I was raised by my grandparents in Old Fort, NC. They were inspired by the background and stories of Mr. and Mrs. Carter. One of their goals was to have the honor of meeting the Carters. Sadly, they both passed away without achieving their dream. On May 15, 2016, I was honored to attend Sunday with Mr. Carter. The lesson was about commitment. Something the former president said during the message resonated with me. He admitted that he was almost 40 when he truly found a passion in being committed to something. I lived my live feeling that I was doing the ‘right’ things, yet I was haunted by the thought that I had never actually committed my life, not fully. In visiting the church, although I was truly thankful for the experience, I felt I was following through for my grandparents and my family. (My uncle Jim, a minister and the only son of my grandparents, was battling cancer. He cried when I send him a picture of me with the Carters. He told my mother that he regretted not making the trip himself. He died 3 days later on May 18.)
I am happily married with 3 amazing children. I am a school counselor and took care of my grandparents and great-grandparents as long as physically and medically possible. Even with dedicating my life to serving and helping others, I found myself struggling with the idea that I had not fully committed to anything in my life. My faith felt strong, my desire to do for others drove me, and I sincerely felted devoted. However, I always seemed to hold some part of me back. At the root, I discovered that I allowed fear to be more powerful than faith or family. Through prayers, honest reflecting, reading, and support, I am discovering more happiness and strength every day. I am devoted to discovering the gifts God has in store not only for me, but also for my family and those around me. I pray that God will work through me and for me. I am not a long-suffering woman who is getting by, I am a woman whose faith was challenged, and has become stronger, due to questioning and becoming committed to finding peace and positiveness. I was truly blessed by my visit.
Since my first visit, I have stepped out in faith, changed schools, and have made it a point to offer support, acceptance, understanding, and love to every student, family, and staff member that I have the privilege of working with. My fear has been replaced by faith. I am eternally grateful for the personal insight that Mr. Carter offered. I know my life was changed. I am committed to making a positive difference every day.