Forever In My Heart

IMG_3470Two years ago on this very day my world was forever changed.

I met Unique Barnes when I was a little sixth grader at Haskell Middle School. She was in the band and I was in choir so I didn’t personally know her that well. That changed in seventh grade when she joined the choir. I instantly knew that this girl was different.

She was the type of person that literally everyone was friends with. She was so friendly and something about her was just so inviting. Unique didn’t care if you were popular, white, black, nerdy, shy, outgoing, or whatever else you were she would talk to you.

I instantly felt so close to her and we became great friends. I loved being around her because her joyful presence could change the darkest mood. Her love of Christ shined through her, and it was always so inspiring to me. I wanted to be just like her.

I can vividly remember January 27th, 2014.

It was my junior year of high school. Unique had been sick and in the hospital for awhile. I would go and visit her and you couldn’t even tell she was sick.Her spirits were high and she only wanted to focus on the positives. We would laugh and catch up on all the latest gossip. I was positive that she would have a quick recovery.

Then things took a turn for the worse. I went to visit her in the hospital and I didn’t even recognize her. I couldn’t even stay in the room for very long because I didn’t want her to see me upset even though she wasn’t talking anymore. I didn’t realize that in that moment I had said my last words to her.

Then the day that I will never forget.

I couldn’t go to the hospital to visit Unique that night because I had show choir practice till nine. Two of my darling friends were with her and they did their best to keep me up to date. During one of the water breaks I felt a small sense of hope. My friend that was at the hospital with Unique texted me and said that while she was talking to Unique she told her “Sierra loves you and she wishes she was here,” and my friend said that Unique smiled after she mentioned my name. That put the biggest smile on my face and I went back to practice thinking that everything would be okay. Little did I know that my world was about to change.

An hour later and practice was over. Right at nine my teacher got a call and he looked grim. My heart dropped. I rushed to my phone and saw the text that I was dreading. Unique had passed away.

There is no pain like losing someone you love. I fell apart at that moment. A whirl of emotions swept through me. I just didn’t know what to do. I was angry. I was sad. I wanted to just curl up in a ball and be away from everyone.

I’m not going to lie, at the time I was a little angry at God. I didn’t understand why this had to happen. I was confused and hurt, but after some time I realized that Unique wouldn’t want me to be mad at God.

During this time of pain I turned to the only thing that could give me comfort, God. I opened up my bible and I saw a verse that really stuck out to me.

“Oh death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NLT

This verse made me realize that yes it is okay for me to mourn the death of my sweet friend, but I don’t have to lose hope because Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we could have a relationship with God. When you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are promised eternal life in heaven. I know for a fact that Unique had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and I have as well. So when my time comes, I will get to join Unique up in heaven. I can’t wait for that day to come.

Today marks two years since Unique became an angel. This is a wound that time can’t heal. I still miss her dearly and would do anything to give her a big hug again right now. I know she is looking down on me from heaven and I just hope that I am making her proud here on Earth. She is and will always be my biggest inspiration. I want to be like Unique. If I could be half of the woman she was,  I would be set. I am so thankful that I had the honor of knowing and being friends with Unique. Rest in peace angel.

I love you Unique.

Hello 2016

UnknownIt is time to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016! The tradition around New Years Eve and into New Years Day is to take a moment to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the year to come.

As I reflect on the past year, I see a year of great growth and change. During 2015 so many things happened: I turned eighteen, I was apart of a group that was crowned Grand National show choir champions, I traveled, I was in a musical, I went to prom with my two best friends, I made amazing memories, I experienced heartbreak, I conquered fears, I graduated high school, I moved to Norman, I started my freshman year at the University of Oklahoma, I joined Alpha Phi, I met many incredible people and I grew so much along the way.

It has been a crazy year packed with so many huge milestones. There were times that I thought that it was the worst year of my life, but there were also times that I thought that it was the best year of my life. I experienced a lot of change this year, and trust me change is not easy. Even though change can be extremely hard to cope with, it is necessary for growth. All of the changes that came along in the past year have helped me grow up. It has given me a new perspective on life.

One thing this year taught me is that I am in charge of my own happiness. Everyday I have to make a decision to either see the positive or the negative in every situation I face. If I focus on the negative my life will be miserable, but if I focus on the positive then life is so much better. It’s a daily choice that I have to make. There will always be storms in life, but there is always a rainbow at the end of it. I can’t give up even if the situation seems dark; I have to look for the rainbow. If I want to be happy I really do have to enjoy the little things that life throws my way, good or bad.

Now to the New Year resolutions. I have my standard ones that many of the world has like to work out more and to get good grades, but I also have some goals that will really challenge me. My goal for 2016 is to take risks, step out of my comfort zone, and to let go of my fear of the unknown. I’ve realized that I may never really find what I’m looking for in life If I don’t try things that might make me a little uncomfortable at first. Nothing extraordinary every happens inside a comfort zone, and I am determined to challenge myself to stay out of it. This will really help me to live my life to the fullest. I want to try new things and continue to grow as a person and in my relationship with Christ. I am so excited about the things to come. 2016 will definitely be a year filled with new experiences and growth.

Today marks the start of a new year and new beginnings. I welcome 2016 with open arms. Last year might have been packed full of life altering experiences, but I am so excited for the new things to come this year. The past is in the past, and this year I am determined to live in the present and keep looking onward. I am looking forward to what God has planned for me this year.

Happy New Year everyone! May you have a blessed and prosperous year.