Freshman Con, you are so young, yet you think you’re so grown. You have moved for the first time in your life. You have brought everything little ole’ Ariton has taught you to Auburn. You don’t have your mama as a teacher anymore. You don’t have your little brother down the hall from you. You and your friends have moved on to this next chapter in life. You have left everything you have ever known.
You are going to want time to stop once you’re finally in your senior year. You are going to wish you could be 18 starting this journey all over again. So be present where you are and with who you are with. That is my first piece of advice to you as older Con. You are going to meet so many great people on your new journey. You will meet girls who will be your bridesmaids (Shout out to Sam Ahl, Rileigh Eaton, Sophie Zavaleta, Lauren Barnes, Kathleen Ford, Amanda Loyal, Samantha Heckman, Mary Beth Wates, Sarah Kate Barrett, Savannah Saunders, Elle Turner and Taylor Jordan). Also, you will meet guys who will be like brothers to you. You will find your family away from your family. So don’t fret; you will becoming a pro at making friends.
Don’t rush through your experiences. I know you are going to want to rush through your week to get to the weekend, but the week nights are just as fun, too. Your friends and you will have Fam Din night. You and the girls will do your quiet time together on some mornings. You and your friends will study at Ross House on the week days then have game nights on the weekends. Enjoy the short car rides and sing-alongs with Sam to get food or Starbucks. Enjoy going to the rec with Rilo to workout. Enjoy Stephen being at your house every day or his calling every day. Enjoy leading small groups with MB, SK and Sav. You don’t know this yet, but you are going to change many girls’ lives. Enjoy being a 252 leader because your junior year, you will meet some really great people. Enjoy being outreach leader your senior year, serving and leading with your best friends. Soak up all these memories and moments, and don’t let anything pass you by, even the things you don’t see coming or never thought would happen. Believe me, they happen, and when you get to your senior year, will you know exactly what I am talking about. I don’t want to spoil the big surprise for you. Just remember when you’re frustrated God has got this for you, and when you will pray and ask him questions, he makes those decisions based on what He knows because He sees the big picture and makes decisions based on eternity. So rest in that.
You’re not going to please everyone. Say it to yourself. Make a sticky note and put it somewhere (side note: those will become your thing). I get it. Believe me; I really do, but you will learn that people are hard to please. People expect so much from you. You are going to try to juggle it all, and girl, you do it pretty gracefully if I do say so myself. But there will be times when you just can’t make everyone like you and that’s okay. I honestly don’t think that you’re meant to like everyone or you’re supposed to be friends with everyone.
Con, you are about to learn so much about life and about yourself. I know you are hurting from the death of our sister, but God will mend your heart. Not only will he pick up the shattered pieces left from death as well as from a boy who didn’t deserve you (don’t ruin your Bible by letting Nathan write in it or highlighting his verses too), but He will pursue you. You will go from religion to developing a relationship with Jesus. From all of this having had happened, you will learn to live passionately and love even more passionately. Life is short, so you learn not to take anything or anyone for granted. Jesus will become your constant, but go ahead and jump start a relationship with Him in your life. At the end of the day when it is all said and done, all you will ever really need is Him. You will have so many moments in your life where you will see God move for you and through you, so start now.
These past years is what has molded you into the young woman you are today. You know right from wrong, so follow your gut. Don’t second guess yourself unless you have a good solid reason to. God has given you discernment, and you will learn how to use it throughout these years. You’re a knower, Con, so be confident in that. People are going to come to you to listen to them. They are going to want your advice and want you to solve their problems. You’re going to listen and give your advice, but just keep in mind that your sanity is important too. Yes, you are going to help so many people, but you have to take care of yourself, too. Remember, sometimes it is okay to be selfish. Sometimes, you just have to take care of yourself. You will learn this the hard way from sleep deprivation. So, note to self: you are not indestructible. You can help people, but at the right time, you need your sleep, contrary to what people think. Also, everything is not for you to say yes to. This is going to be hard to hear, but you cannot say yes to everything. You will read a book named The Best Yes; go ahead and read it early so you can save yourself.
So, freshmen Con, this is just the beginning of another chapter God is writing for you. Cling to Him and the people He gives you to do this life with. Take the time to write your calligraphy and make sticky notes. Stop to listen to people’s stories and share yours. Make time to slow down to have morning coffee with our mama on Saturdays or the girls, whether you’re in Auburn or Ariton; take time to be able to laugh, dance, and have heart-to-hearts with our sisters, time to be able to talk to our brother and watch him step into his calling and purpose, time to be able to catch up with the wolf pack. I hope we experience life outside of the routine. I hope that in all we do, we radiate Jesus through and through.