Letting Go

Today, a chapter in my life closed. Today, I accepted the freedom Christ offers me each day by trusting him. Today, on Easter Sunday, I looked to the empty tomb and rejoiced in my risen King who loves me deeper than I will ever understand.

See today, I saw someone for the first time in a while. I saw someone who had broken my heart. Someone whom I loved and cared for deeply. Someone I was worried about.

In my season of broken-heartedness, I knew God was close to me, I mean it even says so in his word:

Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there. ~Psalm 34:17-18

But I couldn’t feel it. I wasn’t “feeling” any better. I was still crying, still longing for love, still demanding an explanation for my pain and loneliness. I felt like I was reaching for God but missing each time. My heart didn’t feel like it was healing but rather that it was opening itself up to more pain. Really, I know now, that my heart was being transformed and changed into a heart that wants more of Jesus and less of this world.

One day, I had a conversation with a friend who asked me if I had given control of him to Jesus. If I trusted Jesus with him. I loved and cared for this person, had made him an idol in my life, and would not let God have control.

Rather than to continue to grasp for control and demand answers from God, I began to pray for him and to pray that God would have him and that I would trust God. Knowing how God was rescuing me, I could trust that he was rescuing him too. But deep down, I don’t think I fully believed that. At least, not until this morning.

You see, sometimes I don’t believe God is listening to me when I pray, or that he even answers some prayers. And then there are times like this morning when you see God answer prayers instantly and it knocks the truth of his faithfulness right back into you.

It’s Easter Sunday. So naturally I was praying that my someone would be at church this morning. Not so I could see or speak to him. But so that I could see him drawing near to God again, that I could see evidence of God’s unending love moving in him. I bowed my head, closed my eyes, prayed for him, and when I looked up, he was in the front row.

So here’s the thing…

God is ALWAYS listening to our prayers, always crafting the perfect response in His perfect timing.

He IS near,

He IS moving,

He CAN be trusted.

Today, this chapter of my life closed. I no longer desired control or answers, but was overwhelmed by peace. My heart has changed, I no longer want the same things I used to. God was saying to me, “Look Mere, I’ve got him, I’ve been listening to you, I’ve been moving, I won’t let him go, but YOU can.”

So I did. And I am. I thought I had closed this chapter a few weeks ago, but until we fully sacrifice something, whether it be a job, relationship, or really anything, can we really move forward?

God wants to free us from ourselves, and there’s nothing like suffering to show us that we need something bigger than our abilities and our strength and our explanations. There’s nothing like suffering to remind us how not in control we actually are, how little power we ultimately have, and how much we ultimately need God.

~Tullian Tchividjian

So here’s a shout out to God for answering my prayer instantly this morning to reassure me that I can give up control. That I can trust him. That I can leave this chapter behind and look to what comes next. He indeed rescued me from my heartbreak, and He will rescue you from yours. He strips us of our idols to lead us back to the throne of grace. He is risen, He is here, and He is worthy of our praise.

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College of Charleston & USC

College of Charleston & USC

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Words

Words are a gift. The ability to write them, say them, read them. Recently, I have been greatly impacted for good by the words in my life. Whether that is a word of encouragement from a friend, a catchy song, or the words of Scripture-words are shaping who I am becoming.

And I believe we all are shaped by the words in our lives more than we realize. The words I choose to listen to or not listen to, to read or not to read, to surround myself with or not, those all impact how I think and how I speak.

Say only what helps, each word a gift. ~Ephesians 4:29

Each word is a gift. A precious gift that we can either give or receive. What if we really took time to recognize our words as gifts? As an opportunity to give something beautiful to another person?

When I actively listen to words being spoken to me, and do not anticipate what I am going to say before I fully listen, I find that they take deeper root in my heart. The words from another hit my ears and travel down to my heart, giving me space to process them. Then with careful thought, I want to take time to develop a response that uplifts, encourages, and reassures them.

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. ~Colossians 4:6

Every word spoken is an opportunity to make an impact. Our words have much more power than we realize.

The words that shape my thoughts also have significant impact on how I vieImage-1-1w myself and the world around me. When I choose to be self-critical and over think every decision I make, I feel awful about myself and do not think others should think much of me. But, when I choose to fill my mind with God’s promises and replace that negative self-talk with truth, my confidence shines because I know where my true value lies. Over and over again I find myself repeating God loves me very much and has placed His hand on me for something special, and I believe that truth reigns true for each and every one of us.

 

Reminding myself of the other gifts in my life through words also helps me remember God’s promises and provision for my life. Whether it is a list of gifts or filling days in my planner with how I saw God move, I need constant reminders through words of God’s goodness. My feelings are so fleeting – one moment, I could feel like God is present and working, and the next, I may not. I need words of truth and evidence of how God shows me His love during my days.

Another way words have impacted me recently is through song. Beautiful, honest lyrics fill my mind and shape my thoughts into prayers. The tune and rhythm of song gets lyrics stuck in my head so easily, and when those lyrics are life-giving, encouraging words of truth, my head and heart are filled with goodness. Musicians have a gift of crafting words to songs that give us joy. Fill your head with lyrics of life.

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My words in how I speak to The Lord too are such a gift. The fact that I have a good Father who wants to listen to me and answer my prayers is such a gift. That He would listen to the words I have to say. I want to take more advantage of such a blessing. He cares about every word that leaves my mouth.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~John 1:1

Finally, the Word is a gift. We have a source where we are able to read God’s words and see evidence of His power over generations and generations. We have words that will ground us in the truth about our lives. These words are our source of life. What a gift! What a gift that we have the ability to read words of comfort, love, and hope that will never change.

Thanksgiving is our dialect. ~Ephesians 5:4

In all of this, my prayer is that Thanksgiving becomes my dialect. I want words of praise and gift-giving and God’s provision to shape how I speak. I want Him to be glorified in my words. I want my words to positively impact others. I want to be more mindful of how I speak. My hope is that we all take a moment to think about how the words we choose affect our thoughts, our work, our perspective, and our relationships. Words are precious, and the ones we choose to listen to, read, and speak shape our thoughts and actions and impact.

Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.

~Proverbs 18:20-21

 

 

OU & Oklahoma State

OU & Oklahoma State

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of returning to two of my chapters I visited in the Fall: Oklahoma State and the University of Oklahoma. What a gift it was getting to visit these gals again that I already got to know in the fall. It felt like coming home all over again.

To be honest though, this last trip started rough for me. Coming off Louisiana I was sick the week I was home between my two adventures, so it was not very restful. I was so worried that I wasn’t going to be able to give my girls my 100% on my trips because I wasn’t feeling well. But here’s the thing, if there’s one thing I’ve learned thus far in 2017 it is to admit when I am not 100%–physically, emotionally, or spiritually. And that’s just a part of being a human. So I told my girls straight up-hey, I’m sick right now, so if I’m snotting all over the place and acting a little different, just forgive me. And they did, and they were so great, and so understanding. I am grateful for friends who will share the realities of imperfection with each other. We will not be 100% all the time, and I want to be known for being able to own that rather than deny and pretend to be perfect when I’m not.

Be grateful for all you are and all that you’re becoming. 

Oklahoma State

Arriving back at OSU was the best feeling. In August, I lived in the Chi O house with our girls for two weeks during recruitment, so I got to know nearly every girl in the chapter. So, when I arrived last week, I walked into the dining hall, started eating lunch, and picked right back up where I had left off. It did not feel like eight months had passed since I’d last been there. I loved being greeted with, “Tranky Trank is back!!” and other happy feels of being back in a place so familiar to me.

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These OSU gals are some of the most dedicated, caring, hard-working women I’ve ever met. They strive to be the best in each aspect of their lives: family, school, clubs, leadership, all of it. We had some awesome conversations about how being so high-achieving is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they are accomplishing amazing things, but when they are stretched so thin, it is hard to prioritize taking care of themselves. We talked about debunking the myth that we have to be perfect all the time in all we do, and we discussed how to inspire the rest of the members to believe the same. We want to cultivate a culture of comfort so that we can be our best, real selves in all we do. I am so stinking proud of these girls. They are world-changers.

IMG_4578Another moment that was precious to me was time spent with my girl Dana. Dana and I connected right off the bat when I came to OSU in August, and we have stayed close ever since. We got to share ice cream one night and just real talk about what has been going on in our lives. Neither one of us have had the easiest years thus far, so it was such a gift to connect with her and pour into each other. It was a moment where I was able to see the suffering and trials in my life for good–to see how God was preparing me and teaching me so I could then teach Dana. It was a time of encouragement and reassurance, and it was beautiful. My entire time at OSU left me feeling encouraged and reassured as to why I do what I do–these relationships are so precious to me and I won’t be surprised if I am at OSU again just to love on my humans there. Thank y’all for always loving me so well.

OU

My week at OU was such a special one, because I got to share it with my best friend/role model/mentor/director Lacey. We rarely get to travel with co-workers with my job, so this was a real treat that we were getting to do this visit together. I am just so blessed that my job gives me these remarkable women to do life and work with.

These leaders at OU care deeply about their women and the betterment of Chi Omega. I was so encouraged by their genuine desire to see their gals reach their fullest potential and how they wanted to do whatever they could in order to help Chi Omega be this source of growth and inspiration for their members. Lacey, the leaders, and I worked hard this week to uncover how we could make this experience in Chi Omega the best for their members. I am so proud of them for wanting the very best and for being willing to work hard to reach that best.

This visit had moments for me when I was not feeling the most confident in myself for a few reasons. Again, this idea of not being 100% was permeating my visit. And it was okay to admit that. Lacey is such a great friend and reminded me that sometimes we have off days and we have all felt this way before in one way or another. God kept reminding me to lean on Him in each moment, every day, because ultimately, He is the provider of my strength and confidence and ability to do my job well.

I shared some incredible conversations over meals at OU, talking about how we all want to keep growing. I deliriously laughed with my girl Lacey over and over again. I felt so loved and cared for by Mom Martha and the advisors. I got to see an old friend from TCU and her precious poodle. I was able to share breakfast with my little’s boyfriend who embodies for me what loving and pursuing a woman in a godly manner looks like. As always, my relationships are what give me life, and I’m so grateful I was able to cultivate my precious relationships at OU this week.

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Boomer Sooner, Go Pokes, but, most importantly, Go Frogs.

Thanks, Oklahoma, for the best of times and the best of friends.

Nashville

Nashville

Goodness gracious, Nashville. I am in LOVE. I am predicting I will move here, as many of my friends have already predicted for me, so get ready world, I am putting this out now.

This past weekend I got to spent time in Nashville celebrating my girl KJ and visiting Vanderbilt for a potential grad school option.

Nashville is known for being the #1 Bachelorette hot spot in the US and now I know why. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun in three days before in my entire life. We ate and drank and danced and laughed our way through downtown Nashville like it’s no one’s business. We befriended our pub crawl guide Tanner and stayed at our friend Karen’s house. Our bachelorette, KJ, rode a mechanical bull and sang “Like A Virgin” at a karaoke bar. We did not go to sleep before 3:30 am either night and we had 1300 second-long snapchats to re-live it all.

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Moment of huge gratitude here: find yourself some best friends who invite you to rockin girls’ weekends like this–they are game changers.

The best part of the weekend was the new friends I made once again. I know KJ from consulting, and a few of us consulting gals got to spend this weekend with her, but rProcessed with VSCO with c1 preseteally what was so special was meeting the friends who have known KJ for way longer than I have and getting to hear stories about her from another time of her life. It is the greatest when friends collide. I left this weekend with new experiences and new friends–double win.

If you are checking out Nashville for a potential weekend of fun, here are some things we did that I would 100% recommend:

  1. Go out on Broadway Ave: random men will serenade you and you will dance the night away. When you get kicked out of the bars at 2 AM, not to fear, there is WannaB’s Karaoke Bar down the street to host your singing fantasies until 3 AM.
  2. Eat at Biscuit Love: even if it means standing in line for over an hour. Those biscuits will change your life.
  3. Go on the Music City Pub Crawl: request Tanner as your guide, he will lead you in trivia games and tell you the best deals at each bar. Also included is a pink camo coozie and live music.
  4. Walk around and explore 12 South: you may run into old friends on the street and you will be the ultimate tourist and take a picture with the “I Believe In Nashville” sign.

Leaving this trip more thankful than ever for fun memories and new cities. If there’s one thing God is just re-teaching me over and over again it is that my people are so much more precious to me than my things, and sharing experiences like this is what makes my life meaningful. Get out there and live life with your people y’all. Shout out to team #TurnBrownForWhat for the best Bach ever.

 

Tulane, McNeese State, LSU

Tulane, McNeese State, LSU

Sitting in the New Orleans airport waiting out a flight delay, and am excited and ready to share all that I experienced and learned from my first annual visit set of 2017! I’ve spent the last 10 days in the great state of Louisiana, where I have met some incredible women and eaten some great food. Man, it has been so good!

Tulane

My time with the members of Tulane was the greatest way to kick off my semester of travel. These girls are smart, passionate, driven, authentic women who love and lead Chi Omega well. I kept telling the gals throughout the week that they just “get it.” These girls understand that Chi Omega is about support and care and providing encouragement when people are passionate about something or when they need help. The idea of being encouraged forever really struck a chord with them. So much so that Tulane Chi Omega has made it their theme for this next year! I thought that was the coolest idea.

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There were a few moments in particular throughout the week that stood out to me. During our leadership workshop, the gals were sharing some incredible thoughts about how they wanted their chapter to grow. One member shared the thought that Chi Omega will never stop giving back to you. And I LOVED that. It is so true. No matter how we may treat Chi Omega, it will never stop giving to us whether that is through friendship or opportunity or support, it will always be there for our members. I am so inspired by their love for Chi Omega and their recognition of the impact it has had on their lives.

I am also thankful I got to spend some time in New Orleans and stay at the Columns Hotel. It was such a treat getting to stay in such a historic hotel right on St. Charles! My new friends also showed me around and took care of my New Orleans food experience. From touristy Cafe Du Monde to the local St. James cheese store, they treated me so well. I had so many great meals during my time there, but two meals stood out to me. On Valentine’s Day, three gals and I went downtown to a fancy seafood restaurant and had a GREAT time. It was us amongst all of these couples, but I was so glad to get to spend my day with these girls. I also had a blast with the advisors and could not stop laughing during my time with them. It was clear they were all such good friends, which is so encouraging to see.

There was one night where I got to enjoy some live music in the hotel as I worked one evening. The man singing asked me, Who would send someone to New Orleans to work during Carnival season?? Little did he know that indeed I sent myself here during this season on purpose. The girls also surprised me with a King Cake for our last meeting, which was so incredibly thoughtful of them! It was my first one and I got the piece with the baby in it! Maybe I’ll need to send them one now…

Overall, I am so thankful to have begun my visits for the semester with Rho. These women understand the meaning of Chi Omega and how impactful the relationships are that we make in this organization. I find myself more than ever referring to my job with Chi Omega as a gift. It truly is–Chi Omega never stops giving to me no matter what it is that I am doing. Every conversation matters in my work and I love each opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. I am so encouraged from them. These girls genuinely love Chi Omega and all it provides.

McNeese State

We had some rainy weather driving out of New Orleans, but we made it safely to my next destination–McNeese State! McNeese and Tulane are very different schools in very different cities. I enjoy the challenge that my job can bring me sometimes in those ways. Lake Charles is a smaller city, with the most friendly people, who deeProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetply care for their community.

My time at McNeese was fairly short, but even still, I left feeling very loved and encouraged. One of their advisors, Ms. Robbie, gives the BEST hugs. They will change the course of your whole day I swear! Another member came up to me after my presentation telling me that what I was doing was meaningful and that I was exactly where I should be. That encouragement meant a lot to me after a long weekend of meetings.

 

I appreciated the sweetness and sincerity of these gals. They were always wanting to do what was right and do it the right way. Most of these women have been in or around Lake Charles their whole lives, so it was beautiful to see these women so heavily invested in their community and their chapter. Their love and deep care for their members shown in their intentionality, and I am glad I got to experience it. I am so proud of this team already and am excited to watch them grow and carry on the strong legacy of this chapter.

LSU

Last, but not least, I headed over to Baton Rouge to visit the one and only, LSU. And these gals were amazing! Never have I felt more welcomed at a chapter before in my life. They wrote me a big card and individual cards, made me a basket with goodies inside, AND painted me a banner, A BANNER. I will never get over the banner. These girls go above and beyond the call of duty.

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While I was at LSU, I shared some meaningful conversations and moments. I got to see the Panhellenic Delegate put on an outstanding King Cake with Chi O event. I got to get coffee with a member and talk about how we can better love one another. I got to witness them support and walk with a member who was going through something unspeakably hard that week.  I love being able to tell these women how proud I am of them in the big and small things. The connections I have with these gals also always blows my mind–like when two gals at TCU who I led as a Recruitment Counselor are best friends with the Recruitment Chair at LSU?? I love connecting and sharing lives-the world really is a small place y’all. It was a blessing to get to work with such an outstanding chapter. All three of these chapters are doing so much good.

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Something that I took away from all three of these chapters was the impact advisors have on our members. And on me. It is so reassuring to hear an advisor listen to me and tell me “Mere, this stage of life is tough. You WILL get through it though, and you have so much time. Take this time to learn about yourself and grow.” These women do incredible things and care about their chapters so deeply. They are rocking full-time jobs and families and community involvement and advising like it’s nobody’s business. I hope to mentor and love college ladies like these advisors do. God knows how much mine have meant to me.

To close out this longer post, I want to share a moment this morning that gave me chills. I visited a friend from school in New Orleans after wrapping up my work trips, so I could have some Mardi Gras fun. In my friend’s room is a sign that reads Wherever you are, be all thereThis morning, I woke up to a daily text I receive from this awesome website called Shine, and it read Today, wherever you are, be all there. Naturally, I ran into my friend’s room screaming because it was crazy to me that that quote was in her room and that I got a text with the exact same quote in it while being there.

Not only does this remind me of God’s presence in my life, that he orchestrates moments like this for me to remember that he is HERE, but it was a screaming reminder of this truth for me, too. That I do need to be all there in the moments I am in. I am sick of being distracted by my phone or worries in my head. I know I will enjoy life to the full if I give my all in every moment I am in.

I am ending my adventures in Louisiana more thankful than ever. More reassured of God’s presence. More confident that this job is exactly what I should be doing. I’m leaving it with new friends and a new determination to be all there, wherever I am.

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Encouraged Forever

Encouraged Forever

This past weekend, Chi Omega hosted its bi-annual Firesides weekend in Memphis, where we invite the chapter presidents, advisors, and another member of the executive board into town for a weekend of learning, connection, and growth.

Coming into this weekend, I was selfishly so excited simply because I was going to be with many of my best friends. Having virtual relationships with your co-workers and best friends can be tiring at times, and I was ready to get some big hugs and share some big laughs in person.

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The weekend was so life-giving, and I am so proud to work for an organization that does not shy away from talking about the hard stuff-the real stuff.

Our focus this weekend was on mental health and wellness, which is so scary to talk about. In a world inundated with the need to be perfect all of the time, we spent the weekend encouraging our women to not shy away from their imperfections. To admit when things are hard or when they are struggling. And to inspire their members to do the same.

Chi Omega is not here to make our members perfect or to provide perfect programs or perfect houses or anything like that. Rather, we are here to make our women feel known and loved in a  safe place where they can then grow into the best versions of themselves. Not the perfect versions, but the best, real versioimg_4387ns of themselves. I am so grateful to be a part of an organization that cares about our women in an authentic way, and wants them to know that it is okay to not be okay.

Personally, it’s pretty ironic that this weekend was about self-care and mental health, because I had been facing some hardships and sadness coming into the weekend. Our messaging reminded me that I am blessed to be surrounded by women who love me exactly where I am at and will walk with me through whatever it is. They are strong for me when I am weak, and they love me when I feel unlovable. I was reminded of that truth this weekend.

Rather than run from the inevitability of life’s tragedies, we are invited to face them, head-on, with hope. We can even begin to call things what they are–rather than what we wish them to be. ~Tullian Tchividjian

Our keynote speaker this weekend was a man named Dennis Gillan, a mental health motivational speaker, who has been through multiple tragedies in his own life. Instead of choosing to be defeated, he has used his suffering for good, and now travels speaking to groups of people across the country who need to hear his message.

Dennis took our Chi Omega Symphony and made me think about it in a way I never had before. In our Symphony, it reads to be womanly always, to be discouraged never. And Dennis urged us to flip that last thought and instead, think of being encouraged forever

Due to my relationships in Chi Omega, I truly am, encouraged forever. Our leaders have the purest intentions and the biggest hearts for each and every one of our 300,000 members. From the National President to the freshman new member, I am consistently inspired by what we are doing and how our women support one another. I am encouraged forever by the fact that Chi Omega never asks me to be someone that I am not. We want our women to come as they are, and we promise to love them, no matter where they are at.

Here’s to every Chi Omega woman who leaves me encouraged, forever.

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