I didn’t know if I was going to become a State FFA Officer. Of course, none of us do when we run. There was one person who was discouraging me from going for it, and it was someone who meant a lot to me at the time. I contemplated if I should listen to that one person or if I should pursue a dream and listen to the encouragement from my friends and my family. I quickly understood that this was a decision I had to make, and ultimately, a decision to follow God’s will for my life or not. I came home from the Louisiana State Convention the State Reporter. I remember relying more on God that year than any year of my life thus far. I had to pray for Him to speak through me, write through me, and give me the confidence I needed because it doesn’t come to me naturally. I went to Him when we lost someone from our team…our leader and State FFA Advisor towards the end of our term. I talk to every single one of my teammates in a group message to this day! It was one of the best years of my life and also one of the most challenging. I will always say that. My encouragement to you today is this: Don’t let one person influence a life-changing decision but instead, allow God to help you make that decision. When you have faith in Him to pursue a dream that He gave you, everything works out to be good in the end (Romans 8:28). No, it may not turn out the way you want it to, but it turns out the way He planned it. God instilled dreams in you for a reason. It isn’t anyone else’s choice but YOURS. Go for it if that is what God wants you to do!!! 😃
What I learned after I said “yes:”
1. Never let the significant other take God’s place.
2. Discuss decisions with your fiance because it will affect him/her in the future.
3. Admit you’re wrong when you know you’re wrong (I’m still working on this one).
4. Just trust that they will take care of you.
5. Don’t depend on him/her for happiness….they will mess up and have imperfections too.
6. Let them know your deepest secrets and struggles.
7. Say “I’m sorry.”
8.Tell them that you love them every single day because you can never overuse “I love you.” ❤
9. If you’re the girl, be submissive and don’t always try to be independent. This means just going with it even if you want to put up a fight (my struggle now). If you’re the guy, lead and provide for the girl.
10. Talk about finances together.
11. Even when you’re really stressed out about wedding planning, moving, remodeling a house, finding a job (all me right now lol), find ways to spend time with him. Being intentional about setting aside time to be with the one you love is critical no matter how busy or stressed out you may be!
12. Texting is the most terrible communication tool!!! If it is important, don’t bring it up through texting. Communicating with each other daily is extremely important and sets you up for marriage.
13. The wedding isn’t what matters in the end…the MARRIAGE of you and your future husband/wife is what is important!
14. If stuff goes wrong while wedding planning, give it to God and find a solution. Don’t cry and stress out like I did!!! I found this out the hard way. Even if it seems silly, God will listen and He’s there for you.
15. Praying for him/her and your future marriage and the current relationship is essential.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what I learned while we were engaged. I hope that this can help you future husbands and wives out there!
After four months of dating, we found ourselves out in his boat at his family’s camp. I began to fish for bass from the start; cast after cast I didn’t get a bite. When Brad pulled in a small fish, the desire to impress and beat him suddenly made its appearance. I saw a spot between two trees that was shaded by the bank and knew that’s where the bass had to be sitting. I cast my tequila sunrise artificial worm…only to catch a huge branch from one of the trees right in front of me. I desperately started pulling on it embarrassed at my sloppy casting skills. I wanted to live up to being the ultimate bassmaster as I claimed to Brad, but I looked like a fool. I pulled the rod back towards me and the line became tight until it finally gave way. It slung down into the boat barely missing me and Brad. We like to IMPRESS people. We like to show them that maybe we can fish better, talk more eloquently, make higher grades, look prettier than her to get the date with that guy you’ve been crushing on, or lift heavier weights to get the girl. We feel the need to impress people because we want to feel ACCEPTED by people. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel accepted, but that feeling can turn into an obsession. And when we obsess over wanting acceptance from others, we take our eyes off God and put them on ourselves. Then, we begin comparing our abilities, gifts, and talents that God has blessed us with to the guys and girls surrounding us either trying to get them jealous over what we have or what we can do or being jealous ourselves. Wanting to feel ACCEPTED can make the prideful and jealous part of us reveal itself, and usually doesn’t end up pretty. I tried hard to impress Brad to win acceptance from him and to show him that I was good at fishing (whether I am or not is a personal opinion, lol). Even though it ended with laughter, I still felt like an idiot…So the moral of the story is that there is no need for you to try to impress others to feel accepted. Pride + jealousy are both destructive. Just remember that you are accepted into God’s kingdom if you are saved, you are loved by God, and you belong here, right where you are.
One week in advance we set up a date to a beautiful place in Mississippi. My parents had taken me there when I was little, and I was itching to go back with Brad. The view was spectacular; it was like looking at a miniature version of the Grand Canyon. We took a few pictures, but the adventure seeking spirit in me took over. Regardless of the humidity and the hot temperatures that morning, I started trekking down the ravine on tiny trails that others had walked along before me. The trails faded away, Brad was wandering somewhere else, and I ended up at the bottom of the ravine. Then, I heard water which urged me to go further past the ravine and to find the source. Lo and behold, I discovered a natural spring that turned into a creek. I called out to Brad, who followed me down to the creek when he realized my excitement. If I would have stopped when I became unsure about the path ahead of me, I would not have experienced our date to the fullest. I didn’t let the heat tempt me to turn back. I kept going even when I wasn’t quite sure where Brad was at one point. It’s crazy to me how I will do this in real life, but not my own spiritual walk sometimes as much as it hurts me to admit it. I may witness and pick up on the clues and hints that God gives me in the life adventure, but I turn away and let the struggles of what may lie ahead get to me. When I can’t see the end of the trail of my future, I don’t always press on. Y’all, it’s easy to stray from the path that God wants for you especially when it’s a path made just for you that maybe no one has traveled before. Use those God given clues to get you where you need to be. Let Him lead you on the right trail for your life. Because, let’s face it, none of us can make it without Him guiding us through this life adventure.
God places dreams in our hearts and callings on our lives that we feel are unattainable. We make up excuses that we are not gifted or talented, too afraid, not equipped, or don’t have the time for it. We tell God to choose someone else for the job or keep questioning Him that He’s in control. Friend, you can’t run from God’s calling on your life. Four years ago, I was about to enter college when I felt burdened to try to become a State FFA Officer. I dreamed of this becoming a reality since I was a child. I went to State Conventions with my daddy, my ag teacher inspiration, saying, “I wanna be one of them one day.” Little did I know, that I would actually pursue the dream that never faded. I saw that it wasn’t just a dream but a calling on my life. I recognized that this was God’s way of using me for a purpose bigger than myself…ministry. I created 1,000 excuses: “I’m going to miss too much school, I won’t be able to get a good first year of college, stress will be an issue for me, and how am I going to be able to speak in front of people constantly?! God, how am I going to do this?” Then, I realized…I can’t do this, but You can do this through me. After that, I knew I had to just trust Him the whole way.
I prayed, cried, studied harder than ever, practiced, stayed up late, shook from nervousness in my blue corduroy jacket to the point the emblem could have fallen off, and my name was called.
Pursue God’s calling on your life and the dream He has given you, and trust Him with it. He will take you farther than you can ever imagine!