I'M SO FULL RIGHT NOW.
Not my stomach (the last meal I ate was in Ohio ten hours ago), but my heart. The conference I just attended was designed for youth workers, to deepen their knowledge and widen their abilities and grow in faith and be refreshed in mind, body, and soul. I learned a lot - the knowledge and abilities and faith part. But that heart part...ahh.
That's what full right now, my heart. Even though...
I arrived back in Florida to my trusty Roxanne the Mini Van (which pretty much contains the contents of my life) breaking down two miles out of the airport.
The tow truck driver's truck broke down (ironic) and we waited over two hours for a tow.
I get home to a messy house that I had zero time to clean before I left, so now in addition to the previous mess there is luggage strewn all about.
My smoke alarm beeps every thirty seconds. Beep...beep. I took it off the wall. STILL beeping. I took out the battery. STILL BLEEPING BEEPING. What?!
I have one student job shadowing me tomorrow and two more students expecting me to take them to the beach (fun job shadow day, right?)...which is gonna be SO awesome considering my van is in a lot in ORLANDO!
Did I mention I haven't eaten in ten hours?
But as I type there are two bracelets on my wrist. One says "joy" and the other "love does." And those things are why my heart is happy tonight.
My heart is full because I had to friends willing to drive out (after they both took NyQuill - remind me to check that next time) and hour to come pick up three stranded women. Love does.
My heart is full because being stranded meant two more hours with some of my favorite ladies and another hour with my favorite guys. Joy.
My heart is full because my messy house is a sign of LIFE! Someone real lives here. Someone that is full of adventure and travels and lets laundry pile up for too long because there's not enough time to do that when there's a hammock and Donald Miller or Shauna Niequist calling your name! Or a high school softball game. Joy.
I'm still trying to find the joy in the beeping smoke detector. My love does not cover that. That's just annoying.
My heart is full because...let's be real here. Take a look again at my job description for tomorrow: "two students expecting me to take them to the beach." Who gets to do that for a job? Especially after six cold days in the north...joy, unspeakable JOY.
My heart is full because even though I'm hungry, I'm remembering back to that last meal in Columbus. Columbus, Columbus...where love does and joy wins. I ate with Jordyn, my #reallybuddy*, before we boarded a flight where we talked and dreamed and got crazy off Sprite. And it was the last meal of many we shared that weekend, meals that fed my soul as much as they fed my body. Jordyn makes me want to live bigger adventures. She volunteers me for rap-offs (bad idea) and thinks an ice cream run on a freezing night is a great idea (it is). We stayed up till 2:30 this morning giggling. She gets why it's important to be real and authentic, and she is both of those things, and I love her.
I'm full because I was fed this weekend. I was affirmed. I was encouraged. When I'm called by name from the speaker on the main stage, and she speaks of the transformation she sees in my life, and how I inspire her, and tells the crowd, "Sarah, you're my hero," that's encouragement. That's affirmation. It's undeserved. SHE is a rock star. SHE is my hero. Brooklyn has the same realness and authenticity that Jordyn has, and I hope I have. Love does.
This weekend was about people. Not just Jordyn and Brooklyn, but everyone I met. In the youth ministry world, we're all a team. We're family. So whether I'm hanging with Jordan Howerton who's about to go lead worship, or Cameron who leads kids in Canada, or Brandon who has a sweet job in my dream city, I know they get me. We're in this together. In sessions, hallways, restaurants, airplanes, and hotels, I met the most incredible people this weekend. Our conversations and interactions shaped me. I'll be forever grateful for that. I don't want them to end!
Pure hearts. Authentic lives. True desire for transformation. Laughter. Story.
That's what I saw this weekend. That's what I experienced. And now that I'm back in Lakeland, that's what I want more of. It's what I'm striving for in my life, and maybe you want to join me. Let's keep being real. Let's keep listening to people's stories. Let's make sure we get enough time with our #reallybuddies and call out words of affirmation and encouragement upon them. Let's care about what is important and let go of what's not. Let's keep the conversation going. And let's remember that we get all of it because God is SO GOOD. It blows my freaking mind. God's just...he's got it going on.
Let's let love do its thing and be joyful as we watch it unfold. This vapor of life...breathe it in. Let's be full.
*reallybuddy: a shortened way of saying "good buddies for a really long time," coined by the Skit Guys this weekend. It's okay if you don't get it...Jo Mil knows what I'm talking about.