Hello friends! I am writing this blog from my friend’s apartment in Columbia, South Carolina, where I have been spending quite a bit of time recently. The past two weeks I’ve visited the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina for work, but made sure to make some time for my friends who live here too. An unexpected two-day flight delay has kept me here even longer, and I have learned so much, yet again, from this trip.
College of Charleston
I spent last week in Charleston, SC, which easily became one of my new favorite places in the US. Charleston is a historic city where old, colorful homes line the cobblestone streets. Horse-drawn carriages battle cars for the roads and unique restaurants fill the town with their delicious aromas.
Many students attend the College of Charleston for the city of Charleston, or so my new friends told me. I would’t blame them! It was an incredible city. And along with this great city came a great Chi Omega chapter. These women were from all over the country, mostly the Northeast, looking for a more favorable climate for college. With their variety in background came a variety in personality. One leader was fashionable, bold, and gentle in nature. Another was the savviest Google Doc user I’d ever met with the ability to sing bird calls. Another was an outgoing, bubbly leader who doesn’t shy away from serving others in any way she can. I could go on and on about the beautiful differences in these leaders and how it made them shine. The one word I would use to describe all of the women in this chapter though is PASSIONATE.
These girls have passion and empower one another to use their passions to serve others. It was the most beautiful thing to witness. The president was passionate about helping out another group with a backpack drive, and instead of providing just one or two bags, the girls contributed over 20 bags to help them out. Another group of gals were passionate about sustainability, so they put on a tag sale that raised over $2,000 for Make-A-Wish. I could go on and on about all these women are passionate about, but what stood out to me the most was how they were all doing something to pursue those passions.
I am so thankful that Chi Omega provides an outlet for encouragement. That it is a place where women feel strong and strengthened to pursue their passions. My hope is that each chapter is filled with women who have big dreams and that Chi Omega gives them relationships that push them to make those dreams reality. Zeta Gamma, you left me encouraged to pursue my passions and not be afraid to dream big and unashamedly be myself.
University of South Carolina
My time in Columbia, SC was unlike anything I could have expected. I came down to Columbia before my visit to spend a few days with one of my best friends from TCU, Kat. Kat and I had the best weekend spending time with her amazing roomies, watching the National Championships (Go Cocks), taking long walks, and sharing great life chats. One of my best friends from work, Div, also got to drive up from Statesboro, GA and join us for Saturday’s festivities! I LOVE it when worlds collide, and I was beyond thankful that Div and Kat got to become friends. It was a sunshine-filled, joyous weekend that I am so grateful for.
My visit to the USC Eta Gamma Chapter though started out stormy. The weather has been crazy and unpredictable this week. I spent two days of my visit essentially in my hotel room due to the strong storms, potential tornados, and flash floods. Having my meetings over phone calls was definitely a little different.
Working with these members, when I got to finally meet with them in-person, was a tremendous pleasure. They were all ready to work hard and be open and honest. I was sent here when I was for a reason, I fully believe that. We had so many great, open-hearted conversations about what’s really going on and how they’re feeling about being leaders in a chapter of nearly 400 women. That’s not easy! It takes much bravery and courage to lead so many people and make decisions that may not go as planned.
I am grateful I was there to comfort and encourage. Sometimes we just need someone to come in and listen to us. And that’s a lot of what I do and see my purpose in this role–just being a good listener and letting our women know they are heard. I am so proud of this team’s perseverance and patience in the midst of a hectic week, and I came away recognizing again the importance of listening well and speaking with integrity and thought.
He knows what we need
Like I said earlier, this week has looked different for me with the crazy storms hitting the Southeast part of the country. Two of my days were spent in my hotel, resting and working from my room. Yes, this was an inconvenience in some ways, but why would I stop to view it as an inconvenience when I could see it as a gift?
Yesterday, I found out my flight back to Texas was cancelled. After talking to our Chi Omega travel agent, we discovered that the next available flight is Sunday morning, extending my trip to South Carolina by another two days. At first, of course, I was caught off guard and frustrated, but more quickly than ever before though, I found peace. Peace knowing that God is in control and is purposing this delay for a reason. In the same way he gave me the rain this week for more time to rest and work, he is giving me more days in South Carolina for a reason.
Earlier this week, I listened to my sermon from church I missed being out of town. It was about suffering and faith and it prepared me for this current trial:
Suffering is a gift. Your tears are a gift to you. That season of loneliness is a gift to you from God. ~Jim Essian
Six months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to so quickly believe that God was good when things went wrong. I would be frustrated and mad and upset about these inconveniences. I fully believe that because of the ways I have suffered this year, specifically the seasons of loneliness I have found myself in, God has drawn me closer to Him than ever before and I more quickly believe that He is good and He is in control. I can see the seasons of hardship as gifts. I can view my changes of plans with excitement, knowing that God has it happening with purpose. He has me where I am, when I am with reason, and I am so grateful for what my time in South Carolina has taught me.