So far – I’ve welcomed you into my life and talked about my early years, the ups and downs of high school, and my freshman year of college at USC. After freshman year, I transferred to Clemson as a sophomore. I lived with one of my best friends from home and another roommate, and we shared a 3 bedroom townhouse a little ways away from campus. I spent most of my time with my best friend Taylor, and we navigated this season of my life together. Tay invited me to join a small group with her & to try out FCA. One of our dear friends, Katie, invited us to join a small group with other girls from Lexington, which felt comfortable & made the situation way less intimidating. To be honest – at this point I really didn’t understand what a small group was, but I thought to myself, “why not?”
This small group was vulnerable, life giving, and introduced me to the idea of having a relationship with Jesus. I had never been exposed to that — all I knew about Jesus was that He existed and that I wanted to go to heaven when my time on earth came to an end. At this period in my life, I knew there had to be more. I felt an emptiness, a lack of joy, I knew something greater than myself was missing in my life. I wanted to know more, to feel more, to be a part of something more.
I craved to feel deeply loved & accepted. The second or third week of class, FCA held a kick off event called FCA After Dark. This night marks the point in my life where I had a huge wake up call. Joe White came and spoke about how Jesus died for me, he died for my sins. He took my place. I was completely broken, crying over the weight of what this meant.
“The great key to living a life that truly matters, a life that is rich and fulfilling, a life that can weather life’s greatest storms and still come out smiling is to get your spiritual roots moving daily into the fertile soil of faith.” – Joe White
I dedicated my life to Christ right there and then on October 28, 2010. Since that moment, I have lived my life solely to bring Him glory and to pursue His purpose for my life. I still don’t fully understand the weight of that, and I know that will be a learning process for the rest of my life. It’s not easy, at all. I stumble and fall, I get consumed by sin, I struggle, I fall flat on my face. We all do and we are so not alone in that. That’s the beauty of grace, it’s never ending & neither is His love for each and every one of us.
After I came to know Christ, I was truly on fire to know Him more. I wanted to be super involved with our small group, I went to FCA every Thursday with my friends, and went to as many FCA functions as I could. One of my favorite memories is going to roller boogie – the first FCA event of the year. I went with our group of friends, mostly girls in our small group, and had the best time. I still remember laughing so hard on this night, I mean hello, look how ridiculous we look hahaha. Also, totally have a photo with Corbin who is now my brother in law. At this point in time, I hadn’t met Braden yet!
This year was full of growth for me. I made new friends, went to so many fun things, and fully dove into learning as much as I could about Jesus. I started going to Newspring with Taylor and loved it. The messages were simple and concise, and left me wanting to dive in more. I journaled every single day this year – something I’d love to do more now, but I love that I have my memories and thoughts during this transitional season of my life. The year continued on like any other, full of football, friends, and hang outs. I felt settled into this new life of mine, calling Clemson home and truly feeling like it was home.
That spring, I met Braden, but I’m going to dedicate an entire post on how we met and how our friendship & relationship evolved 🙂 so for now, just know that him and I met the spring of our sophomore year. Soon after meeting and realizing we had a little thing for each other, we went on the FCA mission trip to DC that March. This was the first mission trip I had ever been on, and my group of 16 new friends was so fun. This trip is also the first trip I ever took my new DSLR camera, a camera my mom and I had put on layaway months before just for this trip.
Braden and I officially started dating soon after this trip in April. I can’t wait to tell you all the little turns of events that got us to this place, my next post will be a fun one that’s for sure 🙂 To wrap this up, three things I’d love to mention just because they’re funny now, is the fact that 1) I went on my first day trip to Greenville this spring, 2) had my first Starbucks coffee ever, and 3) had my nose pierced.
I just think it’s hilarious that I had a nose ring. The day I decided to get one (on a whim, naturally), I called my mom to tell her and she died laughing. She thought it was hilarious, this was the first “rebellious” thing I had ever done haha. It lasted a month, sadly it fell out in my sleep and the piercing closed up. Whomp whomp. Sophomore year was the turning point in my life. The point where my life went from darkness to light, where I had a newfound hope, where I was surrounded by community and was being poured into constantly. All the years I’ve written about prior to this post led to this moment and this season. I’ll forever be grateful for how the Lord worked in my heart, gently grabbing my hand and pulling me from rock bottom.
What I knew to be true that night 8 years ago, and still know to be true — is that Jesus loves me, and He’s always going to, no matter how many times I fail. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.“ — Lamentations 3:22-23. Resting in this truth every day, but especially today and this month as I relearn to intentionally rest.