an eternal experience

"I've heard all the stories
I've seen all the signs
Witnessed all the glory
Tasted all that's fine
But nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You, Lord."
-Third Day

What a whirlwind of a summer I've had! Probably the most exciting couple months of my life to date, no joke, right up there with front row Kenny Chesney! Let me chronicle here some of the excitement:

It all started with a radio blurb that my dear friend Helena heard, which ended up landing me a spot in a major motion picture, in the stands at a football game seated directly behind Kimberly Williams Paisley, who plays the wife of Matthew McConaughey's character in the movie We Are Marshall, set to be in theaters in late October... Look for me in the crowd at the Morehead/Marshall game, it'll be a fun game of 'Where's Anna Kathryn'!! Anyways, that thrilling opportunity gained me some friends in the directors who I won't soon forget, and landed me a trip to the film's wrap party, where I stood forehead to cheek with Matthew for a picture, and then shook hands and talked for a minute or two... So that was a pretty exciting time of my life....

The very next week I met my fabulous cousin and best friend, Emily, in SUNSET Beach, where we found ourselve mingling with wild animals, literally, as apes and tigers crawled all over us looking for the perfect photo opp... Well, we found several, and marked that day as probably one of the neatest experiences of our lives...

A couple weeks later I went up to the great state of Tennessee to work in the kitchen with the best cook I know... I spent the week cooking 60+ eggs and whatever else we ate all week, and serving 50+ camp kids and counselors and had the time of my life... I saw some great people I hadn't seen since camp last year and I met some new people who I'm so excited to know.... It was a great week, and I was very sad to leave, but, unfortunately life in Georgia continues even when I'm gone, and my expert phone answering services (ha!) were much needed back at Milton Martin Honda...

Just three days after I got back to Georgia, and after yet ANOTHER mistaken "are you still in high school" comment, I took the tragic trip to my friend and life mentor, Carolyn's house, for not so much a trim, and lost more than a foot of hair.... Fearing deep down that I would lose part of who I am, I had an extensive photo shoot before and after the 'cutting,' so that I would remember what it was like... All went well, and I lived to tell about it.... And now people say, "You look older, like, your age!!" Wow.

In the midst of all of this excitement, I'm driving around in my car, high above the cars around me, on cloud nine, thinking back to my special time with Matthew, when I hear a familiar voice on the radio... It's Mac Powell, of Third Day, singing the final notes of a song I've known and loved for months... I think to myself, "Hmmm...." and put in the cd... I play the live version, where Mac stops singing midway into the song and says these words, pretty much directly to me:

"In our lives, no matter where we could go, or who we could meet, or what we could see, or what we could earn or be given to us, or accomplish, there is nothing in our lives that will ever even come close to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ, our Lord."

God is so good! He blesses us richly everyday with exciting opportunities, and just life itself... and how often do we live for those experiences, and stand in complete awe and excitement of them, instead of the One who set them into motion? That's crazy... I think back on the last 2 months, and I have some fun memories, I did some things that I'll never forget... but in the long run, none of it does anything for anyone unless I use it to glorify God, and allow Him to use me in those experiences... I don't know why it all happens the way it does, but if the only reason that God allowed me to do all these exciting things in the past two months was to remind me of the fact that without Him, none of it would have been possible, and the fact that He wants my desire not to be life experiences, but to experience Him, then He did it... That's what I want, and that's my prayer.... Because nothing, not Matthew McConaughey's cheek on my forehead, not orangutans and tigers sitting on my lap, or any amount of time in east Tennessee, not even looking like I'm out of high school, none of that will ever even come close to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord... What a great feeling that is, because, honestly, when will I ever be that close to Matthew again, and why would it matter if I was? When am I ever going to want to fork out that kind of cash to hang out with wild animals again? I don't live in Tennessee, and I won't for a while if ever again, and my hair will grow back out, because that's the way I like it, and I'll look like a high schooler again... BUT, God will NEVER stop loving me, and my experience of His love and grace will never, NEVER change or go away, it is constant and it is free, and it lasts an eternity! Why would I desire anything other than to be in His presence, filled with His grace and love, always?

For no reason other than the fact that He loves us so much, God blesses our lives and allows us to experience exciting and neat opportunities, and if we allow Him to, He will use us through them all to make an eternal difference in people's lives... What better experience is there than that? I have to remind myself daily to thank Him for all He does for me and everything I've been able to experience and the things He teaches me through all of it... It's a fun and exciting journey I'm on, and I can't wait to see what happens next as I seek to experience the wonder and grace of God eternally and in everyhing that happens......

Again, in the great words of Mac Powell:

"I find myself just living for today
'Cause I don't know what
Tomorrow's gonna bring
So no matter if I rise or fall
I'll never be alone...
Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You, Lord."

Well, school starts back tomorrow... We're 6th through 9th grade now, 48 students as opposed to 36, a new science teacher for me to work under, a boa constricter named Bo and a oversized frog with teeth named Jaba in our classroom, and a good amount of new students... Please pray for us, staff and students alike, as we get to know each other and learn to work with each other... It'll be a great year, there will be trials, there will be a lot of fun times, I'm sure, and a lot of disecting! But most importantly, pray that it is a productive school year, that God reveals Himself in a mighty way, and that our new kids and our old kids each open thier hearts to what He has to offer them through this life experience of theirs and for an eternity afterwards...

Thanks for sharing in my fun times with me and for carrying me through my life with your prayers and support! I love each of you so so so much!

Anna Kathryn

"I thank my God every time I remember you,
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy!"
Philippians 1:3&4