My storm happened on January 31st, 2014.
It was the first time I had experienced true grief. I had turned 19 years old that day, and I had received a guardian angel that day. My grandfather, Grady, had left too soon, and unexpected.
I had never felt such a rush of emotions in my life. I had never been so confused, blind-sighted, or heartbroken.
Time passed and the storm brewed.
I was mad at the world and I was angry with God. If God loved me, why did this pain hurt so bad? I questioned Him over and over again and he wouldn’t answer me. My patience began to run thin.
Time passed; I pushed through.
If God could not tell me what I needed to do, then I would just take matters in my own hands. I intended to be accepted in to the Dental Hygiene program at the local community college, push through two years, start working, and get on with my life. Simple, right?
It is the same year but now December. My grandmother, Johanne Heustess, passes away and I now watch my Father endure the loss of a parent. As my mother continued struggling with the loss of hers. This adds to my anger. When was God going to let up?
Almost 20 years old; working at the bar and hating it. By this time I had applied to the dental hygiene program twice; denied both times. My plan was not working. The downward spiral had begun.
Justin and I were not at a good place. It was difficult for me to be happy in a relationship when I was not happy with anything at all. I had so much anger and resentment built up towards someone who loved me unconditionally and I didn’t know why. To put it simply… he had it all, and I didn’t. I couldn’t explain myself and he couldn’t understand. I was so frustrated with my life that the whirlwind eventually began and I ran from everything. I ran from people who loved me and I ran from God. I had had enough. I quit.
This is when the world’s ’empty promises’ presented themselves with open arms.
After about 10 months in to these empty promises, I gave up again. These things gave me no beneficial outcome what so ever. I was tired. I was irritated. I was still working at the bar. I didn’t know where I wanted to continue college at. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had never felt so trapped in a small town before. I hated it. What did God want me to do? Why wasn’t he showing me the way? Why could everyone else figure it out except me? Why me?
Fast forward again.
Changes had to be made now.
Upon completion of my Associate’s Degree from Gaston College; I had applied to Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Two complete opposites. I had begun mending the relationship I previously had with Justin and I was willing to do whatever it took to get things back to normal. I had a new job that better prepared me to move and I patiently waited to see where I would be accepted to.
Accepted to both Western Carolina and UNCW. The convenient two hour distance between Wilmington and Saint Andrews University made the choice easy. I paid my deposit and I was officially a Seahawk. I had whimsically picked a major; Recreation Therapy. Not knowing the impact the field would have on me. In a few short months I had packed my bags and moved four hours away from home for the first time. It was both refreshing and scary.
The storm lightened.
It was now January 2016 and I was in Wilmington, North Carolina. Classes begun and within a few short weeks I had actually sparked a friendship with a girl from Pinehurst (actually Aberdeen). Megan Leigh was my first ‘college friend’. Her hair was equally as dark as mine was, we both were transfer students, both athletic, and come to find out her birthday was the day before mine. This friend grew into my sister. Someone to laugh with, cry with, volunteer with, argue with, road trip with, be silly with, talk with, and make memories with. A sister I had never had before.
I did something I never thought I would do. I joined a sorority, Delta Zeta. Through this organization I met some of the sweetest souls to go through college with. Sydney, Sarah, Alexa, and later on Kaitlyn and Lidia. These sisters of mine not only make college life a little more bearable, they simply just let me be me and love me every step of the way. Love that is ever steadfast.
I ended up picking a major. I know it’s not unheard of for a college student to choose a major and then later decide they don’t like it. But this one was different. Recreation Therapy is the therapeutic use of leisure to enhance/improve the functioning of an individual. This health field serves many different populations, behavioral health (mental health) being the one I am most passionate about. Through this major I have became EDUCATED. I became a VOLUNTEER. I became COMMITTED to the service of others. I became CONFIDENT in what I was doing.
My storm had finally passed.
If you would have asked me on January 31st, 2014 where I would be in just a matter of three years. I couldn’t have ever dreamed I would be as blessed as I am today. Surrounded by love and friendship.
My college family; Megan, Sydney, Sarah, Alexa, Kaitlyn, Lindsey, Emilee, and all my RT girls. I could not do college with out you. And I am excited to finish out my college career with you and to see where life takes us.
Justin; you already know. A future with you will be the sweetest of dreams come true.
God has shown me that the darkest of storms lead to the brightest of days. For all the times that I was mad at God, He loved me. All the times I made a mistake, He loved me. All the times I did not love myself, He loved me. He did not give up on me, when I had gave up on Him.
Thanks to you all for loving me.