full circle

IMG_5638.JPGLess than 24 hours ago, I participated in the most anticipated event of freshman year at Baylor University – I ran in the Baylor Line. This may seem weird or irrelevant to people outside of the university’s beloved tradition, but it was a HUGE deal for me.

Thinking back to my brother’s freshman year at Baylor, I remember going to the Homecoming game and watching him run the line. I stood there in awe of the sea of gold before me, and thought to myself, “This is seriously one of the coolest things I have ever seen!” I was overcome with emotion, and very confused as to why, so I dismissed the feelings and continued to cheer the Bears on to victory with my family. Fast forward about three years, I truly believe watching the line that Saturday was a taste of the home God would make for me in Waco, Texas.

Making my way to Baylor was not the easiest journey, nor was it what I thought I wanted. The summer after my junior year of high school, I interned for UK-USA Ministries in Stockton, Teesside, which is in NE England. Being called to ministry (more specifically, missions), I was over the moon about this opportunity, but I had no idea this internship would radically change my life for the better, and truly shape me into the person I am today. God broke my heart for the people and estate I worked with every single day, and I couldn’t bear thinking about the time I would be forced to fly back to Prosper. God shattered and burdened my soul with his mission and vision for Stockton, and opened doors that made my calling make more sense than it ever had before. I was convinced that going back after high school was the next step for me. My heart ached and longed to be back in England every second I was away. I knew my body made it back to America, but I felt as if I had left my entire heart behind.

Senior year brought college applications and plans of the future, but I wanted to return to Stockton more than anything else. Letters from schools and universities all over the country bombarded our mailbox, begging me to apply, but I didn’t feel right about any of them. I sought out the advice and council of multiple Godly figures in my life, wondering if a gap year or college was a step in the right direction. I was given a multitude of thoughts and opinions, forcing me to get on my knees before God and ask Him what the plan was. College was something I was “supposed” to do, so even though my heart had the strongest pull to England, I school-shopped. I loved everything about Baylor and their mission to grow students first in their relationship with God, and second in their academic knowledge. I applied, still not 100% I was making the right decision, and hoped for the best.

After months and months of praying and seeking the Lord, I came to terms with staying in America for 4 more years, and God affirmed this decision several different times after my revelation. My mom told me it wasn’t a matter of “if” I went back to England, it was a matter of “when”, and I just needed to wait on my “when”. That was the best advice I could’ve heard at the time, because it was two-fold. It meant she knew I was called to England, and supported my ministry completely, but it wasn’t the right timing, so I wouldn’t have her blessing. This was the biggest affirmation of my decision to go to college first, because I think my heart would be ripped to shreds if I ever felt like I had to go against them for any reason.

My acceptance letter came soon after, and seeing my name written on McLane Stadium was the icing on the cake. This was the next step, and although England was never far from my mind, I knew I was making the right decision for me. Yes, I would much rather be applying for a gap year than a university; yes, I would much rather be making plans to move to Stockton instead of Waco; yes, I would much rather be buying cute sweaters instead of warm weather clothes, but the Lord knew my heart and was leading me to Baylor still, so I had to trust that His plans were better than mine (which they always are, duh Maddy).

I am a firm believer that God honors faithfulness, and about a month after I was accepted to Baylor, God opened a door that gave me an opportunity to return back to my home in England for almost 2 weeks. I was so overjoyed and overwhelmed with His faithfulness, I actually cried (which if you know me, you know that tears are a rare entity for me). All I could think of was verse 4 in Psalm 37, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” God knew England was the sole desire of my heart, and it was as if he allowed me to go back as a “well done” for being faithful and diligent in the small things. Of course being back brought the flood of emotions pulling me to stay, but I knew deep down it was okay to leave, because I WOULD be back soon. Leaving the second time was harder than the first, but I believe it’s because God has allowed Stockton to become my home. I was at home in England, and I just needed to be away 4 more years. I could do it.

Fast forward another month, and it was move-in day at Baylor University. The whole drive down, I prayed God would reveal to me the reason He chose to keep me in America. Maybe it’s to learn skills I’ll need when I return, maybe it’s to cast His vision to my friends and take some of them back with me, or maybe it’s to meet my husband and move there together. (Can anyone say ring by spring??) Whatever the reason may be, I know it’ll be incredible and far better than anything I could imagine, because He’s able to do “far more abundantly than all we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20), and promises a life “in its fullest” (John 10:10).

Running the line last night made me realize just how thankful I am for Baylor. It took God guiding me to do a 180 to get me here, but dude I am SO glad. The friends I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned IN JUST 2 WEEKS, they’re for life. From watching the line three years ago to running it with my friends last night, I can finally see the full circle of God’s promises and faithfulness.

4 thoughts on “full circle

  1. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I could not be more proud of you and your desire to seek God in all you do. I know you are where you’re supposed to be right now. And I know I’ll eventually have to cross the pond to visit you in your home. Stay focused on Him, Maddy girl. He will never steer you wrong ❤️

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