Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On To The Next Adventure

I am now an NCFCA Alum.

I'll never compete in speech or debate again.

I was totally depressed about this for a little while, but somehow God has given me such a peace about it.

I am so grateful for the past four years of my life, the wonderful friendships that I've formed, the crazy situations and the coffee runs.

I'm so grateful for all of the nail polish used to fix nylons, the absurd amount of makeup used, the hair emergencies and the nerves.

I'm so grateful for the tension before rounds and anticipation before breaks.

I'm so grateful for the lack of sleep and the dark circles under our glossy eyes.

I'm so grateful for the prayers, hugs, tears, encouragement and love.

But now I have to move on.

God is so good.  I was nearly panicking right after the awards ceremony at Nationals three days ago.  I felt this knot in my stomach; a sinking, sick feeling.  I couldn't stop thinking, "this will never happen again...this is it."  I walked around the after party, drinking every detail of it in; watching my friends read their ballots, play games, sign ballot envelopes and tee shirts.  Tears came to my eyes on and off, and I didn't have much control over my emotions.  All of a sudden I didn't feel ready.  I wanted to rip up my diploma and compete for another year.  I wanted Nationals never to end.

But it had to.

A friend invited me to play frisbee with a group of people, and I'm so glad that I did.

The sprinklers were on.

It. Was. Amazing.

It was only dimly lit, as it was about 11pm, and the sprinklers turned on and off multiple times.  There were only four people on each team, so we each got to be more involved than in larger games.  Everyone was pretty hyper, the guys were making animal calls and yelling hilarious things, and I loved every second of it.

We made our way to the lake afterward, and it was stunning.  I had seen it during the day, but it was so still and calm and quiet.  A few of us stuck our feet in, and the water was pleasantly warm, so a couple of the guys jumped in and swam around for a little while (pretending that sea monsters were attacking them, and other such manly things...).

One of the guys did his best to shame the others for not jumping in along with him, and then we tossed the frisbee back and forth on our way back to the dorms.  We raced part of the way and then were met by a girl from another Region who told us that there had been an accident at the after party, and a student had been knocked unconscious.

We all fell to our knees and started praying right there on the sidewalk.

The young man is fine now, and was released from the hospital later that night, but this is part of why I have loved competing so much: when something horrible happens, when it is suitable to panic, when joyful times slip away in an instant we fall to our knees and surround the throne of God.

I've never seen this kind of passion for and dependence on the Lord in any other place.  This is part of why I had been so sad about leaving.  How could I ever find that kind of thing somewhere else?

But then I realized something.  When we were playing frisbee the tournament was over.  We could have been playing just as easily anywhere else.  The guys could have jumped in any other lake.  We could have prayed together and stayed up until 3am any other time (well, that last one doesn't happen too often...but it is possible...theoretically).  These experiences and friendships are not limited to tournaments.  We could choose to seek God first in any tragedy or accident, just as we did that night.  God is just as powerful, just as present, just as involved in our lives outside of tournaments.

I'm going to miss competing, of course.  How could I not miss it?  But I'm seeing that God's timing is always best, and I'm stoked to see what He has in mind for this next chapter in my life.

"The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."
(Psalm 121:8)

My amazing Region, praying together first thing in the morning.
Over and out,


P.S.  If any of you were at Nationals and I don't have your email, please contact me so that we may keep in touch.  I love you all to death and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know you.  Blessings!


  1. Thank you, Emily. Exactly how I felt after getting ballots and looking around to realize: This is it.

    1. There are such mixed feelings related to that, aren't there?

      It's been so great getting to know you better this year, Luke. Thank you for being such an encouragement. =)

  2. Extraordinary insight from an extraordinary individual. Rely on God when on top of the mountain and when off.

    1. Yes, the valleys are the hardest times in life by far. It's easy to see Him from the heights of great mountains, when He is very visibly helping us through challenges and good times alike, but when we are not being challenged, when things are flat and easy and, "normal," that is when we must truly keep watch. I'm still on mountains right now, a few of them in fact, but I know that more valleys are on their way.

      The hardest training in life, I think, is learning not to rely on feelings. When we don't, "feel," God we tend to act as though He's not there. Those are the valley times. When we are not relying on feelings, but simply on faith, the valleys and mountains don't matter, it's just life. It's rare when I can go through valleys relying on faith and on not feeling, but it's a truly amazing experience. I pray that as we all go through the mountains and valleys of life God will give us the strength to have faith as though we are always on mountains.

      God bless you, friend!

  3. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and experiences, Emily. It was such a blessing getting to spend some time with you and your mom, and hearing you speak again.

    1. You're so welcome! It was such a blessing getting to spend more time with you, as well. Thank you for all of your encouragement!

  4. Wow, what a beautiful, wonderful post. I can't even explain... it's just amazing.

    1. Ariel, you're such a sweetie. Thank you. =)

  5. Emily, I love you dear. Thanks for being such an amazing friend!

    1. Oh, I love you too, Rachel! Thank you so much for being such a light for the Kingdom. Your gentle, selfless spirit have encouraged and convicted me greatly, and I thank God for your friendship. <3 <3