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thinking out loud

a year ago

A year ago today, I had no idea where I’d be.

I was a student at Toccoa Falls College, which means I was most likely whining about finals. Soon I’d be on my way home, but for only one week. Then I’d head off to Birmingham for a couple of weeks for job training then to Jackson, MS to spend the summer there working with YouthWorks.

The one week I spent at home before heading off to Alabama was incredibly difficult. In an instance, I was pulled out of the community of TFC and taken home to what seems to be the smallest, most boring town on the map. To make things better, my little Toyota Camry just wasn’t having it. He had blown his lid—literally. There was no hood! 

So I got home and it was good for maybe 24 hours—then the reality sank in. I felt stuck. I wanted to be anywhere but that place. 

I spent seven days at home, but it felt like seventy. After a week, my dad drove me to the great state of Alabama for job training. My thoughts: Finally, summer has began! Little did I know, I would not be the biggest fan of YouthWorks. Training week came and went, and I met some wonderful folks. At the end of the week, we packed out cars and headed to Mississippi. One could easily be convinced that the sun never sets in Mississippi—there were literally times when I felt like we were tiny people who’d been tricked into spending our summer inside an oven. In short, it was hot. 

I doubted being there from day one. Weird enough, the time I spent there wasn’t all bad. Even as a whole, when I consider the time I spent working for YW, I have fond memories. People. People. People. It was no doubt the people that made me stay there for so long. With only two weeks left on the job, I decided to call it quits and head home.

After YouthWorks, home had the sweetest aroma. I spent three weeks there, and it wasn’t so bad. 

Gracious—this post is long. If your reading, thanks for giving me this much time to talk about my not-so-interesting life. 

Three weeks later I headed back to TFC for RA training. It was good to be back. It was good to be in a familiar place with familiar faces. It was good to share food and stories from the summer. It was good to laugh. Geez, that seems like so long ago, yet it hasn’t even been full year. 

The semester started and everything kind of happened all at once. School and work and RA duties. The first day of classes was also my first day of work at Coffee By the Pound and my first RA meeting. We were in full swing! 

A couple of weeks passed and I got settled then the thoughts came. Thoughts of leaving TFC were all I didn’t want to think of. It just didn’t make sense to leave, none at all. I tried and tried to ignore the thoughts, thinking they would just go away after a while. They didn’t. After what seemed like months, I finally sat begin to consider leaving TFC. The questions: where would I go? would I be a college dropout? Would I leave the state? would I got back home?

None of those things happened. I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed some more. Then the excitement came. I saw possibilities, many possibilites. I felt like I could go anywhere and do anything. This excited me. 

I decided I would become a student of Liberty University online and move to Atlanta. 

Everyone was onboard—excited and even encouraged about the new move. Everyone except my dad. It made absolutely no sense to him. He seemed to be convinced that this would be the biggest mistake of my life haha. 

On December 15, 2012 I moved to Atlanta. I was excited. A little nervous, but mostly excited. The best thing about being in a new place is not knowing one. For some reason, the idea of breaking away from the ordinary and exploring new places and meeting new people, was extremely appealing to me. It was also the scariest, most uncertain thing I could imagine. There I was, in the city all lone. For the first couple of nights, I didn’t have a bed or a couch. The only people I knew were my roommates and they were busy. It was looking rough for a while there. Sleeping on the floor of my new room was only fun for one night. And not having a couch in the living room..well, that just sucked. I think I may have even prayed for the Lord to just give me couch to sit on in the day and a bed for sleeping at night. 

Furniture came and so did work and school and life. Things started to pick up. But I absolutely despised the ‘in between’ stage. The ‘in between’ stage is best described as leaving an old place and calling a new one home. The problem: Atlanta did not feel like home. I didn’t know anyone and I barely knew where anything was. I felt like I could easily be blown away if a huge enough wind were to come by. Me no like. 

However, things made a turn for the better. I started learning how to do my job and I got to better know the people I worked with. Like me, many of them enjoyed a good laugh more often than most people. I started serving at my church and attending a house church, a group of people who meet weekly to fellowship. I also stated to learn my way around the city! I no longer got lost on the way home from work or way to church. Things were as good as they had been with signs of only getting better. I was content…for a while. 

Then a little bit ago, I realized that I missed my friends more than anything. Someone mentioned the possibility of me returning to TFC, and I was game. Honestly, I was scared to pray about it because I so strongly felt that the Lord wanted me in Atlanta. But I did pray. And there just didn’t seem to be answers for a while. Then I felt a peace about it all. That’s probably the most difficult thing to feel, so I’ll leave you with the most cliche phrase ever…’I just knew’. 

One year ago, I didn’t know I would ever transfer out of TFC

3 months ago, I was leaving

3 months later and I’m heading back 

I’m sure there are some people who think I’m just a silly kid who has no idea what he wants. Those people may not be entirely wrong. 

what I do know:

I love Jesus

I love people..especially those close to me. Those who know me and allow me to know them. I often thank the Lord for the folks he has placed in my life. 

I believe that Jesus redeems, justifies and sanctifies— even the dirtiest of the dirty. 

I’m excited to go back to Toccoa. I hope to move there soon and work throughout the summer before stating classes in the Fall.