The Story Behind the Peacock

It is no secret to any one who knows me that I'm single. Now that I think about it ... I hope that's not the first thing people think of when they think of me, because if it is, boy have I messed things up. Anyway, two years ago this summer, I was still reeling from my recent graduation from college and my 7 week trip to East Asia when God laid it on my heart to intentionally investigate my aversion to singleness and what it would take to convince me that He is enough {did I mention ... in a very public way a.k.a. this blog on the internet}. 

The journey I set out on in July of 2011 was one that no one could have prepared me for. As I've stated on this oh so public blog more than once, I've always been single. Yep, the always and forever alone Jenna. {haha. just kidding. kind of} Junior High. single. High school. single. College. single. Grad school. single. You get the picture? {I figured you would}. Please note this is in no way a pity party. I'm actually very thankful for my singleness despite how I've painted it so far in my life. If it hadn't been for my singleness, I probably would have never become the girl woman I am today {eh not a huge fan of referring to myself as a woman ... I need to work on that}. If I hadn't been single, I might not have worked at Garaywa for two summers. If I hadn't been single, I might not have gone to Ukraine or East Asia the past four summers. If I hadn't been single, I might not have even gone to grad school. I definitely wouldn't have known that I can 100% survive/flourish with the love/intimacy found in Jesus alone. I wouldn't have found {over the past 24 years} some of the most amazing girls/women/best friends on the planet. I want to tell you about one girl in particular. So for those who have been waiting, always wondered, or have no idea what I'm talking about, here's the story behind the peacock.
We were an unlikely pair to say the least. The chances that we would ever make it as friends were slim to none. She was beautiful. smart. talented. did I mention smart? And she was from Alabama. No way was I gonna be friends with some girl from Alabama. Due to circumstances completely unrelated to our own lives, we decided that the other one didn't like each other. {did you get that? we didn't not like each other, but we both thought that the other didn't like the other. clear??} We allowed this invisible wall to be built between us for an entire semester of school. Sure, there were pleasantries, and we were pledge sisters nonetheless which meant we loved each other in a sort of way we weren't quite sure of yet. 

Well, I've never claimed to be very smart as it is, but you throw in statistics and you will really see how not smart I am. One B after another B led me to the door of none other than Brooke Elmore {and on a Saturday night nonetheless}. I don't remember exactly how it went down, but at some point in the next hours we spent together I wrote a statistics report and made a best friend who would continue to impact and change my life for the rest of time. I think I knew she was my best friend when we bonded over baking brownies and skipping formals. After many a road trips with her to good ole Gordo, Alabama, I realized this Alabama girl wasn't so bad. I even found myself an adopted set of grandparents in Pickens county. There are no better memories in my mind than slumber parties at Big Momma's and the diet mountain dew that went along with them.

{sorry, I've gotten a little sidetracked} About the peacock. For the most part, Brooke and I {the most part is directed toward Brooke :)} both remained single for our college years much to our dismay over the lack of Christians guys beating down our doors. Christmas break of our sophomore year, Brooke and I both headed to EA together and watched as couples after couples formed on the trip. dating couples, engaged couples, and stupid boys chasing other girls. And here we were. The W girls. & no boys in sight. I lost count of the number of MSU BSUs we drove to on Tuesdays nights. We weren't hunting for Mr. Right whatsoever, but it came to a certain point where we felt like we had met every Christian guy in the state of MS and not a single one of them had even given us a second look. 

After two years at the W, we were disappointed. The school year ended, and I set out for Clinton, MS and my 2nd summer as a cabin leader at Garaywa despite my strong desires to go overseas & my sadness for leaving my best friend for like 3 months. We stayed in touch by phone every now and then & she tried to keep me updated on all of our friends. One particular time, she told me that my best friend from 6th grade {but also our mutual best friend} had been doing some crafting/painting & as usual, she had been giving them away when she didn't like how they turned out. Humorously, Brooke had told me about a peacock Jessica had painted. She sent me a picture, and we talked about how cute it was & blah, blah, blah. She just so happens to be like the best friend ever and would send me the cutest mail. I loved getting mail at camp. There was just something special about someone taking the time out of their busy schedule to brighten your day. It's been such a long time ago, but I remember it being about halfway through the summer {I was really missing my best friend}, and it was a Friday. {THE DAY THE CAMPERS WENT HOME} Some weeks I was more excited about this than others. I had just sent off all my campers and headed down to the staff room for our weekly meeting. When I walked into the staff room, I noticed this GIGANTIC package leaning against the mailboxes. I went and found a seat for the meeting {minding my own business} when someone asked me if I was going to open my package. I was in shock. The HUGE package was for ME?? I ripped it open and lo an behold, a peacock with bright colors {my favorite} from none other than my best friend, Brooke.

But the real surprise was when I turned it over and read the note in Brooke's handwriting ... the words that will be forever ingrained in my heart. She wrote on there that we were like peacocks who were shy around large crowd and wouldn't show their feathers for just anyone. We didn't walk around flaunting our "amazing-ness," but instead we were waiting for God's best to truly appreciate us for all our pretty colors and of course our "amazing-ness." That peacock has traveled with me to each place that I have lived and serves as a constant reminder that God is working. 
God is faithful. God is good. God is loving. God is amazing.

All in all, it may seem like just a silly story to someone, but this girl I call my best friend has stood by my side in the good and the bad, she cried on my shoulder and I have cried on hers. We have grown together, we have laughed {A LOT} together, we have traveled together. We have faced loss together. We have been scared together. We have worried together. & we have enjoyed life together. We have loved God together. We have pushed each other toward a closer walk with Him. We have discovered what it means to wait for God's best and never settle for less.
That peacock just looks like a peacock to most people. But God used that peacock to work in my heart, and He showed me that because He loves me, He has richly blessed my life with friendships {like the one I have with Brooke Elmore}, beauty, and an unknown future. That unknown future may seem daunting right now, but He has it under control. He knows the ins and outs of my future. He is molding me into the creation He knows will bring Him the most glory. My story is just beginning, and although being a grown up scares the mess out of me, I know God has placed and will continue to place beautiful friendships/relationships in my life.

To God be the glory for all that He has done.

Learning to be the Light,