Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mary, This is Your Life!!

In the fall of 1998, all seniors received a little scrapbook type thing to help "document and remember their senior year." I, being a girl and "me", thought this was a great idea and diligently filled it out through-out the year. It had things to fill out like:
On a typical day I...
Roll out of bed at "5:45 on a marching practice morning and 8:45 on a no band morning"
Eat lunch with "Jessica Greer, Teresa Miller, Jennifer Sulak, Dalyn Williams, Stacy Cundiff, Brittany Vrla, Julie Haisler, Alyson Lewis, Alison Jinks and Alice Anderson"

The Price of Life...
A burger and fries $3.75
For a gallon of gas $.89
A soft drink $.79

I was a baby, but growing Christian that year and most of my book reflects this, as in
My Favorite Pick-up lines are...
"You know God? Me too!"
"We're Baptists- we don't shake hands, we hug!"
"Nice Bible...."
Favorite Music Groups...
"Jars of Clay, Third Day, Clay Cross, 4 Him, Point of Grace, Rebecca St. James and Michael W. Smith"

I also was completely infatuated with the first real Christian boy I ever dated, JJ Lusk...my book reflects this too:
That Special Someone...
I fell hard for.... "JJ Lusk"
The moments I'll remember best..."That Saturday looking @ the stars in his arms...Going to the Ft. Worth zoo...Getting lost on the way to the mall...Getting pulled over with Merideth and Andy...When he gave me a promise ring...Laughing at his Hellen Keller jokes...sitting together in church...praying together...watching him teach/play with the kids in his class at church...eating at Don Jose's after church every Sunday...ETC and ETC" (this plus more literally took up a whole page, not to mention all the other places he was mentioned throughout the book)

The Best Thing About Being a Senior is...
"Not being a freshman! Being able to look back @ how far you've come and what (how much) you've learned...Grabbing on to the little bit of yourself that you know and reaching for the little bit of the future that you've got planned..."

The Day I'll Remember Best...
"Day of Graduation Practice...Teachers knew we wouldn't actually listen, so they let us do anything. Spending the whole day laughing, remembering, crying, dreaming, and praying that we'd all keep our sanity until Friday night! Loving the people you never knew you cared too much about, and holding on to the people who would soon become memories because of distance & circumstance."

My Plans after High School...
"COLLEGE! Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a teacher!"

My Career will be...
"An elementary music teacher @ a Christian school"

Marriage Outlook...
"I'd like to get married young but not too soon"

Family Plans...
"I want 2 or 3 kids...to live in a small town. Would like to be a preacher/youth minister's wife if that's still in God's will."

And of course, the best part is letting others sign it, saying good-bye, letting them tell you what they'll remember...

"Mary, Hey girl! It has been fun this year! I hope that you will become what you want to be in life. Stay nice and sweet~ Brandi D"

"Hey, Mary; WE MADE IT!!! Almost anyway. I hope you have fun in college, don't actually work too much. I'll get my book finished eventually, I promise. Keep in touch so I can send you a copy & keep your eyes peeled for the movie someday. Later! Keep practicing that magic, sorceress...Jeff F"

There were lots of "best wishes," "best friends forever" and "love you"s...But an inscription stuck out to me only years later as I looked through this book :
"To the Darst Beast:
Another year has passed. Graduation looms ominously on the horizon. AGH!
You really are a gem, Mary, you're one of the few people I've met that hold their beliefs and not try to press them on others, namely me. You will now go on to college, and become insanely successful. When I knock on your door in 20 years asking for a handout, don't be surprised.
Later Babe, Matt M."

10 years + later, it's interesting to look at this...especially if you know me!
~Out of all the friends I ate lunch with EVERY day for YEARS...I only barely keep in touch with 4 or 5 via Facebook, but would consider none of them close friends at all, sadly.
~I've changed, and bands have changed, only 1 of those music groups do I still listen to.
~I did NOT marry JJ Lusk, but continued to hold on to him emotionally for about a year and a half. He was my model and expectation for what a Christian boyfriend/husband should be. Despite my dreams and prayers, we did NOT go to college together and have a youth ministry and family together like we once had planned. He eventually went to a Bible college in Oklahoma (I think) and I went to East Texas Baptist University. We both eventually married and did youth ministry. But not with each other, like we'd promised.
~I did not become a teacher
~ I did not even finish college, though I attempted it twice!

Two things I've learned looking back:
James 4:13-17 is true:
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

James is not getting on to them because they're planning for the future. He is not belittling them for dreaming of what they want. He is warning them that to plan for the future without regard for what God thinks is best; is boasting. Boasting in a way we would never say out loud...we'd never say, "I know better and can plan my life better than God!" But, that's what we are essentially saying when we plan for the future based on our own desires, will and might.

"This is all about God’s will; and, the principle aspect of God’s will is not so much what we plan and develop in our lives, but whether or not we are aligning ourselves with His plan. It is far more important that our focus be that our character and fruit come from Him, not so much in the specific actions in life such as school, career, or who to date and marry. Rather, the important thing is “who” and “how” we are in those areas. Our character and fruit must come first. Our relationship with, and focus on Him helps determine our actions in life. When we operate within His love and precepts, then His will becomes clear."

Who and how was I my last year in high school? That was the last time I EVER saw some of those people. What do they remember about me? Did I waste my light that year?

Obviously, I was immature and infatuated. I did some stupid thing, despite my struggles to grow spiritually. Sometimes I look back and am ashamed at who and how I was that year...but my friend, Matt, reminds me what it all came down to. Matt knew that I did stupid things and regretted them. He wasn't a Christian and he didn't judge me for "messing up" when I did. I'm surprised he never called me a hypocrite...He called me a "gem"...but what he was going to remember about me most was that "you're one of the few people I've met that hold their beliefs and not try to press them on others, namely me." At first, it sounded like I failed...I never tried to convert him?!? But I don't think I failed as a Christ-follower...I think I lived out the forgiveness and the love that I knew I'd received..and Matt got THAT. He didn't get "See You at the Pole"...he never wanted to join the "Prayer Warriors" club at Tab....he didn't think it was fun to go to "Hell House" at Halloween with the youth groups in town. But he understood what I believed -without me telling him he was wrong. He knew I loved and appreciated him, that I was different, despite the fact that I screwed up. He knew I was a Christian and what I believed without ever having to have that conversation. (You know, "that" conversation that Christians are "supposed to have" where we tell people they're wrong, going to hell and by the way, God loves you! and then ignore them the rest of the time...?)

That18 year old girl had big plans; plans to change the world! She's had doors slammed and dreams die; but grew to know and be known; to love and be loved by the God whose dreams are one hundred times bigger and better than some 18 year old...or a 29 year old one too!

I pray that this school year will be amazing for you and your children/students. Be a light in the darkness where you are. Don't waste this year....find where God is and what He's doing in your school and join Him there. And if you have to let your plans change along the way, it's ok...I promise you, it will be more than worth it!!

1 comment:

JAH said...

I must have missed this! I enjoyed reading this. I think you are special!