During the final days of school, I found myself wondering what my summer would look like. Not going to lie, I was slightly disappointed. My last two summers had been packed full of adventure and excitement, and this summer seemed….well, dull. I wasn’t going out of the country or on a family vacation, and as awful as it sounds, I felt pretty average.
Honestly, I hadn’t had much time to think about my summer plans at all. My main focus during the spring had been preparation for the Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen pageant, which was held the first week in June. I was practicing my talent, working out at the gym, reading up on my current events, and doing volunteer work with my platform and Children’s Miracle Network. But as the buzz about other people’s summer trips and opportunities continued to grow louder and louder, I became more and more disgruntled.
Backtracking a few months…I was originally planning on going to Haiti for a mission trip. I have traveled to South America with Never the Same Missions to share the Gospel for the past two years. Haiti would mean going to a new country, making new friends, and a new adventure. However, I noticed my heart just wasn’t in the right place. I was no longer dreaming about the opportunities to serve the Haitians or play with the children, I was simply excited to get a new stamp in my passport. Some of my best friends God has given me live all over the country, and this would be my only chance to see them all year. After an internal struggle and several weeks of prayer, I came to the conclusion I would take a year off from the mission trip and pray about going next year instead.
I was no longer dreaming about the opportunities to serve the Haitians or play with the children, I was simply excited to get a new stamp in my passport.
The school year continued to unfold, and so did multiple lectures about taking the ACT and applying for college. I had felt God calling me to go somewhere far from home, although I wasn’t quite sure where that was. Sometime in January, I decided that place was California. This began my journey researching “Christian colleges in California” on every search engine known to man. I narrowed it down to three prospective schools, and soon we had a trip booked to SoCal over spring break. What did that mean for our family? Our “big vacation” was now taking place in March, and we weren’t going anywhere during the summer—something that hadn’t happened in years. Despite this second trip now getting canceled, I was still determined to make it outside of Kansas at some point during the summer. After all, how could I call myself a travel blogger if I never traveled?!
My last chance to make it on a plane was to qualify for FBLA Nationals in Atlanta. For those of you who don’t know, Future Business Leaders of America is a program that gives high schoolers the chance to compete in various presentation and testing events that are business related. Last year, I received 1st place and qualified for nationals in Public Speaking I. Instead of going on to compete in Chicago, I decided to go on my mission trip to Ecuador. I had the mentality that qualifying a second year in a row would be easy. Once again, God had other plans. I ended up placing 6th in Public Speaking II, and only the Top 4 are invited to compete at nationals. It seemed as though all hope was lost and I was going to spend my last summer as a “kid” working and taking a few classes online.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized all of these disappointments were most likely the Lord trying to teach me a good lesson. After all, I’ve been given SO many opportunities in my lifetime, and He has continued to be faithful in every season. I was always remarking about how I wished I wasn’t so busy, and one laid back summer started to sound more appealing by the minute.
June 5 quickly rolled around, and I was off to compete for scholarships and the title of Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen! I was excited to see all of my hard work pay off. I had spent the last year praying over the pageant and for God’s will to be done, whether that meant me winning or not. By the day of finals, I really didn’t think that I would win and was praying for a heart of genuine excitement for the winner. That’s why when my name was called, I was utterly shocked.
I know everyone makes fun of pageant girls and their reactions when they are being crowned, but I can testify that their tears and emotions of sheer joy are 100% authentic. No one trains them to bawl like a baby or smile uncontrollably; those are simply visible signs of the overwhelming emotions they are feeling. When I was crowned, it all seemed to make sense — why I hadn’t qualified for FBLA, why I hadn’t felt called to go to Haiti, and why I virtually had nothing planned for the summer — it was all because God had something bigger and better planned, something I could’ve never imagined on my own. And that’s how God works.
It was all because God had something bigger and better planned, something I could’ve never imagined on my own. And that’s how God works.
While it seemed like God was ignoring me and focusing on other people’s lives, He was really saying, “trust me” and writing a beautiful story, all for me. I could sit here and wish I would’ve seen my mission trip friends or gone to Atlanta, but I’m not, and it’s all because God had something greater in mind.
My summer has now been full of meetings with my pageant directors, practicing my talent, working out with a personal trainer, reading about current events, raising money for Children’s Miracle Network, and preparing to spend 10 days in Orlando with 50 amazing young women. I only have six weeks between the day I was crowned until I leave for MAOTeen!!! I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if I had other trips planned. Here I thought I was in for a boring summer, and there still hasn’t been a day where I’ve even had time to think about being bored. Every day is spent doing something exciting, productive, and fulfilling.
Next time it seems like you keep running into roadblocks or God is slamming doors in your face, take a moment to think about what else may be in store for you. Because I guarantee you there is an open door waiting for you up ahead that you might have missed if you stepped through another one.
With love, Paige
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6