In the meantime, I must deeply apologize for neglecting my blogsite this semester. It's been pretty rough with classes and, well, life, so thanks for your patience. With that being said, I am so thankful for this semester - even though it entailed the most intense growth period I've ever encountered in my life. Some of you are thinking... "Right, 21 years... you've got A LOT more to grow and encounter." This, my friends, is so true. And as tough as it's been on my heart and even mental state, it's been sooo good. The Lord has been faithful in refining me and showing me His truth. Therefore, this has turned out to be the most beautiful season of my life. My roommate, Hannah, encouraged me to read 1 Peter because she saw my heart in it as she read it. In chapter 5, verse 11, Peter says, "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." Please don't jump to assumptions that my sufferings entailed that of physical suffering or ridicule or loss of someone that I hold dear - rather, it was suffering from a mental state, a disease - the disease of doubt and of heartache. That - that - is a disease I would never wish upon anyone. The Lord is still in the process of healing it - but as Peter said, He has been and will continue to be faithful in restoring, confirming, strengthening and establishing me. What a beautiful promise! Through this restoration, He has brought people into my life that have been deeply encouraging - people that I have no clue how I've even lived without until this point - people who I joke around about, but truly believe that they are my soul mates - not the "man-husband-like" soul mates, but the soul mates who know your heart just by looking at your face and know to sit and listen rather than try to solve the problems. For each of you, I am eternally grateful for the confidante and safe place you have been for me.
Now that the semester is over, I need to share with you my "adventures" since final exams. I wish I could say I travelled to great lands and stood under the most extravagant waterfalls, in awe of the One who created them. Rather, I've travelled into the depths of my imagination - which is always pretty adventurous - and delved into the interior of the right-side of my brain. First, I finished the book "Noah's Ark" by Judy Baer. Know, that if you start to get into the Chick Lit genre, you will most likely be criticized because it's a romance novel. Sure, there is a handsome hunk involved that sweeps the girl off her feet - but normally, the girl is too busy with her focus on the Savior that she barely even realizes the guy's around. If you're into the sappy retreats from reality, here's a little teaser from the end of the book - but I won't give away any names.... "I don't know how God manages these things but He knew _____ and I needed to be together and He let nothing stand in the way. It took a while, of course, and it wasn't without trauma, but the results are definitely worth the wait." I'm not much for receiving Truth from fictional books, but I sincerely believe that statement. If God intends for it to happen, He'll make it happen - there will be tough times, refining times, but when it's in His plans, it will happen. There are the cheesy statements too. The statements that classify it as those "that will probably never happen, and if it did... well, I might think the guy was joking" statements: "Norah, if I'm going to be set adrift at sea on an ark, there's no one I'd rather travel with than you." Regardless, it's an incredible book and I had a pretty difficult time putting it down - but then again, I go weak for books like this.
I decided to do a small series of paintings called "transition" because there are so many people in my life going through... well, transitions. Some are taking it well, and others are having a terribly tough time with it. College draws in way too many opportunities for people to journey in and out of your life and I'm sad to say that there are a few special people that are - or will be - doing that within the next few months. Some are moving to near cities like Birmingham or Atlanta... and then others will be moving to the other side of the world - Hong Kong. To each of you - I will miss you terribly. I cherish you but am so proud of the steps you are pursuing in your lives. May the transitions in your life bring you joy and an abundant life in our Savior.
And finally... these are a few sketches from my sketchbook I've been working on. Nothing too big - just a few starting steps and inspiration for the future pieces I'll actually have time to work on this summer!! Yay!