate for God's rest.
I'm desperate to be pulled out of the pit, but I'm also desperate to not forget Who pulled me out the pit.
To remember that He hears my prayers.
That He gives me more strength than I imagine.
That His word never fails.
I'm desperate to remember that He gives me rest and in Him I am renewed and refreshed.
Lord, I'm desperate for You...
Friday is my favorite day of the week. It used to be Thursday. And I love the weekend, don't get me wrong! But, Fridays are my new favorite. Friday is my day off from work. (I know, I know. Many of you are saying, "how nice!" And you would be right.) But, having the day off isn't the only reason it's my favorite.
Friday is the day that I can wake up slowly and not rush to be anywhere. I can lay a little longer in a messy bed. I can enjoy the quietness of the morning and watch the light of day creep through the windows. I can drink my coffee a little slower and I can actually eat breakfast! I stay in my pajamas and sometimes all day.
Friday is my favorite, because I spend the majority of the time alone. It's the day where I recharge and rest. My quiet time is uninterrupted and often much longer, because I have time to enjoy it, not rush through it. I can sit, read, and be quiet as I dig into the Word and actually listen and hear what God is telling me. Friday is the day that I simply rest in the Lord. Other days it can feel rushed, pushy, and impersonal.
On Friday, the rest comes easy, natural, and simple.
There are many, many different ways that we can find rest. Some people like to be around other people, others may go for a run, or visit a museum after work. Since we are all different, we all rest and relax differently. When it comes to finding rest, here are four tips that help me.
Make it a priority | Rest may only come for a few minutes in the morning or it may not happen until everyone in the house is asleep, but I need to find moments where I can just be alone and recharge. I enjoy the quiet, especially in the mornings. I so badly want to be a morning person, because I love the start of the day as the sun starts rising, but I love sleep too! I'm the most alert in the mid/late afternoon, so, when I come home, that is typically when I rest. Then, I'll do whatever I need to do that evening, whether it be laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, or writing. But, once 10:30 gets nearer and nearer, my body knows it's time for some good rest -- sleep.
The point: find at least some time during the day where you find a little bit of rest, it's going to look different for everyone.
Break away from normal routine | This can be hard for me, because I do love a routine. I wake up, make my bed, get ready for work, drive to work (the same way every day), use the same gas station every time, come home (the same way every day), and put my shoes and bag in the same spot every day. My bed time is the same, wake up time is the same, and the way I turn on my lamp, turn off my overhead light, then turn on my box fan is the same. I am a person of routine. But, sometimes, I just have to get out of that. I'll take a longer way home or go roam Target right after work (dollar section always gets me) or I'll change what time I wake up in the morning to read whatever book is on my nightstand (right now there are about four or five). Breaking up my routine makes me look at my day differently and may help me to see a new way to find just a moment of rest.
The point: routines are not bad, but make sure rest time is included, and if it isn't, change up your routine to see where you maybe can find rest.
Do something you enjoy | I love to be alone and, thankfully, most of my friends know this and respect it (though they may not understand it). I enjoy having a day where I don't really see many people. I enjoy walking around downtown, taking pictures, and exploring. I enjoy hanging in my hammock reading until I fall asleep. But, I do also enjoy being with friends. Whether we go to the park, go kayaking, or to the movies, doing things that I enjoy helps me to rest and focus on just resting. The things that give us energy, may also help us to rest.
The point: doing something you love and enjoy should be something energizing and restful.
Get creative | Watch a movie. Paint something. Go for a walk. Pick out flowers. Write. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Go kayaking. Go hiking. Drive somewhere. Take a nap. Go for a run. Play a video game. Take a picture adventure. Be alone. Go with friends. Cook something. Play an instrument. Go see a band. Watch Netflix. Get a cup of coffee. Draw.
The point: There is something that you enjoy doing and you aren't doing it. So do it and rest.
Here, in photos, is what I've been up these past two-ish months that I've been gone from this place. And some thoughts on what I've been learning while I've been silent here.
I'm not usually one to have a full calendar. My weekends are normally slow and uneventful, the majority of the time finds me cleaning my house and then sitting on the couch reading or watching something on Netflix. These past two months have looking nothing like that! July started with me celebrating my favorite holiday, then taking a trip to Memphis to see family and celebrate my Grandmother turning 88! I house-sat for some friends and enjoyed every moment of having a dog again -- even if for just two weeks! The start of August brought my best friend to visit me for a long weekend and she crashed a birthday party and a wedding with me while she was here. We even escaped to the beach for a day. And last weekend I got to reunite with some college friends as we celebrated one of our dear friends as a bride-to-be.
Yet, with the hustle and bustle of life filling my calendar, my heart hasn't always been in it. Friends and laughter have surrounded me, but when they don't and it's just me in a room, I've had to fight off darkness. I've had to fight off the lonely. I've had to fight off the deafening silence. I've had to fight off the unknowing and the lost feeling. I've had to fight off the wandering that my soul is so, so prone to.
Things haven't just been silent here, they have been silent in all areas of my life. Especially in my relationship with the Lord. I know that we are called to be still. To trust. To believe. To seek. To ask. Lately, I have just been questioning. Angrily questioning if I'm honest. I'm asking, yes, but not with a faithful heart. I've been questioning and asking God, "why?" about a lot of areas of my life. Why are things turning out a certain way? Why do I not have certain things? Why are these things happening?
But, the "why" question that gets me the most is this: why am I still questioning when I have seen the provision, the guidance, the faithfulness, and the sovereignty of You, God? Why am I afraid to let my faith grow stronger? Why am I afraid to let You work in all areas of my life? Why do I keep replacing You with other fruitless and dead things? Why do I keep living like I'm dead when You have raised me to life? Why do I keep looking for joy in other things that are not from You? Lord, why do I keep questioning and asking why, when You have already given me the most sufficient Answer that I need?
All I need, all the truth I seek, all the joy I desire, is found in You, by way of Your Son, and the power and presence of Your Holy Spirit. Let me hold on to that, Lord.
"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" John 8:31-32
I haven't read something so timely needed in my life as the article that I just read and have shared at the bottom of these thoughts. I had just finished reading about the birth of Samson in Judges 13 and then about the nameless woman that was Samson's mother. A companion study book, that my roommate brought home one day, profiles more than 400 women in the Bible, Manoah's wife, Samson's mother, being one of them. The author writes on how this woman was many things, including being a disappointed woman because of her barrenness. A privileged woman because she was visited by an angel of the Lord. She was a Godly woman because she was a humble Israelite and described as faithful, self-sacrificing, holy, and "must have had a life corresponding to the separated character of the son she was to bear..." She was a happy woman because her prayers were answered as Samson came to be. But, she was also a sorrowful woman because of the way her son turned out.
I keep going back to what she was like as a Godly woman, because that is ultimately something that I strive to be. The author of this companion book points out that there is "no record of complaint or impatience over her childless state." In fact, I think she probably prayed a lot. Constantly, maybe. In return, "her prayer lightened the burden of her loneliness and sustained her patience. As a God-fearing Israelite, she had faith that He would answer her prayer."
So much do I see myself in this nameless woman, of the desire to have something that is yet to be. Yet, where she was strong and faithful in her praying to God, believing that He would answer, I am weak and lacking. My prayers are more cries and tantrums during fits of anger and loneliness. My first thought is often not to pray, but to turn my face and walk away from the Lord. But, what a lesson to learn from this nameless woman on faith and prayer. Constant and faithful prayer, when combined with the belief that God will answer, is life-changing. This woman's praying "lightened the burden of her loneliness." Yes, she had the companionship of her husband, but her heart was now naturally desiring a child. And the lack of that, her barrenness, created a new feeling of loneliness that only a child was going to fill. Yet, she believed and had faith that God would answer, so her constant prayer "sustained her patience." We don't know how old she was, so we can't be sure of how long she had been fighting this loneliness of being barren or how long she had been waiting for a child after her marriage began. But, anyone who desires something so deeply within their heart and is living without it, whether that be a spouse, a new job, or a family, will probably tell you that even one day, is one day too many without it.
The days kept passing and the nights still came. She was still without a child, but her patience only grew stronger because of her constant prayer and belief that God was hearing her. The moon would rise and the sun would set, but she never stopped believing that her prayer would go unheard. She must have believed that his mercies are new every day and that joy comes in the morning, because one day, many prayer-filled days later, her patience and faithfulness were rewarded. She had a son, Samson. And while her son lived a life that sometimes led him astray from the Lord and caused her sorrow, she knew he was her blessing, her answered prayer. And her story gives us an example that while God does indeed hear our prayers, the answers may not always turn out how we expect them to. But, no matter what the answer, we can expect the Lord to be glorified.
I never thought much about marriage or having a family when I was a teenager or even in college really. It wasn't until I graduated and eventually became settled in a job that those two dreams, those prayers, started coming into the light. Small whispers of what the future could look like. But then, the loneliness hit. The loneliness of turning twenty-seven and watching your friends get married and start their families. Of watching your friends get pets together, take vacations, get promotions, and buy a house. Those small whispers became loud screams of anger and questioning why it wasn't my turn yet. What did I need to do? What did I need to change? Who did I need to be?
On Manoah's wife and Samson's mother, the nameless woman, Herbert Lockyer said: "Barren though the nameless wife she was, she was yet believing."
I need to pray. I need to throw away my unbelief that the Lord isn't hearing me. I need to be more like the faithful woman that Samson's mother was. I need my prayer to lighten my burden and strengthen my patience. I need to not let loneliness win. I need to stop pushing it away and acting like it isn't something I feel. I need to see that my singleness isn't something that needs fixing. I need to believe this article below.
But most importantly, I need to believe that the Lord is good. That He hears my prayers. That His mercies are new every day. That joy comes in the morning.
When I first went off to college, I knew a total of two people at The University of Alabama. Making friends seemed like the most daunting task and a part of me knew that the only way I would make friends was if the Lord directly put them in my path. I joined a church, got involved in their college ministry, and became a part of a Bible study. It was a small group, me and another freshman, and our two upperclassmen leaders. We were the smallest of all groups, a trend that would continue all of my years, even as I became a leader. But, those three girls came into my life at the most perfect and proper time. I would build a lot of memories with those girls, but especially with one of them in particular.
She wasn't just my Bible study leader, but in a way my mentor and my confidant. She introduced me to The Office, fed my Mexican food addiction, sat with me in the corner of Barnes and Noble, and became a kid again whenever we found a playground. There were countless talks in parking lots, lots of cheering at football games, and numerous sleepovers. Where she was, I usually wasn't far behind. Where I was, she usually wasn't far behind. She was my best friend.
I know that time changes, things change, and people change, but friendships can and do last through all of that. Ours however, didn't last. It wasn't necessarily because either of us changed, but we instead just stopped. For me, jealousy, fear, and pride got in the way. I could see our relationship slowly fading away, but instead of saying words to fight for it, I stayed quiet. Hard-headed, determined, and prideful I quit the friendship. Looking back, it seemed to happen suddenly. One day she was there and the next she wasn't. And just like that, six years went by.
Six years of silence.
There were many times in those six years that I thought about her. I knew that she was now married, had children, was happy. I had graduated college, moved away from home and then back again, and had gotten my first full-time job after college. Never did I get to celebrate any of it with her. The person I would have texted or called first in any situation, was lost somewhere in the silence of six years. She was walking her life and I was walking mine.
During those six years, there were times I thought about reconnecting. I thought about sending a message to see how she was. To see if any form of friendship still remained, but I never did. I believed the lies that too much time had passed, that she was over it and had moved on, that it wasn't worth it. Forgiveness is not an easy thing to ask for. Oh, but friends, how sweet and necessary forgiveness is! I didn't want pride to be my pitfall. I wanted to choose peace instead of pride.
So, after six years of silence, I decided to break it. Forgiveness is not an easy thing to ask for, but when you do, reconciliation comes. The longer the years pass, the harder it will be; but the outcome may be much sweeter than you ever realized. The words that were always so hard to find, the pain remembered every time you tried to write them, the memories that were had to relive; all those thoughts, all the feelings may just be mutual over there on the other side. You will only know if you are brave enough to say them. First to the Lord, then to yourself, and next to your friend. The dear, sweet friend that was always by your side.
In the book Wild and Free, Hayley Morgan writes about how we have become caged by our own limitations. One of those limitations is being caught in the shame cycle. She tells the story of a friendship that withered away because she refused to forgive. A story that hit me way too close to home. She eventually confronted her friend and discovered that she had felt the same way! Forgiveness may not always look like this, but I'm so glad to say that for me and my friend it did. My friend expressed that she also had wanted to say something, but she was afraid it was too late and then didn't know what to say. Although this time comes six years later, I'm so thankful that it wasn't twelve years later or, sadly, never. And now, like Hayley and her friend, "we get to experience the gospel goodness of forgiveness; we get to be in fellowship with our Father and with each other; and we're both braver for the next time hurt or shame arises."
Ignore the six year silence that has lived between you. Focus now on the words you want to say and where you want to begin again. Send the message, speak the words in faith; knowing you have bravely said what you wanted to say so many times before. Thank the Lord for giving you the courage, the boldness to speak in truth. And then, watch the Lord work His wonders. Watch Him mend the brokenness that seemed to crumble so easily. Experience firsthand the power of forgiveness. Watch the silence of six years slowly be filled with words of healing. Watch a sweet friendship slowly come back into view. Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) and experience again how a friendship refreshes the soul(Proverbs 27:9).
Whether you're the one who needs forgiving or you're holding back your forgiveness from someone else, you need to bring that junk into the light. If you need forgiveness from someone, go and ask them. Bring yourself low and step into the light, knowing that Jesus is right there with you. Confess your yuck and ask forgiveness for the sin you committed and for the pain you caused. There is nothing like the freedom that comes from confession and repentance. -- Hayley Morgan, Wild and Free
Do you like confrontation or is that something you run away from? Have you ever let a relationship drift away, because pride or fear held you back? Fear is not found in love. But, there is freedom in forgiveness.
I pray that if you are searching for that, you will find it.
Follow Me :)
First of all, happy cinco de mayo! Part of me really wants to continue this whole post in Spanish, but honestly and sadly, I don't remember much of it after my two years of high school and two years of college classes. Conjugating verbs was never my thing. I hope you will be celebrating today with some tacos and maybe a fun drink or two. At least have chips and salsa.
Yesterday marked four years since I graduated college. Four, you guys. Four!! I absolutely cannot believe it. And next year will mark 10 years since graduating high school. I absolutely cannot believe it's happening. Some days, I have a hard time believing I'm actually an adult. That, however, is another post for another day. Today, I want to share with you four things that I've learned since graduating college. One for each year that I've been gone from The University of Alabama.
1. Take risks and have adventures | The fall after graduating college, I packed up my first apartment and packed a bag. My stuff went with my parents and my bag went with me to California. I knew no one and I flew across the country by myself. I partnered with the North American Mission Board to be a semester missionary in Tahoe City, California. It was the farthest I had ever been away from home, but one of the greatest decisions. I met some wonderful friends, got to visit some wonderful places, and spent most of my time with kids and outdoors, two of my favorite things. It wasn't the typical first job after college, but it was a fun one and I was using my degree! California is where I learned to kayak, how to engage people in the community, attempted to ski, and learned to make friends with people different than me.
2. Moving home isn't that bad | As graduation kept creeping closer, I knew that moving back home was a possibility. I wasn't sure what I was going to do after walking across the stage and I didn't know if I wanted to stay in Tuscaloosa. Then, California happened. And as my time there started winding down, I knew that moving back home was absolutely going to happen. I wasn't the most excited about it, although I know mom was! That year of living at home again was honestly one of the toughest for me. I felt stuck, unprepared, and unsuccessful. I didn't know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go, but I knew that home with my parents was where the Lord wanted me. So, I got involved with my church again, I became a barista (another risk and adventure), spent time (lots of it) with mom and dad, and poured myself into the Word and prayer. Those were the two constants that I could rely on that also gave me comfort. Living at home also helped me save money, which is always nice! Being at home was that moratorium time that I needed, to spend a little time just figuring out who I was and what the Lord wanted me to do.
3. Cultivate good habits | While living at home again, I started making my bed more, drinking more water, going running, paid my bills on time. I started taking care of myself better. And these are all things that I'm still doing (for the most part) today. I love making my bed in the morning, because when I come home it feels like my whole room is clean. Drinking water and running are just things that make me feel better. Even though I don't want to do them half the time, I always love it after. Paying my bills on time is just responsible and I've become obsessed with my credit score. Student loans hang over me like most graduates nowadays, but it's the monthly bill that I hate to love to pay. I hate that I have to pay it, but I love watching the balance go down. Another good habit that I've been practicing since moving away from home is faithfully tithing. My first year in Mobile was a year where the Lord continually showed me His providence and how He is my daily bread. Tithing faithfully is just my small, sacrificial praise to Him for being my daily bread and all that I need.
4. Find community | This one has truly played a huge part in my life, especially the past year. When I moved to Mobile, one of the first things I started doing was looking for a church. My college ministry was one of the things that made my college years so great. I wanted that to be true for my post-college, adult life too. I knew that I needed a place to grow spiritually and a place that could put me in the path of making new friends. Let's be honest, making friends in the real world, as an adult, is tough! And sadly, and as much as I hate to say it, the best friends you were surrounded with in college may not be your best friends four years later. There are people I wish I would have never lost contact with and I don't even know where or how to begin those friendships again. Which makes me so thankful for the college friendships that I do still have. Community is something that we need. And the best community for me is found through those certain college friendships, my church family, and my grow group. They are the people I can look to for encouragement and they are the people that will speak truth to me, even when I'm being stubborn and don't want to hear it.
These four year after college have shown me a lot, the biggest being that life may look a whole lot different four years after graduation than what you imagined. But, these things are the greatest lessons learned so far. And they are lessons I try to think about every day. I'm not sure when the adult thing will truly feel real. It may take another four years. Or like my time at Bama, I might need an extra year, a victory lap, just so I can fully comprehend it all. I don't want to miss anything. Roll Tide.
What were some of the things you learned your first few years after college? What lesson would you pass on? How is your life different than what you imagined it would be when you graduated or left home for the first time?
Follow Me :)