Accidentally On Purpose

After 3 years, I have finally arrived. I never would have expected that the trip I talked about on spring break my freshman year would be the trip I’m now calling the capstone to my Lipscomb career. But if we’re being honest, the Lord is really cool that way.

My freshman year at Lipscomb, I travelled to Cozumel, Mexico on spring break with Mark and Beth Jent. I was eager to serve and love on the children at Cuidad de Angeles – little did I know a seed would be planted that week. During one of our work days, I spent a whole afternoon hearing about Brisbane, Australia. Beth told me about the other mission trip her and Mark led, explaining the amazing impact the country had made on her over the years. Similar to how I accidentally fell in love with Lipscomb my senior year of high school, I’m pretty sure I accidentally fell in love with Brisbane that day. The joy it brought to Beth’s eyes was intriguing and wonderful – I simply wondered if I could ever experience it myself.

My second year at Lipscomb, I joined Mark and Beth in Cozumel again. This time I had a roommate – Shuen Lim. Shuen came to Nashville/Cozumel from Brisbane and I was lucky enough to sleep in the same bed as her for a week. Although we were busy serving and loving on the angels, I made a friend in that “random” Australian and hoped I could spend time with her again. I got to hear what it was like hosting Lipscomb students for a month every summer and what an impact the team had on Shuen’s community in Brisbane. In the weeks following our spring break trip, Shuen teased about me visiting her the next summer. I wishfully thought it would be so much fun, but doubted I would be able to follow through.

Then came October of my third and final year at Lipscomb. I decided I would apply for the Brisbane trip and see what the Lord worked out for my summer. It wasn’t an easy decision though. I wrestled back and forth, wondering if my reasons for wanting to come to Brisbane were valid or fair. It didn’t seem logical to graduate and not get a job right away. Yet my heart remembered that first conversation with Beth when I accidentally fell in love and that week I spent accidentally on purpose living with Shuen. This thread of Brisbane wasn’t simply going away.

In my uncertainty I applied for an internship – one that is exactly what I want to do with my life. I was scared and it seemed like better preparation for my future than spending a month in Australia. I thought, “If I get this internship, then I know I’m not supposed to go to Brisbane.” I was talking myself out of this pull I had been feeling for so long because it just didn’t make sense.

The thing is, when the Lord wants you to do something – He means it. I got hired for the internship this summer and they knew in my interview I had to probably leave for a month, yet they hired me. At that point, I knew Brisbane was a part of the plan. There wasn’t any way around it. But I was also affirmed in the reality that my God cares about my future too.

So as I sit here, in my bed at the Lim’s house – my new home, I can’t help but tear up at the way the Lord works. Who would have known that a conversation my first year at Lipscomb would come to fruition three years later. Who would have known that my roommate in Cozumel would become my sister for a month. Who would have known that I would have the opportunity to have my dream internship and serve in Australia all in the same summer. The answer: only the Lord. While it’s easy to grapple for control of the things happening in my life and future, I am reminded that He holds it all together in His hands. I am forever grateful for the way He moves and leads, works and plants seeds. He is a good, good Father and I am still in awe that I have finally arrived.

xo Sydney Shannon


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