I sat there for a moment, listening to the woman on the other end of the phone, not sure that what she was saying was actually real.
“Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to the Master Of Arts in Pastoral Counseling Program at Liberty University.”
Here I am, a thirty-four-year-old mother who hasn’t so much as glanced at a textbook in well over a decade, and now I’m about to enter an intense two years of living and breathing school work. For a brief moment I wondered if I hadn’t had some kind of mental breakdown that caused me to believe that being a full time mom and grad student was somehow a great idea. In the end, I owned my sanity as well as the insane decision to step back into the world of academics and pursue a dream that had long been forgotten.
If there’s one thing I’ve discovered over the last four years of AGLM it’s that the hardest things in life are often the best things.
We live in a world that praises a life of comfort and security. If it’s not easy, it’s not worth doing. Because of this, we’re becoming women who are afraid to try. Cowards instead of warriors. People who look back on our lives asking ourselves why we chose to settle for ok when we could have had the best.
A girl like me, however, refuses to settle. She is the woman willing to look at the unknown, the scary, and the difficult without fear because she knows it’s those very things that make her a stronger and braver woman. She is a fighter of dreams and a pursuer of hope.
Friends, life was never intended to be easy. To avoid pain and hardship, to reject uncertainty and pursue only pleasure, is not being brave at all. It’s being a coward.
Bravery comes when we allow ourselves to embrace the things that scare us most. To share the parts of our stories that make us uncomfortable to have told. To speak up when we feel mistreated or marginalized or stereotyped or bullied. To run wildly and freely into a future that we have no idea what it might look like.
This is who a girl like me is and this is the girl I am striving to become.
I’ll be honest, I’m terrified of going back to school. Terrified that I might fail. That I might not be good at it. That I’ll disappoint my friends and family. That all the work will turn me into an absentee mother, wife and friend. But if I let these fears, these made up and unknown assumptions rule my life, then I’ll never get to know what’s in store on the other side of my dreams.
I’m choosing to run. To do the wild thing. The unexpected, daring, and yes, crazy choice of taking on something bigger than myself. I’m choosing to humble myself and ask my friends for help when my school work doesn’t make sense and I need a bit of tutoring. I’m choosing to admit when I feel overwhelmed and under-qualified and let those who love me hold me up and carry me when taking one more step feels like just too much.
I hope that these last four years have given you permission to be that girl as well. To know and believe that you are capable of great things. You aren’t ruined because of your mistakes. That struggle will pass and make you better as a result. You are powerful and kind and able and more daring than you realize. All you have to do is get up and run.
Run towards that dream you’ve been too afraid to pursue. Run into that wound that is crying out to be healed. Run towards the people who will run with you as you do the unimaginable. And run towards a God who sees so much beauty within you and longs to give you Himself and life full of joy.
I’ll miss you my friends. I look forward to bumping into you along the journey and sharing all of the places our embracing the wild has taken us.