This post is about light in the darkness. Yes, it is about my visits to Texas State and the University of Texas, but on those visits I saw light, perseverance, and hope shining through dark spaces like never before.

Texas State

I absolutely loved visiting the women at Texas State. They were all so respectful, engaging, and hard-working. I had great conversations with them discussing new ideas for their chapter and how they can always be improving. We shared stories and experiences and talked about how we can love our members here best.

Then something happened on my second day of my visit…it flooded. Like hard core flooded. Like people were wake boarding in the street flooded. Like we had to rip out the floors of the chapter house flooded.

Now, this flooding could have thrown a huge dip in my visit plans. It could have left the members feeling discouraged and down. But it didn’t. They refused to be discouraged in the midst of hardship and inconvenience! They chose to find joy in a hard situation and adapted to make the meetings work.

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As a Chi Omega family, we walk together through whatever is going on-good or bad, floods or dry seasons. That week I got to walk through a tough situation with these women as we met to discuss how we can make their chapter stronger. Alpha Zeta, I am encouraged by your positive attitudes, love for Chi Omega, and desire to always be growing. Thank you for an incredible week that flooded me with happiness!

University of Texas

So my visit to UT was scheduled for the week of April 17. But, at the beginning of April, I found out there was a trip to Coastal Carolina that I needed to go on that week for marketing. So, I called up the UT president, Meg, and asked if she wouldn’t mind moving my visit to the following week. I felt awful that I had to ask her to move the trip, but man did God know what He was doing.

Because if I had gone on my visit to UT the week of April 17, I would have been there the night we lost a beloved member of our Chi Omega family at the University of Texas, Nancy-Jane David.

And, instead, I was able to go the following week with the sole purpose of comforting and supporting our girls through this terrible tragedy.

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See, sometimes we don’t know the purpose behind our sufferings. We don’t know why tragic things happen in our lives. Then, other times, a glimpse of purpose shines through the darkness and we can comfort others through what we have endured ourselves. Last week, at the University of Texas, I was able to see a bit of that purpose.

A little over a year ago, we lost a remarkable member of my chapter at TCU to cancer. Taylor Helland was the brightest light I’ve ever known. Her faith, positivity, hope, and gratitude was unwavering through all of her trials. Taylor left a mark on my life forever. She inspires me to Choose Joy every day even though she is no longer with me.

And a year later, I am chosen to visit UT where they have just lost a member of their chapter. I am given a space and a group of women I can share my story with. I can walk with them through their grief having been through it myself. Because of my loss last year, I could love these women better through their loss last week. God’s hand is so evident in the timing of all of this, and I’m learning that suffering and loss have different purposes for our lives at different times.

See last year, losing Taylor led me to accept this job as a National Consultant at the thought of being able to share her story with women across the country. And last week, I was able to do just that to comfort and support women going through a loss themselves.

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Let me just say how PROUD and ENCOURAGED I am by these women. Their unconditional love and support of one another during this difficult time is inspiring. They have come together and are walking through this grief as a family. They are providing counseling and support for their members. They are thinking of ways they can carry on NJ’s legacy. They refuse to be without hope. They are vulnerable with one another. They are not pretending to be okay when they’re not. They are an inspiration to me and a deep encouragement that there is hope in the darkness. There is light. NJ was a tremendous light to Iota, and her light is being carried on.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

Darkness will not have the final say. These women are ALL embodiments of light, love, and hope. They are pushing one another toward it each day, and they push me to believe in it too. And I get to call these outstanding women my sisters. How blessed could I be.

I think the words that another friend from Iota bravely shared through her own blog sums up greatly all I could say:

But in the midst of it all, there is light. It can pierce the all-encompassing darkness and break it of the power it has. This light is unlike any other light. It provides hope for the hopeless and peace for the broken-hearted. What is this marvelous light? It is the hope that comes from the cross, the hope that we have to cling to in the midst of all this grief. It is knowing that we have a Father, who dearly loves all his people so much so that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place.

Brooke Barfield

https://ourfriendnj.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/in-loving-memory-of-sweet-nancy-jane/

Thank you, Iota, for showing me what it looks like to lean into love in the midst of tragedy. Thank you for letting me share a piece of me with you. Thank you for letting me into your hurt and pain. Thank you for reminding me of the unwavering hope I have in Christ in the midst of an ever-changing world. I love each and every one of you and am unspeakably proud of your lights that are shining through the darkness.

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