The walls in my room are empty of pictures and decorations and all that's left to my room is my clothes and shoes and a few things. It's a sign that the end here has come but that there are so many great adventures ahead of me. I don't know where this year flew to, but I'm done with college now, WOO!
It's probably a good thing that the past few weeks flew by because senioritis was a real thing and writing papers and doing projects, that was something that became real low priority. But, the grades are in and they turned out A-okay!
Looking back at this time even just last week, my life did about a 360 in just a few days. Somehow, everything seemed to fall into place all at once. I knew my last day of my internship was going to be last Friday, but I still didn't have a job. I was waiting to hear back from one of the interviews I'd had, but I'd only done one interview for the position I wanted, so I thought I'd have to hear back to line up the second interview if I were to get one. I didn't know if it'd work out and I didn't know if I should still keep my job here, but I still decided that Friday would be my last day. I was more than a little nervous when I left work without really knowing what I was doing, but I just had a feeling that it'd be okay. That afternoon, I received an email informing me that I'd been offered a position for the job.
The next day, I accepted the offer and it felt as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Not to mention, the same day, I also turned in my last two papers and was completely done with school. Whew. Last weekend a family friend got married, so it was a good beginning to my first weekend free of worrying about studying, papers, and school.
There's something about weddings that get me every time. I'm a huge sap, so seeing them look at each other and being so in love just about melts my heart. Not to mention the night before I'd gotten to meet the new baby on our block, so my heart was just overwhelmed by precious things. As much as technology and society have challenged today's chivalry and romance, it's good to see two people with a Christ-centered relationship who are going to conquer the world together. So on top of relief from the week, my heart was warmed by the love surrounding everyone that night.
It got even better when I was able to spend most of that night at the reception with a good family friend. He's like an uncle to me and whenever we're together, it's always a great time, and that night was one a good one to say the least. As we talked about my job, we also got to talking about his dad, who'd been like a grandpa to me. That conversation reminded me that I'd be fine no matter what I do, now and in the future. He was the one that always encouraged me to believe in myself.. That if I don't, then why should anyone else? Cheers to him! I know that he's watching down over me and I believe in myself with all that I can and strive to give my all to everyone around me everyday to make him proud.
The last week of my internship I got a little emotional. I was talking with one of my co-workers about everything going on in my life and kind of freaking out a little. He told me that he was seeing a side of me that he hadn't seen before- because I was reaching for something that I normally wouldn't, that was outside of my comfort zone, something that'd take me away from home for a little while. Though he said it wasn't a bad thing, it's a good thing to do something that scares me- I did get a little scared and questioned myself. I just remember Jerry and it goes away. I have to believe in myself and what I'm doing, and I'll be just fine. I'm so incredibly excited for this experience, but it'll also be my first time being more than a short drive away from home, so I know it'll get hard. The other day, one of my friends said that she couldn't do it. She said that whenever she reads my posts, she feels so inspired, but that she didn't know how I was doing it.
I don't know when I got this courage. I know if you'd have told me last year that I was about to embark on this journey, I wouldn't have believed you. I was dead set on staying in BloNo after graduation. But, between little road trips, deep conversations with friends, and so many scary things happening to people, I realized that life is too precious and I need to do it now. It's only three months, and if I don't now, then I know that I won't. Everyone says that now is the time to travel, before I get married, before I have kids. And I know I'd like to do that in a few years, so there's no better time than now. When I went to Church this weekend, the sermon just so happened to be on sharing your story with other people and being a light for Christ in the world wherever you go. Coincidence? Maybe, but I think God knew that I needed to hear a little something that would reassure me.
I won't pretend that I'm not scared, because I am. I know that I don't have to be, so I try my best not to be. I know that God's watching over me, that He'll always be there when I'm excited, happy, sad, or lonely. I know that I'll be far from home and that there are people here I don't want to leave, but I know that technology will play a big part in keeping us close and I'll be able to share my journey with them just like I was beside them.
I hope that I do inspire whoever reads this, and I hope that you, too, will find the courage within you to do something that challenges you. Whether it be with a job offer, a chance to go on a trip, a chance to tell someone how you feel, you never know what could come of it. What's the worst that could happen? Someone might tell you didn't get the job, that they don't have the same feelings for you, that they can't make this trip, but what are you really losing? There's other jobs out there, there's a man or woman that God created for you to be with, so if that one didn't work out then it wasn't the right person anyways. It's never the end because God has something planned for you that's probably bigger than you could've ever imagined.
Sometimes I wish I could turn off my feelings so that I wouldn't get scared or my heart didn't have to care so much, but what fun would that be? My heart just likes to be there for people, to love deeply, to laugh obnoxiously, to take a chance on something that I normally wouldn't, to care for others even if they don't deserve it. Everyone needs someone to care, and I'd do anything to be that person for whoever I could.
The way I see it, I'll be traveling to 40-45 car dealerships putting on test drive events. There will probably be quite a few people attending, and I'll be interacting with them throughout the day. If I can care for someone, bring even a little light to someones day, then just maybe I'll be able to make a difference in someones life. There's alot of people in this world and there's alot of chances you can take. So next time you're given an opportunity to do something or be with someone, don't let fear stop you. Let your faith be bigger than your fear, and God will do the rest. He's got your back, and He won't ever leave you.
What if you woke up each day knowing how much time you had left on Earth? How would you live your life differently than you are? Would you go to work still or would you finally do something you enjoy rather than going through the motions of your everyday life?
Yesterday's message at church really stuck with me. He compared our lives to a cell phone battery. If we woke up each day and saw what percentage of our life we had left, how would that affect us? If you woke up with 20% today, would you live your life differently than if you woke up with 75%? Probably.
It's the percentage that really matters. Do we not realize how valuable life is until its too late? Do we wait to start loving others and appreciating the small things in life when we are down to our final 10%? Do we put off our feelings about someone or something, or do we put off spending time with family and friends because "there's always tomorrow?" It'd be nice to have that percentage each day when we wake up, but we don't. That can be a good thing, or it can be bad. If today were to be your last day, would you be happy with the way you've been living your life, or would you want to change something? Have you been living a life that honors Christ and being a light to those around you or have you been keeping quiet in fear of someone thinking differently of you for what you believe? Do you spend all of your time planning.. Planning for tomorrow, next week, next month. We aren't promised that and we don't know what tomorrow will bring, so are you using your time wisely?
I've been talking more lately to someone I went to high school with, and the other day he said "when did you become a motivational book, like you just whipped out this long paragraph and I was blown away.." I'd been trying to encourage him and let him know that everything will work out as its supposed to and it'll be better than he can imagine- a lot of things I'd obviously never have said as a senior in high school. No, I never used to think this way.. I was big on planning for the future, for tomorrow, for life after high school. But now, I know that it isn't promised, I know that whatever God has planned for me will happen. Whether I have 80% or 25% left in my battery is up to Him, and I can just live in the here and now to influence those around me.
I want to change the world. I want to leave it better than I left it, and I want to be a person that can influence others lives in ways that will show them a love they've never known. I want them to know that there is a God who is so full of love and grace for them. That they don't have to worry, to be sad, to feel guilty or ashamed because our God took all of our sins with Him on the cross so we wouldn't have to worry.
I knew that love growing up. I went to Church twice a week through 8th grade, but I didn't realize the importance of that love until I came to college and made the decision on my own to learn more and grow in my relationship with Christ. I wouldn't have ever guessed four years ago that I'd be where I am today. Not in a million years. It's also something I wouldn't change for the world. It might have taken me lots of ups and downs to get to where I'm at, some of it I like, some of it I strongly dislike, but I know that I needed to go down those paths to get me where I am today.
I know I'm only one person and I can only talk to so many people in one day. I know time is important and I know that God's timing is always perfect, regardless of whether we think it is or not. I know there's a lot of people out there who need God's love, and I know I can't possibly reach everyone. But I do know that by starting small, impacting one person could lead to that person impacting someone, and soon, there will be people seeing the light from states away-- all because of one person.
So how are you going to use our battery today? Are you going to get up and be happy when you go to work, smile and say hello to a coworker you normally wouldn't? What about calling up your friend you haven't talked to in awhile just to let them know you're thinking of them?
Time's been a weird thing for me lately. I'm stuck in a battle between being ready for the next chapter of my life and not being ready to leave what I'm comfortable with. Whether I like it or not, time is flying by. We're down to thirteen days until graduation, and then what? I'm not sure, but I do know that as it approaches more quickly each day, I find trivial things less important, and wanting to be around those I care about matters that much more. I've been meaning to edit the rough draft of my paper for about a week, but life's brought plenty of opportunities for me to do other things, so that's gotten pushed down on my priority list. Oh, you want to go for a bike ride? I won't be able to do this with you in a few weeks, so yes lets go. Oh you wanna go listen to that band all night, sure. I don't spend my entire day working on it. Instead, I've been breaking it up and editing it by section. That way, I balance my time between spending times with family and friends and doing work I need to get done (fingers crossed it'll be complete tomorrow, yay!)
Normally, I'd have gotten super anxious and freaked out whenever something came up. But now, I take advantage of it. Our battery percentage here at IWU is down to red, and I'd rather use it wisely than regret not taking the time to be with those I love down the road. So time. It's a tricky little thing, but it's what we do with our time here that really matters.
I don't want to live a life where I look back and have regrets. I want to look back and see how far I've come from the person I used to be. To know that I might have had a small impact on at least one person's life. That I loved those who didn't deserve it, that I loved until it hurt or laughed until I cried, and that I didn't give up when times got hard because I put all of my trust in God. Just maybe if we lived our life like we were down to 10%, the world might be just a little different than it is today. Just maybe we'd see the love that the world needs.
Yesterday I went to bed and I feel like overnight the whole world blossomed. This morning it was all gloomy outside, but when I left work at lunchtime it was finally starting to clear up, and then I looked around. The sky was a little blue, and there was life in all of the trees. This is one of my favorite times of the year because everything is SO pretty. The little trees lining the parking lot at work all had their green little blossoms, and all of the trees on my way home had varieties of pinks, whites, and greens opening up to start their new life for the year.
Today in class, my teacher made us stop looking at the computer screens and come over to the window. The tree outside the building was starting to bloom, and the little green buds on it are her favorite thing to see. The wonderful thing is, it's not only just that tree doing that, it's all around us.
Nature is so amazing. It doesn't even asked to be looked at and its many times something we take for granted. The sunrises and sunsets are always beautiful, but so are the signs of new life on the trees, the acorns lying on the ground for squirrels to snack on, the changing leaves in the fall. The leaves and seasons change, and you know what? Life keeps going on.. There's endings, but there's also new beginnings each year when spring rolls around.
On a scale of 1-10, I'm probably a negative number when it comes to how much I enjoy even a small "see-ya later." So this whole graduating and being more than a mile from my closest friends, yeah.. I"m not looking forward to that. My co-workers at work who I've been lucky enough to become close with, that'll be a great time as well.
This morning I opened my email at work and one of the ladies in my department had sent me an email after I published my last department newsletter. It wasn't anything big, but part of it read ".. You have such a tender-heart and I know we share a connection as sister’s in Christ and that connection has kept me going many times! I didn’t get a chance to ask you about your interview last week but I am confident God will lead, guide and use you uniquely for His special Hilary-designed purpose. :)"
So how do I even begin to think of leaving these people? The people who encourage me, are there for me, who make me laugh, and that I enjoy every second with. That I've been around so often the past few years and some even months, but it seems so much longer. I don't. I try not to think about it, not until I have to. I do walk down the hallway at work and think about how I'll only be there 8 more days. I walk to class and look at all the trees and think of how this is somehow my last week of walking this campus in the spring. I go somewhere with my friends and try not to think that soon we'll be who knows how far apart. It's natural for me though, I'm not a huge fan of change. When I get comfortable, I'd rather everything stay the same. If I could, I would just hang out on a Friday night watching a series on Netflix or go out to get coffee and bake the weekend away. It's what I'm used to and it's what I enjoy, so why change it?
But, time doesn't stop or slow down for anyone. And life is getting real. Real quick. And as scary as it seems, all of this beauty in the new life around me reminds me that it'll be just fine. No matter where life takes me, wherever it takes my friends, wherever it takes my co-workers, whatever major changes I have to deal with, it'll be okay. I got on Pinterest today and somehow it always knows the perfect "suggestions" for me.
I love quotes, and I love song lyrics. I love anything that I can relate to that can describe how I'm feeling at that exact moment. This little quote popped up today like it knew I'd be having feelings like this. As crazy as it seems, the unknown in the future is becoming less scary. I know that whatever God has planned, it'll be. I can't do anything to change it. I know that I'll eventually find a job I love, a home, a husband, have a family, and meet lots of new people along the way, but all in his timing. Unknown things are scary, but I'm also beginning to feel more excited with each day about the new beginnings that are unfolding in this crazy life.
Take a look around. The trees wouldn't be bursting with life today if it weren't for the rain the past few days. Life isn't always going to be the sunny paradise that we want. We're going to have dark days, we're going to want to cry, we're going to feel lonely and afraid, but it won't last forever. 2 Timothy 1:7 says "For God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind." So regardless of how life is right now, we have the power from God within us to persevere. The rain will pass, and what will come is something that is greater than you could have ever imagined.