In less than 3 weeks, I will move to the mountains in western Pennsylvania and start a life unlike one I’ve lived before.
I’m leaving behind a lot of things. I’m no longer down the road from the most important people in my life at my favorite university. My bathroom sink is no longer to the right of my little sisters, my home is no longer shared with my family. For the first time in my life, I won’t be taking tests and writing papers, I won’t spend my days surrounded by multitudes of peers. The traffic and the highways and the constant movement of the Northern Virginia suburbs will be a stark contrast to the small town life I’m walking into. In 3 weeks, my life will become over five hundred acres of mountains. My life will become cabins in the woods and chacos worn to the office and a desk in a room of a handful of strangers who will share this everyday life with me. My life will become ropes courses and boats on lakes and a whole lot of Jesus.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified. I’m overwhelmed, I’m scared, and I am not ready for my whole life to change. But while I may be all these things, I’m also at peace. Because I know that what lies ahead for me is more than I can picture now. While this change brings so many unknowns, it also brings me comfort because I know those who support me will continue to stand by me. That I may not be down the street from my best friends or down the stairs from my siblings, but the 319 miles between me and so many who love me will seem to be so very little.
A year ago, the light inside me was gone. I didn’t want to continue in my major, I didn’t even want to go back to school. I couldn’t see far past the loneliness, anxiousness, and confusion I felt every single day. A year ago, I never expected I would be where I am today, following my heart into the beautifully terrifying unknown.
While I’m scared today, it’s a better kind of scared. It’s a scared that knows that there’s a plan for me out there, that knows I will be filled by so much more than I ever was here. While I’m thankful for the life I’ve led up to this point, I know there’s so much ahead. That when I drive north, I’m not leaving anything in my past except for what belongs there: the heartbreaks, the tears, the people that tried so hard to hold me down. I will be moving forward and I refuse to look back, because the loves and the joys and the lights of my life will be beside me.
I’m “just” an intern. I’m “just” figuring out my way. I’m “just” a girl at a Jesus camp in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania.
But that “just” becomes irrelevant because that “just” is saying that I shouldn’t be proud. I am proud. I’m proud that this is the first step to me finding a lifelong career in leadership development and in love for the Lord. I’m proud that I have so much of my life ahead of me to pursue every single one of my dreams. I’m proud that I’m a girl at a Jesus camp in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. It doesn’t matter how far away I may be or how different my life may feel. I know that the people that love me would drive forever to watch me begin to change the world here. I know that when the Lord looks at me, He doesn’t see a “just.” He sees a world of possibilities and a whole lot of courage. I know that when my little sister, when my best friends look at me, they don’t see a “just.” They see a girl who will inspire so many in the year ahead. That when they look at me, they don’t see how scared and overwhelmed I am, but how this life was made for me. How I was made to spread Jesus’ love amongst spruce trees, how I was made to help others find their potential 50 feet in the air, dangling from a wire. I know that when those who love me look at me, they see that my entire life was leading me here, to this very place in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. I know that while my life is headed into uncharted territory, I have no reason to fear because those I can count on will always be there.
I may be just a girl who chose to forego grad school and a job with a salary to spend a year wearing flannels and climbing trees and traveling to get young kids to want to come to summer camp. I may be just a girl who chose to pack up her boxes like she was off to college again, preparing for a twin bed and a shared home with people she’s never met. I may be just a girl who chose to be called a “crazy camp counselor” over a fancy job title that holds prestige and power.
I may be just a girl at a Jesus camp in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. But I could not be more sure that this girl, at this Jesus camp, in these mountains in Pennsylvania, is exactly who I am supposed to be.