Jodi Paige Palmer, you are:
a snuggler in a twin bed, a car ride with needtobreathe music and windows down, a large sweet tea from Chick-fil-a, a beautiful day outside reading a book and listening to music, a fuzzy blanket, personality tests, a trip to New York City, countless Target dollar aisle items, a good book, but best yet- you are a big hug of safety.
I have been watching Jodi pack up. Pack up her room, her friends, and her life here in College Station. It was just three years ago that Jodi and I moved to Aggieland- excited yet fearful for what was ahead. Now, I sit and watch. What I see is a job well done by JP. She has loved well to those that she has met. She gave to an organization that shape women to be a woman of word and deed. I have encountered many "ah ha" moments at various coffee shops and parks.
Somehow, Jodi managed to graduate in three years- nothing any of us have seen coming. But just today, Jodi proclaimed that she has seen her purpose in College Station come to a close. Of course, the Lord has a strategic plan to take her to a new season. Jodi expressed to me that she realizes the Forge is the next season that will lead to tremendous growth.
Yet, it does not make it easier to see Jodi leave- being someone that was just comfortable. For crying out loud, we lived together for two years- lived in really close corners with one another. I am sure I had grind her gears and vice versa. But with knowing and learning from Jodi, I was exposed to different personality types and multiple ways of doing things. Jodi took experiences and opportunities as they came- making each day a big "YES!" It was with Jodi that it is okay to be different from your friends- that people's differences can aid to your weaknesses and compliment your strengths.
My favorite memories are those that the Lord knocked us to our knees. Many times, the Lord brought us together in brokenness. Isn't that the beauty of community? It was right around this time two years ago. Life defeated me- knocked me to my knees. I called Jodi from the top of the Calloway Parking Garage in tears. I can not remember much from that night, but what I recall is someone running up all of the flights of stairs, opened the driver side door and pulled me out. That someone turned out to be Jodi, bending at the knees as she had just sprinted up the stairs. She pulled me out of my sadness and entered into communion of brokenness. She sat and wept with me in my exhaustion. Here, the Lord broke my barrier of the need to be put together. He allowed Jodi to step into my moment of weakness- to join in community.
Thursday, I watched Jodi walk across the stage. That was not the difficult part. What was tough was seeing Jodi pack up all of her things, things that have become so familiar to me over the years. As I caught Jodi walking out of her house, I saw her head a little higher and her strength a little stronger. Because of steadfast faithfulness, she has obeyed her calling. It is funny though- when I first met Jodi, she cringed at the idea of feelings. One of the best moments for me is seeing the Lord break away that wall of fear of emotions and build up a wall of brokenness that is not weak. Together, we learned that there is not weakness found in being broken. Because being broken is the simple idea of Christ's love. By being broken is being closer to the image of Jesus. Watching Jodi realize the hard and sweet truth of brokenness was the best thing I have been able to witness.
My girl taught me the idea of “being present.” She taught me what it is like to be adventurous and rallied behind me when I had to humbly obey the Lord's calling. She loved my family well- more than I could ever ask for and something I was fearful of entering into college. Our pillow talks were meaningful and hard questions were posed in those moments. She entered into the broken areas of my life and held me in moments of weakness.
We hugged goodbye and in that moment, I was taken back to the beginning. In that hug I realized that Jodi is done. She has no need to come back to this place. Though she will visit, her time here is finished. She completed the race that was marked out for her and she ended well. Jodi Paige is now on to a new endeavor. She is entering into the next calling that our Father has ever sweetly invited her into. In the Fall, Jodi will be doing a discipleship program through Pine Cove Christian Camp called, The Forge. It is here that Jodi will continue to experience a desperate dependence of knowing Christ Jesus.
In the hug that lead to unexpected tears, I held on a little tighter. Closing my eyes to think back to the moment we unpacked our things for the very first time three years ago. What I wanted was to remember this moment- remember this answered prayer that Jodi was. A friend that I was on my knees for in prayer- a friend that would respect me, rally behind my dreams and passions and love Jesus more than she would ever love her coffee.
To the friend that I prayed for as a high schooler, thank you. Thank you for dreaming big with me Jodi girl. Heres to a new normal ahead- to new memories and new life stages.