I was complimented by my instructor today. She expressed to me that I am a gifted writer. Coming from a college professor that I struggled with the entire course, this felt like the most amazing compliment ever. And, tonight, I have nothing to even begin to describe how in awe and amazingly thankful I am feeling. I feel like emotion is pouring out over the top of me, and I just can't even begin to describe why I should be allowed such an incredible few days. At a church function tonight, I was reminded how much growing I still have to do. Even with the leaps and bounds I am making, there is room for so much more.
I have about five different instances from the last few days where I have felt so overwhelmed. Funny thing is, one was purely a negative. The other four were totally positive. I read somewhere that it takes four positive things to outweigh the hurt/pain/frustration of one negative thing. Well, let me just say my four positive things far outweighed my one negative. Being that it occurred first, I am gonna talk about it, before showing how amazing God can take that one negative thing and turn it for good. :)
Thursday night, I received an e-mail from my instructor explaining that she never received my final paper. I turned it in at 10:52 on Monday night, with a little over an hour to spare (and for me, that is a lifetime!). I was blown away by the thought that it had never been turned in. Turns out, a different assignment got submitted twice. I don't know if it was a computer glitch or a user error, but she was going to let me turn it in, with a 30% reduction because of how late it was. She could have told me it was a zero and moved on. While I was thankful for the opportunity to turn it in, I was beyond stressed about what it was going to do to my GPA, scholarships and grants. In my almost panic attack state, I called a friend. I was kindly told to calm down and just email her. Explain my circumstances, let her check me out and realize this isn't something that has ever happened. Friday morning, I did just that. And, as of first thing this morning, hadn't heard back. I felt really silly, like I was groveling for her help, and that it was possible it wouldn't even do any good. However, I have been praying for 2 days for God's favor in the situation, as well as the assurance he had it all under control, even if I lost it all.
Friday, I packed the girls and I up to go camping. This was our first camping trip solo, and it really wasn't solo. We went with a group of people from church, and it was an amazing trip. Friday was a struggle, as it was a little difficult to get it all together and still have sanity. I was a little, no I was a lot, nervous about how the girls would do, whether or not they would behave, and how I would handle the stress. Let me just brag on my kiddos - they rocked. They are amazing. And, we will be camping again, hopefully soon. Anyway, I arrive at the site with the rest of the group, and within 30 seconds, have someone (a man, to be particular) offer his help. Not with the attitude of, you are a girl, and you are not capable, but please let me help you. It was incredibly difficult to admit that help wouldn't be a bad thing. And, my ice chest was fairly heavy. :) He then went on to help me get my tent set up, and did so without one single complaint. And, let me just say this: this man is in no way related to me, nor are we dating, nor did he have to help me. All of this totally blew my mind. Within a few minutes of the tent being up, another man offered help with mattresses. I had more men helping me through the night than I ever could have dreamed of. For someone who hasn't had the best experiences with men, let me just say, this beyond rocked my world. It took me forever to settle down that night, as I was so overwhelmed by their cheerfulness that I was there. No one ever made any negative comment about the extra burden I was putting on them, and even now, thinking about it makes me tear up. We canoed for quite a bit Saturday, and came back to the site tired. We had all been in the sun, and while no one complained, you could tell everyone was ready to be breaking down campsites and getting everything taken care of so we could be on our way home. I started to take apart my site, which I am quite capable of by the way, and was offered help by a few people. I really felt like I had used up all the help they could have possibly wanted to give, and told each of them I was good. I was getting stuff done inside the tent and realized that I had a crowd watching, waiting for me to accept their help. Not because I wasn't capable, but because they wanted to help. I delegated a few tasks, then I started to load up my car, only to return to a tent that had been fully broken down. This may not sound like much, but it hit me hard. Men are capable of helping without complaining about it. Men are capable of helping even when there will be no compensation from it. Men aren't all jerks. While I knew this stuff deep down, I haven't experienced it for so long. I cried. A lot. Even now, I want to sit down and cry. Not because I feel bad, but because allowing people in felt good. These walls don't have to be up all the time. Words just don't even do any of this justice. I know it sounds silly. It has just been something I have struggled with.
This morning, after fighting with Jessie all night, I got out of bed to go to church. Was sad and frustrated by the same clothes I have had for years hanging in my closet. However, gratitude crept in, because I realized the oldest were only a few years old, and they were all wearable, also reminding myself fall would be here soon, and with it, clothes I haven't worn in a while. I realized how blessed I was by several pairs of jeans, reliable shirts, and few newer dresses that I bought at Easter. I remember talking to God while I was getting dressed, more out of silliness than out of seriousness. My prayer was that while I was thankful, a few new things would be incredible. I went to church, not thrilled with what I had on, but it was clothes. :) Survived church with a cranky (although quieter than her 7-year-old big sister) 2-year-old who wouldn't stay in the nursery, only to be pulled aside after service. I'm gonna go on a side note here, because the way God works sometimes just throws me.
Side note: During my connect group, I shared with the group the concept of the "it" girl. You know, the one who has it all together. Cute hair, cute clothes, cute kids, cute shoes, just all of it. An amazing heart, a Godly husband who leads, and not afraid to obey wherever God tells her to go. Yeah, I named someone who fit that description in my head. I told the group who my "it" girl was. The lady that I wanted to be when I grew up. And, she totally fits the criteria. She is an amazing mighty woman of God.
Anyway, back to my story, my "it" girl walked up to me and asked if I would want any of her clothes. She said she had quite a bit of stuff still with tags on that she felt I needed, and would I be willing to take them? First, I wanted to cry and run away. Then, I almost laughed. God placed the exact woman who is so incredibly beautiful and "together" in a situation where I was going to receive part of her wardrobe??? God has a sense of humor. I accepted her help, knowing that God had heard me. He heard something that was bothering me, and had just the remedy to fix it. As she told me later, how can someone refuse the answer to their prayer? Well, let me just say, she brought me that bag of clothes tonight. And, words cannot even say how much of a blessing I received. I am so thankful that my pride didn't get in my way, and so thankful that God worked in both of us today. It took God to urge her to give, and it took God to help me receive. These were clothes I am sure she could've worn. My emotions are just about all spent. I have honestly never been so thankful in my life. When I get it all together and hung up, my closet will be my happy place. :)
Lastly, I received a course notification grade in my email today. I was slightly nervous, because I wasn't sure what it was going to be. It was one of those moments when my life would either remain blessed, or it would be a little more difficult. When I opened the grade, I was stunned to realize it was a 97%. While I won't reveal all the contents of the feedback and message back, I will say this. I almost walked away. I almost didn't fight. I almost said, forget it, it isn't worth the trouble and stress. One person reminded me how long and how hard my journey had been, and that to walk away would be throwing all of that away. When I decided to write that email, it was because one person told me to. This is another one of those moments when I know I didn't deserve the credit for my grade. If it had been me and me alone, I would've received a 67%. That, my friends, is an F. Between encouragement, a little bit of pushing, and a lot of prayer, what I expected to be bad, was really for good.
I will not say I have everything figured out. However, I will say this, learning to accept another's kindness isn't about not being capable, or being a failure. It's about accepting help. No one person can do life alone. We were all put here to love others, help them through difficult moments and do life together. And, funny thing is, I am in a single state. I should be alone. And I'm not. My circle may be small, but it is composed of more than just me. I am not alone. And I am so overwhelmed with thankfulness tonight.
I watched Sara try on one outfit after another this morning. She was thoroughly just enjoying being a girl, and putting new outfits together, seeing how each one fit. This Momma is pretty ready to go do the same exact thing... :)