Life is so full of new chapters, special moments, and new things to learn and discover.
I have been blessed with many such times in my young life. Sure, there’s also been the not so fun times too and the days and nights full of questions about the future, but that is also just life, right? We wouldn’t feel the need to pray and trust God with each step nearly so much if the path before us was straight and easy to navigate.
The last couple of years have been full of a lot of praying and dreaming about what was ahead, what was the plan for my life. I have to admit that many times I felt impatient or thought I knew how it would be. Yet, I ran into one closed door after another. Then, it wasn’t until what seemed like the very last minute that the answer finally came. It was an exhausting process though maybe it wouldn’t have been so exhausting if I hadn’t been as stressed out about it.
Each time I was met with a disappointment or a closed door and as I very often sat in tears of utter disappointment, it felt like God asked me again if I had really entrusted him with the pen for writing the story of my life. I then wiped away the tears and had to reaffirm that yes, I trusted Him with my life and that yes, I wanted Him to write my story.
The new journey I am beginning is unlike any I’ve ventured on. Sure, studying abroad was quite a lovely adventure, but I knew that I would always return home to my precious Texas after an allotted amount of time. This new journey involves a giant move to live on my own in that northern “Not Texas” region of Indiana. Not meaning to put down Indiana since I haven’t become acquainted with her yet, but I know it’s going to be quite different from what I’m used to. I mean, it actually gets cold permanently up there!
It seems almost unreal. I’ve never felt so many emotions at once. I’m so excited to be continuing my graduate studies in something I’m passionate about, but I’m so sad to leave my family and friends here. I guess it’s as one of my professors said as I sat in her office when I came to say goodbye:
“Stacey, this is the end of one wonderful chapter of your life and the beginning of another. You’re going to learn so much and experience so many things. I’m excited for you and I have faith in you!”
As I left her office, I sort of felt a little like our favorite little hobbit Bilbo did as so much was happening around him with dwarfs and a wizard and he didn’t really fully understand this whole “adventure” business. When he left his little hobbit hole, he went on a journey that would change his entire outlook on life as well as who he was. Maybe it seems like a stretch to compare moving out of state to pursue my studies to a hobbit adventure, but if my life so far has been any indicator, I would say that an adventure awaits! I don’t think I’ll be the same either when I reach the end of this upcoming chapter of my life. Sure, maybe I’m not going to go riding barrels or even conquer a dragon though the idea of a dissertation does make me want to make comparisons to a dragon. However, I think it will hold some interesting experiences and some life-changing events.
Every journey of this kind has been full of trials, joys, and experiences that changed who I am and how I look at life. I don’t mean to come across as self-centered either. This past chapter of my life that is officially coming to an end as I walk across the stage to obtain my degree on Friday has been the most wonderful and memorable because of the people who have touched my life. Many of them I will never see again this side of heaven, but I think of them with a smile. I have so many dear friends and family who have been there for me whether by giving me yet another cup of coffee or by being willing to listen to my venting sessions over the phone when things became so stressful. The professors I have had have also gone above and beyond the call of duty to help me through the many trials of my first tastes of graduate school. They have done a great job preparing me and encouraging me when things were looking bleak. I know I couldn’t have done it without them!
Thus, it is with a feeling of gratitude and of being ever so blessed that I look ahead to this next journey. I’m filled with excitement to see how God will work!