The Summer of {2017}.

The Summer of {2017}.

Having graduated in December and passed my certification exam by February, I was ready for a job. I knew where I would like to work and I knew where I wanted to live, or at least I thought I did. Interview after frustrating interview came and went, and so did a couple job offers that just didn't feel right. By May I was beyond frustrated. I was discouraged. I knew I was supposed to be in the field of Occupational Therapy right now, and it was very clear to me, so why was nothing happening with it? Why did I not have a job? Was I not qualified enough? Was I wrong about what I was supposed to do? I mean, society tells us that you graduate and get a job because that's just what you should do. So I was a failure without a job, right? In the midst of all this confusion and discouragement, I dove head first into studying the Bible, praying, and running (yes, you read that right! I picked up running as a hobby). The more I read, the more I heard God say, "wait" and he began easing my anxiety. He taught me that all these things: jobs, money, apartments, are good but they are meaningless without him. I could have anything and everything I desired, but if I don't have him I might as well be dead. So what is a girl to do with all this information and still no job? I mean, I was living off of my savings and that wouldn't last forever.

So I did what I knew how to do.

Wait.

Cry out to God in my frustration.

Lock horns with him when I thought I knew best.

Sing. Run. Read. Study. Run some more.

Then Neosho flooded. I decided to help and met up with a Disaster Relief team staying at a local church, and we began to tear out the walls of flooded houses. And sometimes while you are tearing out the physical walls of a home, God tears out the walls of your heart and begins to heal your hurting places. Halfway through the week I received a call asking if I would be interested in helping to lead a summer Collegiate Disaster Relief team for 10 weeks. God whispered, "yes, do it" and I did.

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At the beginning of the summer I was wounded. I was hurting from my past, friendships, and from the frustration and discouragement from a failed job search. I quickly began to realize that this was exactly why I hadn't found a job. God wanted me to meet the five ladies I met. He wanted me to gain confidence in my abilities as a leader and as a friend. He wanted me to continue a healing process he began in 2015 (my first summer of Disaster Relief). It really hit me that all the places and choices God lead me through up to that point made this possible. I had no debt, so I didn't have to worry about loan payments. I had no job, so I didn't have to ask off of work. I really had no expectations (mostly because I had no idea what I was doing) so I had an open mind and heart for what was to be done.

Throughout the course of the summer I got to know 5 separate, individual, amazing ladies. Each one of them taught me something special and unique. God taught me how to lead and love whole heartedly. I learned what it is like to pour myself into something so fully that it hurts. I learned how to really rely on God for strength, especially when I am uncertain. I learned that sometimes love looks like sitting in silence while someone else cries. I learned that it is always worth the trouble to chase someone down (sometimes literally) to talk to them, especially if it is uncomfortable.

Oliver Frumple

I learned what it is like to weep with empathy, and how to release that into the arms of God (at least the process was started). I learned that sometimes it is worth it to stay up all night laughing and being completely obnoxious, even if you have to work the next day. I learned that even an overnight trip to the ER can be made fun, it just takes the right attitude. I learned that it is okay to not know the answers, because I know the one who does. I learned that the Oliver Frumple song can make just about anyone either laugh or roll their eyes and it is a great tension breaker.

I learned that cooking your food inches over a fire is great until yours catches fire five times. I learned not to run full force at a group of cattle, because one day they might just run back at you and scare the living daylights out of you (it really did happen and we almost got it on video). Last summer I met some of the best friends a girl could ask for, and I'm thankful for that.

I guess what I'm trying to convey is that God provides.

Man, I'm dead serious, guys. God provides for you every single day. He sustains you even when you don't feel like he is. He gives you what you need, not what you want. What I WANTED after I graduated was to get a job and start my career. What I NEEDED was last summer. And while I learned a lot, the summer wasn't always easy. We spent a lot of time cleaning and re-cleaning tools and doing tasks that seemed menial.

But we kept on.

We pushed forward.

Off and on the entire summer I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. To be fair, I didn't. But God did. He always knew what he was doing in me and through me. Last summer God taught me that while you're carrying on, following and trusting God more, you will impact others. It might feel like chaos, but it will looks like grace. Just remember that. Even if you don't know what you're doing or where you are going, obey God every second and one day you will look back and realize how amazing it was and what you learned. You will trust God more. You will know that you can let go of your ideas a little more and grasp the ideas of God a little tighter. Because in the end, he is all we need.

Take a chance on God. Jump head first into what he wants you to do.

IT IS WORTH IT.

The Summer of {2015}.

The Summer of {2015}.

7 Months Later.

7 Months Later.