I can remember on my 12th birthday, my mom planned a surprise party for me at a burger restaurant in town. We arrived to the restaurant only to find all my best friends already sitting outside with a birthday party ready for me! I screamed and couldn’t believe it!! I was totally surprised, and it was the best feeling knowing that my mom loved me so much to plan something like that for me, and, in turn, I felt so loved by my friends making time to surprise me and keep it all a secret.
Over the past weekend, I was lucky enough to find myself finishing a visit in the Carolinas, which allowed me to surprise a very special friend and also a very special group of ladies. Surprises are the BEST y’all, and I am so grateful we get to be apart of them.
I started my two weeks of travel with three visits for work. First, to Boone, NC to visit the ladies of Appalachian State, where it snowed so hard the week I was there that two days of classes were cancelled! Being the Texas girl I am, I actually loved it, and was grateful for the chance to experience what it’s like to live in a city where it snows. The mountains were beautiful and seeing the city covered in snow made me feel like I was in the heart of winter, when actually it was March.
Following my snowy time in Boone, I made my way over to Greensboro, NC to visit the ladies of UNCG. While I was there, I got to attend their Senior Brunch, where they celebrated and recognized all the seniors who are getting ready to graduate. Tears came to my eyes as I heard time after time these women talking about the inspirations they are to one another, how they’ve carried them through some of the toughest times of their lives, and how they’ve pushed them to own who they are and be the best versions of themselves they can be, even when it’s hard. This chapter has some incredible Sisterhood, and I am so grateful I got to witness it.
Last, I popped over to Winston-Salem to visit the gals of Wake Forest, and I was in LOVE! The school felt very similar to my own, TCU (go frogs), so I felt right at home. These ladies are making an IMPACT, not only in their community in Winston-Salem, but around the world, as nearly all of them study abroad at one point or another. The passion and hard work they put into Chi Omega, school, and all other forms of campus involvement was truly inspiring and made me want to come back to Memphis and find ways to give back.
All three of these chapters impacted me in different ways, leading me to remember, once again, the monumental impact Chi Omega has on our lives. The ways it brings us together, allows us to meet new people, thus, inspiring us to grow individually as the people we meet encourage us daily.
Now…onto the surprises!!
Surprise #1 was for one of my very best friends, KJ. KJ and I met my first day as a NLC because we were roommates at training. Immediately, I was blown away by her contagious joy, positive spirit, and unwavering belief in herself and those around her. KJ instills this confidence in me that I didn’t know I had. She is the ultimate encourager, while always keeping it real. She is fearless and faithful. And she has friends who love her loyally and a husband who cares for her tremendously.
He organized for all her friends to surprise her over the weekend, and throughout the course of the weekend, KJ had five different friends surprise her! Every time someone else walked in the door, she would drop to the floor, scream, and then cry because she was so happy to see them. It brought me so much joy to see her so happy and to know we could all come together to give her the best birthday present ever — being with her friends.
Surprise #2 was something else, y’all. After I finished surprising KJ, my girl Div and I drove over to Myrtle Beach, SC to surprise my loves at Coastal Carolina. All semester they’ve been reaching out to me, wondering when I was going to come…but all they had to do was be a little patient and the surprise finally came! The moment I stepped foot in that classroom, the girls erupted with screams and hugged me immediately. I even knocked my girl Monica to the ground I was so overwhelmed!
Holy moly was that night incredible. Incredible to see all of my sweet girls again who I had gotten to know so well all fall. Who became my family. Who I got to see grow from new members into initiated Chi Omega women. Who I got to see develop into the strong, influential leaders they are today. Just to get to hug them all, even for just a minute, and hear that they are doing well, made my heart so full. To receive such overwhelming love was truly the best gift I could have received. I love them all so much and am so proud of each of them every day.
This love that I felt by surprising my CCU girls, the love KJ felt by her husband and all her friends, and the love that my Chi Omega ladies share with one another every day while I am on the road visiting chapters, is immense, encouraging, and fulfilling. But still, it is only a GLIMPSE of how massive God’s love is for us all. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by love that you couldn’t explain it? Well, I definitely have after this weekend, and words don’t do it justice. It leaves you speechless, and all I can marvel at is that there is more to come.
The love of our Father is so much greater than anything we could experience in this life, and that just puts me in awe. Straight up AWE. And because of that ineffable love that God has for us, He sent His only son Jesus to die on a cross for our sins so that we would not be enslaved by sin or death ever again. And this weekend, we celebrate his death and resurrection. We celebrate that immense love that sacrificed everything so we could have his love freely, full of grace, not having to earn any piece of it. Our God is so so good. Our God loves us more than we will ever experience here on earth. And when He gives us those glimpses of what it’s like to be loved that way, oooo man do I want to hold onto those moments forever! I am so grateful for the ways God uses Chi Omega in my life to show me His great love. Only because of His grace and goodness do I get to experience such joy.