March 21, 2013

Enjoy It

Something happened a while back ago that made me stop and think about something that used to occupy my mind a lot.

My dad and little sister were discussing a decision that had to be made, and my dad told her "I'll make it for you, I'll be your excuse." And I jokingly-but-not-so-jokingly said "Ha! Enjoy that while you can!"

Because I heard recently, for the very first time, my dad say to me "Kelley, I will not make these decisions for you, you're 20 years old and you have to do it."

Now, before you go thinking I never do anything on my own, I'll tell you I've made some pretty huge decisions in my life. I've always sought my parents counsel, I've prayed long and hard, but there have been at least a couple of pretty major decisions that I've had to have the final say on, and so far I believe with my whole heart I've done the right thing.

But the thing is, as we grow, there are always mistakes. If you're a Christian and you truly seek the Lord's will, most of the really huge choices in life will be made with Him in mind and will hopefully be right. The small-ER mistakes - in this situation - are the ones that haunt us. The mean word, the bitter tone, the dwelling on something ugly. Mistakes like those are the reasons that big decisions terrify me.

I enjoyed being a teen, I really, really did. If I had to chose a favorite age, I would without a doubt say the summer I was seventeen. Seventeen is kind of that forgotten age. You have sweet sixteen and then the big one-eight, but seventeen is just kind of thrown in there. You don't have to worry about your drivers test, you have only a year left in school, life's pretty great. My "seventeen" was absolutely exquisite. But something about being a senior and graduating from high school kind of shatters the fairytale, doesn't it?

Being done with school is one of the most exciting things in a young persons life. I remember so well finishing my very last page. I was thrilled, but I'm pretty sure there was a lump in my throat as well. It's an ending, a farewell to a way of life. You're moving on to bigger things, and you feel so pressured about your decisions.

I was, and still am, the "kid who didn't go to college". Can I just say, for all the non-college goers like myself, that it's OK? It is NOT the easy way out, and you feel so, so judged. And to be honest, it's not the adults or teachers that make you feel the worst, it's the juniors and seniors in high school who've had their lives planned out since the 6th grade that make you feel like a failure. When they're the one's saying "Wait. So you're NOT going to college?! Why NOT?!" Because I don't know who I am or what I want anymore, that's why not! "I just don't think college is for me right now."

Not going to college was a hard decision for me. I'm not sure if many people know that, but it was. All throughout high school I really did think I might go. When I was seventeen we went on a trip to Washington D.C. and I fell in love with the history there. I thought I could live there, go to GWU, but it was so far away. I researched different schools, ordered information, and decided the one I wanted to go to the most was Lincoln Memorial University. 4 hours away from home, my family, and all of my friends. I had zero peace about it. I looked into correspondence and a few schools closer to home. Still no peace about college.

I graduated a couple of weeks before we left for Hawaii for my brother's wedding, and I decided to just think about it over the summer. The months passed, and I decided a gap year would be a good idea. I could earn some money, we could pray about it some more, and I would have time. Precious time.

I don't recommend a gap year for everyone. During mine, I babysat twice a week, earning enough money for gas, insurance, and savings. On the days in between I slept in, read books, and got very lazy. That December I got peace about my decision. College simply wasn't for me. I think my parents knew all along, but the decision was mine. I made it, and I've never regretted it. I truly wanted the Lord's will in this area, and I know that this was it.

It was time to get serious about a job or something, because marriage wasn't (and still isn't) in my near future. As our church grows, there is more work to be done. More paperwork, more typing, more letters going out, more filing, and someone needed to do it. I've been working part time as a secretary of sorts. I kind of do a little of this and a little of that and a lot of sitting behind my laptop. I'm learning as I go, and I'm content with where I am.

Almost content, anyway. Aren't we always striving for more?

So to my little sister, to the ones still in school, to the ones younger than me, to the ones older than me. To the college students, the newlyweds, to everyone. Enjoy this period in your life. Make the most of it. There will be changes, and the older you get the more responsibility you get. Take a minute and make some memories.

I remember being broke, almost out of gas, but all I needed was a dollar and a dime for Sonic after church on Sunday night. My friends and I would sit outside at a picnic table, counting out pennies for the poor waitresses and complaining about how hot it was.

I remember being sick when my mom and Amie went to an auction, when my dad was out of town, and when Jacob was at work. Stephen was home for the weekend and we both slept in until almost 10. We made a frozen pizza and watched Gone With the Wind and stayed in our pajamas all day.

I remember the very first time Amie and I stayed at home overnight by ourselves and neither of us slept a wink, and we crept through the house at 3:00am because we were pretty sure someone was there.

I remember long drives out in the country, exploring old roads with the windows down and Jacob revving up the engine on that big ol' loud Dodge, a black cloud of smoke following us close behind.

I remember picking buttercups by the river with Daddy, coming home scratched and bleeding from thorn patches and learning to skip rocks.

I remember the very first time I went shopping with Mama all by myself and I bought Amie a purse because I felt bad for getting all the new stuff, and we ate at Red Lobster for the first time and I decided I hated sea food.

I remember Christine taking me and Amie shopping when she and Jacob were recently engaged, getting to know her future little sister-in-laws, and now remembering that and hoping I will do the same thing some day, because it meant so much to us.

I remember getting a birthday card from Tara that didn't just have a signature, but a long letter in it, personalized with little details just for me, and thinking "Stephen better marry her."

I remember Jace calling me "Olley", Jackson still calling me "Teddy", and waiting on Tanner to say something, anything.

And someday, when I'm 25, I'll remember sitting behind my laptop, smelling the coffee coming from the coffee pot, and knowing that in a few seconds, everyone would be in that office/kitchen space, fixing their coffee, making fun of each other, and then getting back to work.

I'll remember crying as I hugged Hannah goodbye at her wedding, and crying as I'll hug Faith goodbye when she leaves for PNG again. I'll remember the excitement when I see that they're online, or when I get an email.

I'll remember my fear at the decisions I have to make, and I'll laugh at them. I could write another post right now on fears, but I'll save it for another time.

Please remember, you only get to live today once, so enjoy it. Enjoy every bit of it.


  1. Very good post Kellie. We all to often look at the past or look into the future longing for a time there instead of just enjoying this day!

    I wrote something similar called Loving The Present that you might enjoy reading!

    Iris♥ @ The BlueBirdhouse

  2. Well written, Kelley. Memories that will last forever are worth more than money could buy. Love this post.

  3. Well said, Kelley! That's a great lesson for anybody at any age! :)

  4. This is such a great reminder. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Very thought-provoking and encouraging, Kelley!

    I, too, have found myself in the same situation with college. I am almost sixteen, yet I found that so many people ask me all the time if I know where I am going to go to college. I feel like the Lord is leading me to go from my Dad's protection to one day, my husband's. I also want to be a stay-at-home mom, so there would be no reason for me to even go! Praise the Lord that you obeyed His will...sometimes it would be SO easy to just do what everyone else is doing!

    You have so many wonderful, neat memories too! Memories like that are forever in our hearts, and we can cherish them always!

    1. It is difficult sometimes not to just follow the majority! But I know if I did, I would never be completely happy.

      I am very blessed to have the wonderful memories that I do, and I try not to take them for granted! :)