*Edited to add: I use too many words and there are now three parts to this story. :) You can view Part Two here.*

In case you missed it, I shared last week that I’m the (in)tern at (in)courage!

Yep, it’s just as wonderful as you would imagine it to be.

I’m doing something else equally wonderful this summer and – cliffhanger – we’re going to have to back track before I share what it is. Because it’s the background that makes the Story have so much more meaning.


Backtrack with me to 9th grade.

{Yep, we’re going back a ways. Hang in there with me, God shows Himself Faithful and it’s a fun ride. :)}

My church had gone to this thing called Student Leadership University a few times and two of my best girlfriends and I had been anxiously awaiting our turn to go with our high school group. When we entered 9th grade, we were told that our church was taking a year off going since we were going overseas to Jamaica on a mission trip that summer.

Well, the three of us wanted to do both. So we raised the money, sent out support letters, and were so excited to attend SLU and go to Jamaica! Because our youth group wasn’t going to SLU, the three of us went as singles.

{If you’ve never heard of SLU, it’s basically a four day leadership training for high school students. We sit in about 20 sessions during those four days and we learn what it means to be a Christian leader in our schools and churches. Everything from having a biblical worldview to how to be organized is covered in those four days. It’s SO much important information, but it’s balanced with fun! We go to SeaWorld before it opens, and we spend a few hours hanging out and riding the rides at Universal. So, tons of intense training, and breaks for fun!}

Since all the singles didn’t have a group to debrief with at the end of each day, we were put into the Singles Group. We got to meet other people who also have a heart for leading, and it was great. But the main thing about the group is that one of our leaders was Amy.

Amy was seriously the most kind, genuine person you’ll ever meet. She was a Samford student and loved talking about SU, but never pushed it on us.

See, most of the leaders at Student Leadership University are representatives of Christian schools. There were about 8 schools that sent representatives that year, and Amy and some random guy {no idea who – oops} were the Samford people that summer. Each duo gave a 3-5 presentation on their school, and it was super helpful.

As high school students, we really don’t know what we’re doing with our lives.

Oh, we think we have ideas and plans – we don’t.


I left SLU 101 feeling like I had just been run over by a truck of leadership. It made a difference and still to this day I remember some of the sessions. I kept in touch with Amy the following year, and was so excited to hear she would be going back to SLU 201 the next summer!

The two girls and I had gone back to our youth group and shared how much we loved it, so a group of us went the following summer to 201 in Washington D.C. At 201, we learned about the (biblical) truths our country was founded upon. I was really happy to see Amy again, and learn even more about leadership.

Another highlight of the trip was seeing our old youth pastor. Our middle school pastor had left to finish divinity school at Samford, some random college none of us had ever heard of. ;)

He had been at 101 and I was so glad to see him again at 201!

I left 201 knowing I wanted to come back as a leader, but not knowing how that could happen – I didn’t even know what college I would attend!

After visiting a college I had completely expected to fall in love with – and not falling in love – I was completely lost on where to look. I knew what I was looking for, but didn’t have any idea where to find it. Both my youth pastor and Amy knew what I wanted in a college, and they both encouraged me to come visit Samford. “It’s everything you’re looking for!” they promised. :)

So I came. I toured the place and within minutes knew I was home.

I saw Amy and even “ran into” my youth pastor while I was there. :) So I knew: Samford was home. And as an added bonus, I knew Samford sent people to SLU – I mean, that’s where I first heard of Samford!
I came back as a senior in high school…
…and then eventually moved in!
Y’all. I don’t pack light. And I was looking rough after moving it all in – don’t judge. Although the fact that on move in day I was wearing the same shirt as when I first visited? Love that! Completely accidental and I honestly didn’t even realize until typing this post right now! Ha!
Anyways, college began and I forgot about applying for SLU until it was too late. I missed the deadline by a week! I was determined not to miss it as a sophomore.
But then I started working for (in)courage. It was only supposed to be for the fall semester, but they asked me to stay on for spring. And I happily said yes!
Over Jan. Term I got all my rec letters together for SLU, talked to the Samford SLU person, and tried to set up an interview. Since SLU is over the summer, I didn’t see a conflict…except I was hoping to stay with (in)courage.
I knew it wasn’t possible to do both, but I also knew SLU had been my dream for five years and I wasn’t going to simply give up on it.
So I didn’t.
I didn’t give up. I sent email after email, got all my recs together, and waited…
…and waited.
And finally, I gave up. I felt certain God had closed that door.
I said yes to some things and no to others, and made plans for summer that didn’t include SLU.
But then I got an email…
*I’ll be wrapping this {incredibly lengthy} story up tomorrow! Hope you’ll come back then – it’s about to get to the good part :)*