Today I was cleaning out some emails from my UNC account and came across a folder I cleverly titled “KEEP ME”..
So of course, I assumed they were valuable, so I took a quick peek and what did I come across.
Well, quite a few things. Some things that should NEVER have been in a “KEEP ME” folder and some things that were surprisingly painful to read.
I found my acceptance letter to my PhD program. A heartfelt email from Dean Collins when I graduated in 2013. Pictures from my last PU! My graduation photos and my Fulbright acceptance and my email declining the offer.
For those of you unaware, in the summer of 2012, I went on a life changing journey to Italy. I have never fallen in love so many times in my life. Every day was a new adventure where I fell in love with everything. The gelato. The chicken. The people. The buildings. The music. The roads. The sheer beauty of God’s glory. My heart has been there every since.
I came back to America and my desire for Italy was absolutely insatiable. The thought of Italy brought tears to my eyes and my pocketbook. I had to get back.
Fast Forward: I stumble upon this AMAZING opportunity to become a Fulbright Scholar and spend 9 months teaching English in Italy. It was like God just slapped me with it. The chances of getting chosen were slim. There were 3 spots available in Italy and thousands of people apply.
At this time in my life, I was living in a world of chaos. It was nearing the end of my Master’s program and every single person I encountered was DYING to know what I was doing after graduation and I had absolutely NO earthly idea. I had begun applying to PhD programs and searching for jobs. I had no idea where to go or what direction to take.
During the course of these applications I remember my prayers being very clear.. “God, give me one option. Deny me all but one option. Whatever you see fit, Lord. But DON’T make me choose”
I can literally see God scoffing now, hehe, silly human.
I am not here to brag or boast but the Lord beat me with blessings in 2014. I was accepted as a Fulbright Scholar in Italy and accepted into my dream PhD program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and my heart has never been in more turmoil. Notification of my Fulbright acceptance came 24 hours after I had signed a lease with my new roomie. I had convinced myself that I had not been accepted and that it was best to move forward with my plans to begin a PhD program. Reading my acceptance to the Fulbright program was devastating. I am usually a very good decision maker. But choosing between getting a PhD (a educational choice) and going to Italy (a passionate choice), I didn’t know where to turn.
I look back today and think about the direction that I took and the direction that God has lead me towards. Was the timing of the decision purposeful? Did God allow me to move forward with a decision that he knew was best but still not deny me the joy of knowing I had another opportunity? I regret not praying about this decision as much as I should have. I regret not giving this decision completely to God. Instead I allowed my worldly heart to make this decision for me and not my spiritual one.
Either way, I find it rather interesting that the Lord still allowed me to find peace about this decision months later. I do not want to live with regrets but I also do not want to step out on my own worldly journey without the blessings of God. So as I continue on my path to a better me, I hope that my plea every morning is for direction. Just as David plead to the Lord, I pray that we do the same.
“In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” Psalm 5:3
Waiting and listening is not my forte. I am impatient and impulsive. I love instant gratification. But Lord, allow me to listen and be patient. I mean, geez, Abraham built an ark and the flood didn’t come for 120 years. May we seek your direction in all our decisions.
I have waited ever so patiently to be able to smell Italian air again and I know that on HIS timing I will return to a place that I absolutely fell in love with. I know that on HIS timing and HIS timing alone I will return to the place that stole my heart. Until then, I wait, I pray, maybe not so patiently but oh so passionately for the day I return to the glory of Italia.