Today we’re wrapping up what I’m doing for this summer. Yes, by the end of this post, you will have your answer.

I’m 99.9% sure anyone could guess it by now, but the way it happened is a little incredible.

To catch up real quick, read Part One and Part Two.

Let’s begin, shall we?

I wanted to go into the interview without knowing. Partly so I could be completely focused on the interview – because it was with a great company I was definitely interested in interning with – and also because I wasn’t ready to know…
Because what if the email said yes? Then what?
I had been praying hard all week that one of the two doors would be closed – an easy decision. That’s what I wanted. Since the (in)courage door was already open, I knew I was essentially asking God to shut the SLU door. But every time, I said that I would walk through what He opened, and trust that Plan.
It was in His hands…I just wasn’t ready to see the outcome.
My advisor emailed me and so I jumped on email real quick to respond. I consciously thought, “DON’T look at the SLU email. Wait 3 more hours.”
But I forgot that our email system works like an iPhone. It pulls up the first line of the message. The email from my advisor was right above the SLU email and I couldn’t help but see, no matter how hard I tried to avoid it:
“CONGRATULATIONS! We’re so excited to tell you…….”
A smile spread so big across my face and I started jumping and dancing around my room…

…until a few seconds, maybe five, passed by…and then?

Then the tears came.
Because this was the outcome I hadn’t wanted. I had to choose between my two dreams.
SLU. My dream for the past five years. A huge honor, as only one girl on campus is chosen to represent Samford. A way to represent both Jesus and Samford to high school students. A way to pour myself out and love on them as they work hard to learn what it means to be a leader.
(in)courage. My dream for the future. A place I could work at for the rest of my life. Amazing experience for me as a journalism student. Working with absolutely phenomenal people. A way to love on women all around the world and encourage them as they seek to grow closer to God and community.
I felt like I was choosing between my long-time dream that was actually a temporary thing, or a new dream that would last much longer.
I pushed it all aside, went to my interview {and really liked the company and the people a lot!} and then came back to the dorm. I Skyped my parents that night and thanked God over and over that I was going home the next day for Spring Break. I needed to talk to them in person.
They were both SO excited for me – they knew how long SLU had been a dream of mine. When I mentioned I would get paid for my time there, I could tell that’s what they were hoping I would choose…but when I explained I would have to quit (in)courage, they immediately weren’t so sure.
See, they’ve heard me talk. They’ve seen me work. They know just how much I love everything I do there.
So. My parents were torn.
I talked to Lisa-Jo Monday morning before going to see my mentor. I was so nervous y’all. Because I wasn’t quitting, but I wasn’t staying. I felt torn 50/50. There was no ‘right’ answer, no door for me to clearly walk through.
I felt like I explained the situation pretty clearly, but walked away from the conversation even more confused. I felt like if I left (in)courage now, it wouldn’t be likely that I could come back later. Because honestly, I already knew: if I left, they’d hire someone new. And I would train the new person and then they would take over and stay on after the summer.
And that dream of mine would be gone. How could I walk away?
My mentor and I spent hours going back and forth. We argued it both ways and finally she looked at me and said, “This isn’t a spiritual decision. You aren’t picking between lazing around all summer and going on a mission trip. Both of these will bring God glory and the thing is, He’s letting you choose. It’s your choice, and neither option is bad. They’re both exactly what you want, that’s why it’s so hard.”
And I knew. I knew how right she was, because the night I got the email I just laid in bed, unable to sleep, praying for Him to show me what would bring Him the most glory. I said over and over “just show me where I’ll give you the most glory, where Your name will be most spread and glorified. I’ll go there. In a heartbeat, I’ll choose that one. Just show me.”
And He didn’t – because each one would do just as much good. Each one would love on people, just a different type of people in a different place in life.
I wasn’t choosing between bad and good, or even good and great.
I was choosing between great and great.
After hours and lots of prayer, I decided to choose SLU. I couldn’t turn down a five year dream, and I had finally come to the realization that this job with (in)courage was a complete miracle – something completely not of myself, but fully of God. If I really believed that, then I believed that He would either make a way for me to rejoin (in)courage, or He would provide something better.
My choice was made: SLU
She kept questioning me though. “Are you excited? This is what you’ve wanted. You don’t seem too excited.”
And every time: “I want both. I can’t have both, but He opened both doors and I just want to walk through both of them at the same time.”
So we sat. We thought. We planned. We wrote.
We came up with a way for me to do (in)courage while being at SLU for those five weeks. A schedule, of sorts, so that I could have both dreams.
But again {like the wonderful mentor she is}, she questioned me…”Can you do this? Can you work from 5am-11pm for SLU every day, and then commit to going back to your room and working for (in)courage, no matter how long it takes, and then waking up the next morning and doing it all again. Can you do this for five weeks? And more importantly, do you want to? Will you give up free time at SLU on the weekends to work for (in)courage? Will you regret it? Are. You. Sure?”
Yes. To all of it. There wasn’t any hesitation…because I know this: I can survive for five weeks. I can work ahead and I can make it happen. I can handle two jobs at once and I can do each of them to the very best of my ability. I can give everything I have to both, at the same time. I know it.
Not because of me. None of it because of me.
All because of Him. He gives enough strength for each day, and He opened both doors.
It all came back to that: two open doors, opened by the Faithful King and friend.
So maybe I didn’t have to choose.
I emailed the Samford SLU person and accepted the position. The deadline to accept was Monday at midnight…I couldn’t wait any longer.
Then I sent my plan to Lisa-Jo and waited with anticipation. I wasn’t expecting a yes, I was just hoping for a “we’ll think about it and see if it’ll work for us this summer, and we’ll let you know!”
I saw the email come in and could barely open it. But I had to look. I had to know.
They said yes.
Not no and not even maybe, we’ll get back to you.
Yes. Just yes.
And I cried. I sat on my bed, tears coming down as I thanked God for not only opening the door wide to both of my dreams, but allowing me to walk through them both. I texted my mentor and we celebrated via iPhone, and then I went and found my parents. Before I said a word, the ear-to-ear grin on my face gave it away.
I waited another day to make sure everything was settled, and then I put this up, praising and thanking God for His goodness:

I am SO EXCITED to announce I’ve been chosen to represent Samford University at Student Leadership University (SLU) this summer!!! Samford chooses two students and it’s an honor to go back to SLU as a leader! I’m even MORE excited to be staying with incourage at the same time! God opened two doors and I couldn’t be more excited to walk through them both! Summer 2013, you’re going to be great!!!

43 likes and 15 comments later, this comment is what made me stop in my tracks and thank Him all over again:

Lisa-Jo Baker: So proud of you!

Because y’all? (in)courage is my family.
And at the end of the day, that’s why I didn’t know how to walk away.
And thanks be to God, I’m sticking around and these crazy people are letting me!
I’m not sure when I’ve been so excited about the future. I know those five weeks will probably be the craziest, most stressful, running-on-zero-sleep weeks of my life thus far. But I will literally be spending every waking moment pouring into others and encouraging those around me.
I couldn’t imagine anything better.
To Him who works all things together for the good of those who seek Him, to Him who is Faithful in all things – even the long-time dreams, to Him who knows me better than I know myself, and provides what’s needed in each moment: To Him {alone} be the glory.
Summer 2013: Get ready. I’m comin’ for ya.