So I have been dying to blog these past few weeks. I only have had one post--kinda pathetic, I know. But I finally have some free time and am bursting at the seams to put my thoughts into words.
Well, I think because it is my Senior year in college, I have been thinking a whole lot, especially reflecting back on just how faithful and wonderful the Lord is. In just a few short years, He has taken my prideful, self-serving flesh and changed my heart and life for His glory. He has made me an eager learner of His Word, placed the desire in my heart to make disciples here and to the ends of the earth, and blessed me with a peace that comes from being smack dab in the center of His will. Is anyone else completely blown away at the God we serve? I know I am! So with all this reflection and realization of the work the Lord has done, I was left with one huge revelation that centers around the blessing of three God-fearing women that quickly became my best friends--Karah, Jessi, and Veronica. Some people refer to us as KJVB, some name us by the apartment that we live in, and some just call us crazy, but I call us blessed--blessed so greatly by the Lord with one another.
As I began to look at who the Lord has shaped me to be, I quickly realized that I am who I am today because of the goodness I have seen and admired in each of them. So let me take a little time and brag on my beautiful best friends.
Karah Marie Helton. She is a beautiful woman whose passion and knowledge for the Word of God completely blows me away. If you ever need to know about anything in the Bible, Karah's your girl. She is passionate about studying God's promises and is one person who I can say has a huge grasp on the grace of God--as big of a grasp as our puny human minds can have anyways. Since college, I have become a student of the Word, eager to learn because of my lack of knowledge in years before. I was always embarrassed to turn to a less-familiar book of the Bible in church, because frankly, I didn't know where it was. I didn't know a lot of stories that most grow up learning. I was basically illiterate when it came to the Bible. Praise God things have changed. I have a huge desire to learn about anything and everything Bible-related. I am reading through the wars and laws of the Old Testament right now and loving every second of it. And of course, whenever I have a question, I run to Karah for an explanation! Over fall break, me and Karah shared a room in Panama City, and I wouldn't trade our late night Bible talks for anything else in the world. I wish I could have her at my disposal every time I need help understanding the fifty billion lines of genealogy or why Moses wasn't allowed to cross the Jordan! When it comes to grace, I am definitely still learning a lot, but Karah's enthusiasm on the subject has certainly been contagious. I'm super thankful for this roommate and best friend, and I cannot imagine having gone through college without her.
Jessi Paige McLean. It is kinda funny to think that me and Jessi went to high school together. By the grace of God, we both are so different now. I owe the majority and heart of my transformation to Jessi. The Lord changed Jessi's life just a few short months before we started college, and He used her eagerness to get plugged in with other believers to lead me there as well. I don't know that I ever intended to pour my life into a campus ministry in college, but that's what happened. Me and Jessi were at the BCM anytime the doors were open, and the people there quickly became our family. Jess and I learned so much together, her strengths covering my weaknesses and mine hers. I can't help but praise my Father in Heaven when I look back and see that explosion of growth in just that first semester of college. I'm thankful I had Jessi to walk through it with me. And through these past few years, Jessi has always been about the business of serving where she is. I vividly remember sitting on her bed in her apartment freshmen year when she said, "Brittany, I think I'm going to Peru." She was considering giving up her whole summer to serve the Lord internationally. My honest first thought was that she was off her rocker! Yeah, it is a cool idea, especially because she loves Spanish and is good at it, but for boring, practical Brittany, that seemed crazy. Turns out, it was through her example and willing heart that I was able to take a small leap of faith to spend a week in Mexico. And then to take the leap twice more to serve two full summers in the Philippines, where I am now planning to move! Look at how God works! In addition to that, it has been the coolest thing to watch her reach out to younger christian sisters and pour her heart into discipling them. I'm thankful that I have had the opportunity to mirror her example and do the same. Never would have experienced the goodness of the Lord without you, Jess!
Last but certainly not least--Veronica Salena Kernodle. Man o man, this girl is seriously like no other person I have ever met in my life. I think at first that was a kinda weird thing for me, but now, it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me! Veronica has embraced who the Lord has made her and has made an eternal impact on UTM's campus for the glory of God. If you ever see an international student on campus, Veronica knows them. And if she doesn't know them, she will walk right up to them and introduce herself. I remember thinking my freshman year that international ministry is really cool and super unique--but definitely not for me. How was I supposed to talk to someone who could barely speak English? Oh man did God change my heart! As I have served on the mission field, I have realized the huge opportunity we have in the United States to minister to those who are aliens amongst us. (There is so much scripture on God's heart to minister to those who are aliens or outsiders, not to mention His desire that every tribe, tongue, people, and nation should know Him.) He has brought the nations to our doorstep, yet we cower in the corner afraid to extend a hand to a lost people. The Lord opened my eyes to this truth during my first summer in the Philippines, and reiterated the same point my second summer there. Once I returned to the states and back to Martin, there was Veronica waiting to show me the ropes of reaching out to internationals, introducing me to them, and giving me opportunities to serve alongside her. I'm just thankful that the Lord has given me a small fraction of her passion. Now, I have several international friends that I talk to on a daily basis, and I have been able to be extremely intentional about sitting next to these students in class, inviting them to hang out, and showing them the love of Christ by simply being different. Never ever did I think any of that could be possible, but God gave me Veronica, and her influence proved otherwise.
So there is it. I am who I am today, not because of me, but because of the blessing of my three best friends. I can't even imagine life being different. I don't want to imagine life without them two steps from my bedroom. I know it will be one of the hardest days of my life moving out of E103 and starting big-girl life, but I trust that the Lord knows what He is doing. I am sure these girls have influenced me in a zillion other ways that I could never give due credit to. All I know is that I am thankful for a lot of things, and Karah, Jessi, and Veronica are high up on that list. Love you girls...