College Mems S1.E1.

I’ve been here a week, so you think I would probably have a set opinion, some friends and no homework, right? Well, yeah, of course you’re wrong. Or sort of wrong. I indeed have lots of homework. I indeed have some opinions, and I’ve made a few friends. I’ve had some revelations, some tears, some laughs, some late night calls, some early mornings. Due to my lack of time and your lack of patience (@glw333), this post will probably be jumbled, a wee bit short, and not completely reflective of my time here.

I’ll start with move-in day, which wasn’t as rough as perceived. All of my belongings fit, my Christmas lights got put up, none of my roommates were in my room as I unpacked, I felt organized. Later that day, however, the reality of not being home set in. Saying goodbye or see you later to people was essentially meaningless beforehand. It didn’t actually seem like I was going away, and I feel like the gravity of the situation wasn’t real or attainable at the time. Goodbyes were said, but as I sat in my bed the first afternoon, I realized they were real. I realized I wasn’t yet supported here. I didn’t have friends. I didn’t have a place where I could be vulnerable yet. To all my pals back in the good ole g-lake, I miss you bunches. I really do. A special shoutout to those of you who have called me and talked me through assimilation and just let me tell you everything I felt wasn’t going right and then made me laugh.

I forgot to mention I have a view of Lake Michigan from my dorm! It is absolutely beautiful, and tomorrow morning, I am waking up extremely early to go watch the sunset. 6:00 AM probably seems early, but when you have somewhere to be at 7:55 AM, it’s all just relative. I love morning classes. No, but really, I do. I love my classes. For the most part, all my professors are kind and interesting and understandable. Except for my Anatomy and Physiology professor, who is from Latvia, God bless her heart. If I had to be anxious about one thing, it’d be not understanding her, failing to comprehend the expectations, getting below an A, and therefore being dropped out of the Master’s program I’m currently enrolled in. A lot rests on this class, but I’m just trying to keep saying I’m prepared. Yeah, I’m really not, but I’m excited to learn. Rumor has it her class is death and extremely hard. Her teacher reviews are also extremely amusing, but I’m not going to say any more. Besides this exception, all of my other professors have already captured my attention and made classes interesting. I especially like my Bible teacher (how cool is it I get to take religion classes again in school), who is full of many stories and reminds me of Bob Goff. Unlike the general freshman population, I’m extremely excited to have this course in my schedule and further deepen my knowledge of the Bible and Hebrew and all things lovely and pure. I’m also taking a course called Freshman Seminar, in which a large population of the class is students with special needs. It just turned out this way, but I’m so blessed to be around them and begin to build relationships with them. Have I mentioned I love special needs kids?

Yikes, what next. Golly, I’ll tell you about my roommates. So I got pulled into a nine person suite, and let me tell you, it’s a party. Every day. Every morning. Every night. There is always music playing, guests, late night outings, and games. Me being me, I haven’t been too involved in some of the activities and outings, but it’s been pretty fun to get to know some of the girls. We all share one shower, which has been a minor challenge, but in all, it’s worked out okay. Or at least, it’s worked out almost as expected, which isn’t awful. There’s already been a wee bit of drama and complications, but it’s bound to happen, and I think at least my sub room is all content, so that’s fine with me.

I also mentioned many months ago about my receiving of a music scholarship, which requires me to take lessons, participate in a concert band, and be an avid member of the pep band. I auditioned on Thursday of last week, and I ended up getting a chair in the top band, which means I get to tour Hawaii with the band during Winter Break!! YAY for pineapples, luaus, tropical feels, and new adventures. I’ve also already found three people to room with, and they’re really sweet. Two of them, I know pretty well already. One is a camp counselor, who wears chacos and who also is really proficient in making me laugh and singing camp songs with me when no one else will. The other encourages me in the finsta world, laughs at my mom with me, and happens to know my high school best friend. I really like these people, and Hawaii’s gunna be dope. So, basically, band rocks and I’m feeling great about it.

Yesterday, after my final class, I was feeling pretty defeated. I couldn’t understand my A&P professor, I had lots of homework, I still don’t really have many friends, and there was just an overall feeling of angst, isolation, and loss of motivation. I turned on my phone, and I had received a message from a friend back home, asking the question “do you ever feel like satan takes away your joy?” And my answer, especially in the moment, was absolutely. This whole summer, especially at camp, there was no room for anxiety or overwhelming depression, and they were replaced by constant energy and reliance on God for guidance through yet another day. I was surrounded by a community who almost forced me to dive into God’s word every single morning and additionally on various nights throughout the week. I was constantly reading scripture and learning what God was doing in my camper’s lives and hearing about children accepting Jesus. I think realizing lives were being changed brought me great joy, but I also really depended on certain co-workers and people back home to restore my joy. I’m still processing this all, but as far as I can tell, leaving my community back home and from the summer has really hit me hard, and God is using it as a method to force me to find my joy in Him and Him alone. After I responded “yes” to his question, my friend asked if I could think of any tangible ways to start accepting God’s joy. He told me this was not God’s plan for me. He affirmed God wanted me to rest in His joy and wanted me to feel loved by Him through it. He told me God is waiting for me. Even as I write this right now, I don’t feel joyful. I’m already apathetic to many parts of college. I’m exhausted. I feel useless like I’m failing at what I’m doing. But why should I? God is calling me to joy, and His joy is stronger than all of these other feelings. I’ve decided the first tangible step I’ll be taking to begin to find true joy in God will be reading through the Psalms these next four or five months. I’ve never read all the way through, but I know for a fact David has so much joy and praise to offer up to God, despite what may be happening in his life. I haven’t read much from my Bible since camp counselor life ended. I’d love for you to keep me accountable, so please ask me how its going.

Additionally, I will yet again encourage you to leave something on my Prayer Request page. It’s been up for the past four months, and so far no one has left anything on there – anonymous or not – so you could be the first!

Today’s appreciation post goes to my tall buddy who calls me cactus. You’re really good at volleyball and boys and inspiring others around you. I see you sometimes, and I think to myself I want what she has. You have so much joy and love, and it just pours out of you like the oil in the Bible – never ending. Thanks for listening to my endless rants about college and making me laugh and telling me about your romantic life and justifying my anger and laughing when all my pillows end up on the ground in the morning and later asking what was wrong. Thank you for skipping questionable activities and for pushing me to pray and talking about boys with me and for serving me and letting me eat your oreos. Thank you for reminding me of Isaiah 42:14 and for never forgetting what went down in East Troy. Thank you for reaching out to everyone in our dorm and being you even when it gets tough. I hope you’re having fun in Texas and your preamble memorization has gone well. You actually rock my world, and I’m so blessed to spend 4.5 more years with you. Love ya, kleetis.

xo fam. 

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College Mems S1.E1.

Summer’s Close.

Today marks the last day of my summer, and in all, it’s been my best one yet. I have had so many opportunities, so much joy, and so much Jesus all in the span of three months.

Here’s to ten hours of camp each day, singing about Herman the Worm, Tarzan, Funky Chickens and 60’s parties. Here’s to dance parties and cray buttons, chainsaws, church claps and wobbles. Here’s to giant squirrels and flying swings, Clifford the Wall and chalk art. Here’s to questionable skits, bribes to the Olympic Committee, not drugs and Coach Z. Here’s to Light and Fluffy, the Claw, Crabgrass, S’more’s, yodeling and whipping, and Bumble-bee. Here’s to training shenanigans, like chasing turkeys, Walmart runs, Sonic runs, Chili’s, CPI Certification and finally signs. Here’s to giant jenga, the heimlich maneuver and peaches. Here’s to a family I found, full of each personality type. Here’s to new engagements, purple potatoes, family fun days and Lion King reenactments. Here’s to Gospel Wednesdays, Weird World Records and Zumba. Here’s to gatherings where we laughed so hard we cried. Here’s to shared testimonies and vulnerable moments. Here’s to my new family who loves unconditionally. Here’s to abundant grace, even when I deserved none. Here’s to love. Here’s to reaching 413 campers. Here’s to 413 new members in this family. Here’s to 413 children who now know Jesus. Here’s to life change.

Tucson. This trip strengthened so many friendships. This trip juxtaposed hope and suffering. This trip enabled me to use my spoken voice. This trip instilled gratitude inside of me. This trip confirmed His praise will ever be on my lips. This trip gave me a safe community – one filled with a whole lot a joy and even more Jesus. This trip gave me an appreciation for early morning devos, raw late night talks, and messy work throughout the day. This trip gave me hope. (you can go read about this trip HERE.)

Remember when I was a camper for a week this summer? Remember when we woke up two hours earlier than everyone else to go down to the dock and read Ephesians? Remember catching Pokemon and making shrinkidinks? Remember the night at the cross, where tears and community abounded? Remember the profound moments we entered, the late worship, the new revelations? Remember how we wrote each other notes and listened to everyone’s story? Remember the night we camped out, with the campfire and star tipping? Remember Furious? Remember the storm, huddling in Cross Timbers, as water somehow found it’s way in? Remember C-Doctor and Billy Goat Gruff? Remember the deer we encountered, walking through the forest alone? Remember how prayers were answered and dreams came true? Remember how God fully intervened? I do.

A few days ago, a friend of mine commented on the transformation occurring within me this summer, and I humbly agree. I’ve learned to love people and be loved. I’ve learned urgency in sharing the gospel and adapted to the kingdom mindset. I’ve been expanding my comfort zone. I’ve become more bold in prayer and affirming people. I’ve become more accustomed to physical touch. I’ve trusted humans. I’ve found a new joy in my savior. I’m not as anxious or as depressed. I have purpose. I have joy. I have love to give. I have this hope, as an anchor for my soul.

This last week has been a time of community, bucket list completions, hard goodbyes and tired eyes. Last week, I spent a large portion of my time preparing everything I needed to be prepared to leave. This Saturday, I met Bob Goff, the author of Love Does and it was absolutely amazing. His sermon was convicting, humorous and relatable. We actually got to talk to Bob after the event, which was dope. One thing I really loved about talking to him was how genuine his kindness was towards us. He took time to learn our names, even though he has so many people in his life already. He called us by our names for those five minutes and tried to have authentic conversation, as if we were just old friends catching up. Inspiring. Sunday was a day in the books. I got ice cream from the ice cream truck for the first time, and I truly felt loved by the wonderful people in my life. We ended the night with a joyful ride home after hard goodbyes and some more packing. Monday, packing yet again. Today, I said two extremely hard goodbyes. This person more than deserves to be the recipient of the end of summer appreciation post as they have played a large part in my life these past few months.

To the girl who almost died many times hiking in Tucson, I’m glad you’re alive. You are such a blessing to me, and although I think you already know, I lofe you so much. I love how often you are real with me, and I love how you don’t sugarcoat things. You are honest, lovely, and you’re going to succeed in life. Your perseverance is being tested, but you’re making it, and I love how you are so reliant on God during these times. Your joy explodes from somewhere deep within you, and I love the way you spent your summer serving those around you. Thank you for listening to my rants – both good and bad, encouraging me in all of my relationships and being there when no one else is. I’ll say it again, but you are a priority in my life, and I care oh so much about you. Thank you for being you and for loving me with all you have to give. I’m going to miss seeing your face each weekend and even more so after December. You are cherished and precious to me, and I lofe you.

xo.

ps. tune in next time to hear about the crazy college life #ramen #mems #ninepersonsuite. Also, if you care to pray for anything about this approaching college life, you can join me in praying I will encounter God more than ever before at college and He will work through me. I long to be completely dependent on Him and further shape my understanding of His plan for my life. Also for peace for my mom, who is sending her first child off to college. yikes.

Summer’s Close.

Jesus Friends are the Best Friends.

Today, I want to brag on all my friends. Tonight especially, I realized how blessed I am to be surrounded by such a wonderful community. You all rock my world, and I honestly can’t express my appreciation for you – even in writing, which says a lot. You have helped me write some lovely chapters in my story, and I constantly thank God you are in my life. Tonight, though, I felt loved. I felt appreciated. I felt cherished. Most people don’t have the capability nor take initiative to make someone feel important. I don’t deserve you all – you are an absolute gift from God, because I for sure have done nothing to earn such a thoughtful and lovely group of people.

I arrived for youth group tonight quite a bit before it started. Also, it should be known this would be my very last weekend at church before I move out for college! Five minutes previous to when the night began, I was sitting on a couch with two of my lovely friends, tired and not really feeling great. Suddenly, one of them grabs my hand, stands up, and urges me to come with. As we began walking, more people began to follow, all smiling and looking incredibly happy for it to be a normal Sunday night. As we approached the exit of the church, there was an ice cream truck! For those of you who don’t know, I had never enjoyed ice cream from an ice cream truck until today. As a child, I learned when the music is on, the truck is indeed out of ice cream, and believed it until seventh grade. As I walked outside, a friend placed money into my hands and told me to get whatever I wanted. I honestly have the most caring, kind, generous and thoughtful people in my life. It was a humbling experience, and I cannot think of anyone else I’d want to be there during this defining moment in my life. But honestly, I’m so blessed.

At the end of the night, my presence was requested in the upstairs lobby. I opened the door to all my beautiful friends, smiling, surrounded by ramen noodles, a door mat, and many various items, including but not limited to: socks, five hour energy, spam, and lastly a mason jar. Of all the things there, the mason jar meant the most. Together, the lovely humans in my life came up with “100 reasons why we love you.”

I’m still in awe. I’m in awe at the generosity and thoughtfulness I received today. I feel so loved. My heart is so full. You all are honestly the best friends I’ve ever had. I’m so appreciative of each one of you in my life. I don’t deserve your kindness or love. I feel so blessed to know I am supported by you all. I know our relationships will last because they are grounded on Christ. I love how you all constantly give and give and expect nothing in return. I love how you fill me with joy. I love how I know I can be vulnerable and accepted even while I am not put together. Honestly, I don’t think I can even put into words how much you all matter to me. I am so incredibly blessed to have you in my life. So, so, so blessed. I hope you know how appreciated you are.

Let me just finish by saying relationships grounded in Christ are the best ones. I wouldn’t have it any other way. So much love for you all.

xo.

Jesus Friends are the Best Friends.

A Letter.

Below, you will find a lovely letter. This letter is for you. I didn’t write this letter, but I am rather sharing it with you. I’m not even sure the person who wrote this letter really wrote this letter. Instead, these are words from our Abba Father – the one who knows you and cares for you and loves you.

via A letter.  — leapinglifestyle (go check out her blog – it’s great)

Dear child, 

You are cherished. You are like a one-of-a-kind seashell that would be celebrated over if found. I jump up when down when you let me keep you. 

You are a sweet gift, like a lollipop that every kid looks forward to every time they are taken on a trip to the bank. No surprise because you are known, but significantly  special. 

You are much more valuable than the brightest star in the sky that you looked up and saw last night. You were created for a purpose, placed exactly where you are. 

You are precious. More so than that delicate daisy that I keep safe every day. That I water and grow, that I foster. 

You have freedom in my arms. I want you to run to me in times of discomfort, embarrassment, and loneliness, with your arms held high. 

YOU HAVE VALUE AND PURPOSE

And above all you are LOVED, 

Abba father (daddy God) 

Abba Father emphasizes our God as not only a father but the father. He cares so much about you. Unlike earthly fathers, Abba will not disappoint; He is always there and cares immensely about you. He is worthy of your time and devotion and has amazing plans for your life. You are His treasure. He doesn’t need you, but, rather, He wants you. He wants you to be dependent on Him. He will satisfy your searching, lost soul. He wants to give you the desires of your heart, but He also has such a greater purpose for you. His arms are open.

Earlier this week, this video appeared in a group chat, and it absolutely blew me away. Here is the link for the Video. Watch it, and then come back.

This video seems like you typical Christian skit, and in many ways, it might be. However, this time around, it carried more significance for me personally.  While watching, there were genuine emotions flooding my mind. It wasn’t just a cute skit; it brought upon genuine feels. At certain times, I was angered when watching “Jesus” stand there behind the multitude of evils as the girl lay, groping into his direction. She was obviously trying to get herself over to him, and “Jesus” just let her seek for quite a while before actually coming near. It made me mad how easily she gave into the temptations. But then I realized, we as people are really good at it too. However, towards the end, I broke. His love. How he would take the pain from her and bear it all upon himself so she could rest near his feet. His power. I think it’s incredibly easy to forget our God is not only a loving, gracious God but also powerful and will ensure justice’s reign. His mercy. How he immediately took her back, despite everything she got herself involved in. His arms were open. He didn’t shame her. He didn’t act any different from before.

Our God is a righteous God. He is sovereign. He is powerful. He is gracious. He loves unconditionally. He is constant. He is present. He is the Creator. He has a plan for you. Above all, His arms are open for you to return to.

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Rest in Him today.

Today’s appreciation post goes to my lovely best friend. She is grace; she is beauty. She has been there through everything I’ve dealt with this past year. She is my calm in storms. She makes me laugh until I physically hurt. She is honest. She is lovely. She hasn’t gone to school for fashion merchandise yet, but she’s going to blow everyone away when she does. I admire her authenticity, joy, and caring spirit. HB, I’m so blessed to have you in my life. I don’t know what I would do without you.

xo.

A Letter.