Friday, August 26, 2011

21st Birthdayeve

Every year on the night before my birthday I reminisce over the past year, the highs and lows, the laughter the tears, the pain and the joy, the good and the bad. Each year I want to say is in it's own way is worse than any other previous year, however, I now realize that each year has it's own unique set of trials and triumphs. With each opportunity I'm given I am also given a choice of how I am going to react to it. Am I going to get mad and angry or am I going to allow it to stretch and grow me?

The first three months of my twenty-first year were full of excitement, I started my junior year of college at Shawnee Baptist, I went to Tennessee with my best friend, I was promoted to a management position at LEE's and overall life was good. Did I mention that we had a lice scare in my dorm? That was pretty exciting. I was getting good grades, having the time of my life, and pretty much didn't really seem to be taking much of anything seriously.

Christmas break of 2012 changed my life drastically. I had planned to stay at school for most of the break so I could work. I took a couple of days off before and the day after Christmas because Mom was supposed to have a hysterectomy. I should have known things were going to be bad from about 5 miles down the road on my way home...yep, I was pulled over with my first official speeding ticket (no comments mom, dad or Jason :P). I arrived at the hospital about an hour before mom went in to the OR. We talked for a few minutes and prayed and then we waited. And waited. And waited. When the surgeon finally came out he told us that things had been a little messier than originally planned but Mom should be fine. To make a very long story short, Mom ended up not being fine. She was supposed to be in the hospital only a couple of days, but ended up being in for 10 due to some major complications. I quit my job and school and moved back home to help out. That took up the last half of December, all of January and into February.

February my dad had surgery on his knee. He also ended up with complications which landed us in the ER at the same time a lifelong friend was having a fatal heart attack just a few doors down from where we were! It was the beginning of a lesson that I'm not sure I've totally learned yet: You don't know when it will be your time to make sure you are making your life count for something. Don't just sit idly by, get up and make a difference.

March brought about more loss and more wake up calls to live life to the fullest. Time after time it seemed that problems were thrown in my path and I had the choice of allowing them to pull me down or learning from them and growing. Learning that no matter what, God is in control and who am I to question His sovereignty?

April was perhaps where I was tested the most. On the 19th we were informed that my dear cousin Greg was missing with a friend in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming. Many of you probably remember reading everything that I posted about the search for them. It was horrific and terrifying and most of all, gut wrentchingly sad. Quite easily the longest week I can remember. The search seemed to be going on and on and on with no hints whatsoever of the whereabouts of Greg and Walker. It was a week of tears and prayers. Begging God to bring them back to us. But alas! it was not God's plan for on Easter Sunday the bodies of the two men were found buried beneath an avalanche. It was a freak of nature, something that should never have happened, but it did. Only God knows why.

May is when things started really looking up. I started getting involved in the Richard Mourdock for US Senate campaign and enjoy it very much. From Lincoln Day Dinners to parades, fair booths to Tea Party meetings I've learned a lot and have enjoyed myself very much.

If there was one lesson that I've learned more than any other this year I would say that it is that God is God and I am not. He is the One in control and He leads us each step of the way. When I rest in Him I fear no evil, but when I take things into my own hands I mess it up. Trusting Jesus, that is all. The other big lesson is to not let life pass me by. Don't be afraid to dream, dare to explore, make each second count.

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