Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chapter 5: Growing Up

I think of Kindergarten through 3rd grade as the time when I developed my comfort zone.  I was at the catholic school, my family had found a great church in town with lots of activities for kids, I had fun friends, ballet, t-bat, piano and horse-back riding lessons, beach trips in the summer, etc.  I can’t think of a single bad thing during those years.  Then in 4th grade, I transferred out of the catholic school and into the public school system.  This was the first time I was taken out of my comfort zone.  New kids in a new and very large school… I quickly learned what it meant to lean on the Lord for comfort and to pray continually throughout the day.  When I would get nervous and feel like I needed a friend, I would pray.  I grew up a lot that year.  I grew up even more the next year with my second major surgery.  I’ll never forget it.  I had come home from school with a really bad stomach ache, and then that pain made the dreaded move to my lower right side.  I woke up that night from a nightmare screaming in pain, so we rushed to the emergency room.  It was crazy because it was my mom’s second trip to the ER that night.  My sister had just come home from the beach with a horribly bad sunburn that ended up needing medical attention, so Momma had just come home from the ER when I woke up.  It turns out that I had appendicitis, and my appendix had ruptured.  They did surgery within the hour.  I was in the hospital for a week and went home to recover for another week.  This was the first trial of my young life, and it taught me to cherish the “comfort zone” times.

7th grade started a bitter-sweet time in my life.  The bitter part involved school.  Y'all know what it's like.  I was surprised and slightly shocked when I saw my friends start to separate into different groups based on popularity, and I lost some of my childhood friends.  I was not popular and felt like I got made fun of for everything; clothes, hair, that I was in band, etc.  But mixed in with all of that bitter was a lot of sweet.  This is the year that some of my life-long friends began to surface; friends that would become my best friends in high school.  The Lord also began to build up a passion in my heart towards the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.  There was a family at our church who had been missionaries in Malawi.  I got to know them, heard them speak several times, and saw the most amazing pictures I’d ever seen.  I became absolutely fascinated with Africa and began to dream about going there one day.  In 8th grade I had my first opportunity to go on a missions trip.  We went to Cherokee, North Carolina and did outreach and construction on the reservation.  By the time we left, I was absolutely passionate about missions and knew that I would do everything I could to end up as a missionary in Africa.  But first, I had to survive high school…

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