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A Good Old Country Song

It was the summer of all summers, like the one all country songs sing about. At least it felt that way. We were young and carefree. B was working for the county, fixing roads and I was volunteering most of the summer. We spent lazy days just getting to know each other. B would insist on picking me up for dates because he’s romantic like that.

But soon the summer nights drifted away and summer quickly came to a close. At the end of August we both would be starting a new life–going to different schools, studying different things.

 B and I in our goat shirts right after one of the shows!

B and I in our goat shirts right after one of the shows!

Our last week of freedom, the last week of summer, was the best fair I had ever had. It was a magical week as it always had been, but this time I got to share it with my best friend who now was my boyfriend. We spent a whole week of uninterrupted time, playing games at the picnic table, eating fair food, walking around holding hands, watching the derby and listening to awful karaoke. But soon that too came to a close.

As the fair ended, so too did my childhood. As I drove away from the fair grounds towards my dorm room on the closing night of fair, I felt the finality of what I was leaving behind and I feared what I was driving toward. I was excited about college but in the midst of that day and all it represented for me, I remember just crying, barely able to see the yellow lines on the road in front of me. Change is always hard, but multiple things changing at once is nearly unbearable.

I wasn’t afraid of our relationship changing. I wasn’t worried that B would find another girl (though that did cross my mind) or that we wouldn’t see each other. Lucky for us, B stayed home and commuted to school to save money and my college was only 30 minutes from his house. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a lot of weekends there or he would come down to see me. We even started going to church together.

 Our annual 'pumpkin palooza' with my friend Maddie and her family.

Our annual ‘pumpkin palooza’ with my friend Maddie and her family.

It just so happened that the church that he was a part of at the time was in the same town that my school was in. And the woman who was playing piano for them had coincidentally left the week earlier, and the first Sunday I went, they were in need of a pianist.

This was a new church, recently started. It was nondenominational. B was part of the core team, a small group of people that shared an interest in starting a church. You see I grew up Lutheran. Our pastors wore robes, we had candles, an organ, red carpeted pews, stained glass windows, hymnals and acolytes. This church was very different.

When I started going, the “service” was more like a small group or a meeting. There was still music and a sermon but that was it. The group was smaller then most classroom sizes and there were no fancy decorations. We met in a office building next to a car dealership and across the street from the porn store.

It was very different from anything I had every grown up with. I had gone to church my whole life but it wasn’t until this time in my life that I began to understand what the Bible was saying.

I started changing from the inside out. Though I appeared to look the same and do the same kind of things, I was a changed person and those closest to me, could see it. I was a different girl. As I changed, B and I grew closer than we had ever been before. Our future life began to take shape. 

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I love a good plain t-shirt, pizza, snuggling with my dog and hanging out with my husband. My mission? To speak truth and grace to help encourage other women to know they are never alone.

I'm Sarah Jean.

I’m the girl who came to realize the freedom in not being the author of my story.

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it all started with my camera.

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I’m Sarah Jean, a mid-western girl who learned the freedom in letting go of my plans and walking in His. My goal is encourage others on that path and point them to Him.


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