Hi y’all! Lauren here! I’m so excited Mandy asked me to join her on the blog this week. We’ve known each other for almost 20 years. I love her heart, and her heart for this blog. She has always been an encourager, and truly believes in people. She believes in you – yes, YOU!
Mandy is going to kick off our story.
In 2015, George W. Bush gave a commencement speech to the graduating students of SMU. One of my favorite lines from his speech is:
“To those of you who received honors, awards, and distinctions, I say well done. And as I like to tell the C students, you too can be president.”
I have no ambitions of becoming president, but George’s speech brings me hope and joy anyway. I did not receive honors, awards and distinctions in college, but I did receive C’s like President Bush did. I can count the number of A’s I earned on one hand, one of them being in Clemson University 101. I’m not kidding – it’s a real class!
My last semester of senior year, I needed to earn a C in one class in order to graduate on time. International Business Management (MGT 423) was my nemesis. It was awful. The professor was rigid, strict, and zero fun. I don’t think he cracked a smile once during the two semesters I took his class. Yes, you read that right. I took the class twice because I earned a D (which is considered failing) the first time around. Killin’ it, I know. Finding a job prior to graduation wasn’t even on my radar because quite honestly, I didn’t know if I would pass!
I took a different approach than Mandy to my last semester, and already had all the hard classes out of the way. I am a planner, and the plan was to spend my last semester interviewing and securing a job prior to graduation. I’ve always been career-oriented, and after a summer internship at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC between junior and senior year, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Event Planning. I felt confident; I had everything under control.
One of my dreams at the time was to move to Nashville. Mandy and I visited Nashville to celebrate our 21st birthdays, and I fell in love. As fate would have it, in the midst of my job search, there was a job opening in the events department at the Opryland Hotel. I applied for the position, flew to Nashville for an interview, and landed the job - mission accomplished. I was on cloud nine! The plan was to cruise until graduation, pack up my life in Tallahassee, drive to Clemson for Mandy’s graduation, then head north to Music City!
By the grace of God, I passed The Worst Class Ever 423 MGT 423 and graduated on time. Like I mentioned before, and unlike Lauren, I had nothing lined up; no plan, no job offers, no clue what I wanted to do next. Candidly, I considered driving up to Nashville with Lauren to sleep on her couch until I found a job there.
However, God threw a curve ball.
If you remember anything about Nashville in 2010, you remember a major flood. On the morning of Mandy’s graduation, I woke up to a phone call from the HR department at the Opryland Hotel letting me know the job was no longer available because the hotel was ruined by flood damage.
Here I was in Clemson, with my life packed into my car, sleeping on Mandy’s couch for what I thought would be for a night or two. My dream was in the palm of my hands and now, nothing. No apartment, no job and no backup plan. I began to question God; I didn’t understand.
Lauren was amazing during this time. She handled the news with humility and grace, and immediately started searching for a new job. If there was any silver lining at this point, it was that I didn’t have ANY direction to go in, which meant we could try to find jobs together. Atlanta is about an hour and a half drive south of Clemson, so we both started searching there.
Turns out, a friend from Clemson connected me with her dad who was a CEO of a marketing firm in Atlanta. I reached out to him, and shortly after our phone conversation he asked me to drive down to Atlanta for an interview.
I started getting calls about job opportunities in Atlanta too, so I decided to put my dream of living in Nashville on hold. As I said before, Mandy is an encourager, and helped lift my spirits up. She also makes killer banana bread, and desserts in general. Crashing on her couch during this period of “homelessness” definitely had its perks! It was a small taste of what was to come.
Lauren and I ended up having separate interviews on the same day. Jackpot! We packed our Hondas, and anxiously drove to Atlanta. Neither one of us wanted to move back to Florida, so we were determined to give everything we had in our interviews.
I’ll never forget the following day. I called Mandy after my interview and she said, “Lauren. I think my interview went really well. Like I think I got the job.” I asked her where she was and her response was my favorite. “At Lenox Mall buying myself some real work clothes.” She kills me. Mandy asked me how my interview went and I told her I also felt confident.
Within a few days, we both had job offers in Atlanta with the exact same start date, and signed a lease to be roommates. In a time of confusion, pain and defeat, God reminded me that he is in control. His plans are always greater than our own, even if they involve a flood! I still struggle with trusting him with everything. There are certain things in my life that I wish had a quicker turnaround time; where I am still sitting in the unknown. But when I remember and tell this story, I am reminded of God’s goodness. I am reminded of his unfailing love.
Lauren and I both lived in Atlanta as roommates for four years, and as God would have it, we both now live in Nashville. If you have no idea what’s next, I hope this story encourages you. Hang in there. We were there, and we want to let you know God is at work behind the scenes; always moving things around for his and your benefit.
When God throws you a curve ball, it isn’t because he’s trying to harm you. He’s throwing you a curve ball because he wants you to trust him, and he wants to help you knock it out of the park. We encourage you to believe in the hope of Jesus, and know that no matter what, you can claim victory.