Before the sun rose today, my brother embarked for D.C. to attend George Washington University’s school of law. The next three years of his life will consist of the most difficult work he has ever done. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from being a part of his life for the last nineteen years, it’s that no challenge and no adversity has been too difficult or great for him to conquer by use of his strength, perseverance, and incessantly positive attitude and outlook—all characteristics the Lord has blessed him with.

I’ve observed him as he has completed some of the major journeys of his youth from childhood to high school to college, and now I look forward to seeing him take on grad school. He has inspired me to be a hard-working, diligent student who is able to make incredible friends and memories while also getting the most out of my education when I begin my college journey this fall.

Everyone, whether they acknowledge or not, is on a journey. As I’ve grown, I’ve learned that the end of one journey is merely the beginning of another.

After an outstanding four years at UNC Chapel Hill, Ethan is venturing onto the long, demanding path that is law school, but he’s so ready for it. The knowledge, life experience, growth in faith, and close friendships he has acquired over the last four years have prepared him for it, even in ways he isn’t aware of yet.

I’ve been blessed beyond reason to be homeschooled from K-12. Being able to tailor my education has been a big part of how far I’ve come, not only as a student but also as a person. And it’s all thanks to my mother. This fall, I’m headed to UNC Charlotte to pursue my career aspiration, and it’s an endeavor I’ve looked forward to ever since God planted the seed for this passion in my heart that has grown into something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. And I’m not afraid of what lies ahead of me because I know that as long as He is directing my path, I’m headed in the right direction.

In a matter of weeks, my mom will officially become an empty-nester. This will be the end of a journey that has lasted a little over twenty-two years, and the beginning of a new journey that will bring along many different yet fulfilling and exciting experiences. I’ll still be close to home in college, but it will certainly be a transition for both of us.

I know that she will miss Ethan and that she will miss me, but she’s dedicated her life to helping prepare us for our lives, for our journeys. She can look back on those years and smile and praise the Lord for giving her the wisdom, fortitude, intelligence, and love to get her through it all.

The best part about these journeys is that each one is meant to prepare us for the next.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

This verse really weighed on my heart as I spent one last day with my brother before he moved to D.C. It applies to everyone, but its significance is especially great at this point in our lives. Because life just gets harder with age. But we can take comfort in knowing that God loves us and that the trials of our lives are meant to build us up, as shown in the beginning of James.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

James 1:2-4

Unexplored territory can be utterly terrifying, if you choose to walk alone.

Trust in God.

He’s the ultimate navigator. He’ll get you where you need to go, even if His destination of choice doesn’t match up with the one you anticipated. It’s infinitely better than anything we could have chosen for ourselves.


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