Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Next Chapter

I wrote this post late last night...reflections on, well, I guess all of my life thus far.

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Right now it is 11:35 and I should have been asleep an hour ago.

But just hours ago I got home from having my senior pictures taken. While I’ve already washed my face, my hair is still curled.  For a girl with stick straight hair, curls are too much fun.

My mind is spinning and I’m thinking a thousand things.

A glimpse into my thoughts?

Tonight I wore a dress that I felt beautiful in.  It’s one of the ones you can spin around in and feel five years old again.

As the photographer took my pictures tonight we were in the middle of the woods, bright green spring time colors all around us.  And it looked like a fairy tale…something straight out of a picture book I would have read as a little girl.

When I put on my second change of clothes, I had mom tie a bracelet on to my wrist and I forced my eyes to stay dry. It’s colors are faded and the ends are frayed from months of wear and tear. But Paige made it for me. And while I haven’t worn it in a while…tonight I needed to wear it. For her. And, well, for me, too. Because all of me wanted her to be a part of this: my senior year.

I posed for a picture with my most favorite journal in hand and my hot pink fountain pen: a gift from Trent and Sydney when I published my book. I can remember Sydney handing it to me the first time…signing book after book with it at my party. They’re in Brazil, but again…they should be a part, too.

And Amanda and Nick. Dad just finished visiting with them and so we send pictures to them all, wishing that California wasn’t so far away.

I can’t help but remember this last decade of schooling…the journey has been a story in itself.

It seems impossible that it was nearly 13 years since I was walking into my Kindergarten classroom for the first time, meeting Mrs. Riddle and still getting help to tie my shoes.

And somehow since then I went to camp for the first time. I got glasses. I helped with Summer with the Arts for the first time. I drove a car for the first time. I really wrote for the first time. I went to the movies- just me and the girls- for the first time.

There are sweet memories like my first day at Classical meeting Anna Gray and Brianna…competing in Bible Drill at church…countless summer days at the pool…reading Little Women for the first time and really falling in love with reading.

Then there are the not so great memories, too, like that haircut I got in sixth grade…getting over three dozen stitches (no more flash light tag for this girl!)…the very first disagreements with friends.

But as I look back at all of those firsts, I realize that many of the memories I’m making now are quite often…lasts.

This Sunday I’ll close out my last semester being a weekly teacher in children’s choir.

In a few short weeks I’ll have my last day of high school.

In August, I’ll have my last day of babysitting for my favorite families before heading off to school.

I’ve come to realize so very quickly that these are the last weeks of high school…these are my last weeks of youth ministry and all that comes with it…these are the last days before college.

While it seems bittersweet to look back on the lasts, I can only see it as the closing of one chapter…and the opening of a new one.

The day I walk on Liberty’s campus I will not only hold with me these memories and bring along the characters in my story, but I will turn the page a begin a new adventure: one that will be packed full of firsts, packed with sweet and not so sweet memories…and, one day, lasts as well.

So now it’s 11:55 and I’m totally going to get busted for staying up so late.

But, hey, these are my last weeks of high school, right? Might as well live them well and full.

Here’s to the best last 13 years a girl could ask for: to the best teachers, friends, parents…and everyone else…thanks for giving me a wonderful, magical, incredible 13 years.

And, most importantly, to my Jesus: the author of every first, every memory…and yes, every last in all of my 17 years. Thankfully He’s the author of this next chapter, too.

So it’s with a deep breath and a whole lot of His grace that I’m preparing to turn the page. Here’s to the next chapter.

*Photo credit to Rodney Slate//Autumn Song Photography*

Friday, April 3, 2015

I sat at my desk this morning, reading the account of the crucifixion in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In that moment I let myself breathe in deep, letting my heart become heavy with the realization that my Savior carried all of my sin to the cross.

It's a good Friday.

This afternoon I wrapped up yet another English assignment and I felt victorious. Only one more left this semester. 

It's a good Friday. 

Just two hours ago Sonia and I sat outside drawing princesses and carriages and ballerinas while listening to Disney music. The wind blew and the sky was blue like cotton candy. 

It's a good Friday.

But I sit here tonight and I write a short post. 

It was dark. Jesus is THE light...yet it was dark for hours on end. 

Because many years ago my Jesus had nails in His hands, in His feet...they pierced His side. They placed a crown of thorns upon His brow.

The veil was torn- split in two. 

Tetelestai- It is finished. 

He was dead. They put His body in a tomb. 

His Father looked away because our sins- all of my sins- were piled upon Him. 

Scripture tells us clearly that He was mocked, He was betrayed...He did no wrong. He was perfect.

Yet they crucified Him...because He loved us. Because He wanted us to be free from the chains of sin and shame. 

May we celebrate that in three days...death He defeated. The grave held no power. And our Jesus, He is forever victorious in all of our lives. 

"For God so loved the world..."

Today it is Friday. 

Today it is a good Friday...

Because Sunday is coming.

Praise the Lord!