A year's reflection on the faithfulness of our God

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;

With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 89:1

That picture up there was made from a shot from my first drive to college last semester. (yes, I took a picture while driving... I'm sorry. It was for art.) That drive was exciting, terrifying, and freeing all at the same time. I had no idea what I was getting into, or what was ahead of me. I was driving into a metaphorical open road with only a general idea of where I was going. If you had told me then anything that I was going to experience over the next ten months, I would never have believed you. I probably would have been terrified, too. But I can hardly say that I haven't grown, or that I'm the same person who made that first drive. 

365 days ago, I graduated from high school. Being that I graduated from my church's homeschool co-op alongside just one other senior, it was a very special night that marked the end of an era in my life. All the potential that I had been told that I had for my entire life was about to be put to use, and I told myself that I was ready for it. I definitely was fearful and excited, but also sad and nostalgic at the constant reminders that my childhood was over and I had to move into adulthood. 

I spent the summer enjoying every moment that I could, with anticipation of the fall fueling my desire to savor every day. I took every opportunity I could to have adventures (including four trips to a dingy water park an hour and a half drive from home...) and just enjoying my friends who also would have to leave in the fall. It was a fine summer. 

 At the beginning of the semester I was faced by something that I hadn't had a lot of experience with: oppositional confrontation. I was put into a situation that I couldn't resolve just by apologizing (regardless of if I was actually at fault or not). I also made some amazing friends who have been supportive and encouraging already in the short while I've known them. My freshman experience included more fun memories and adventures than I could document in pictures, although I truly tried. 

I made friends in my dorm-oh, excuse me, residence hall- and before long we all started going to the BCM together. That's where, spare a few lovely friends from another on-campus ministry, I made most of my friends and connected with spiritual leaders. I'm so thankful for all of them, especially because during that first semester, I had to deal with one of the hardest losses so far in my life.

My grandfather, after a week of fighting under a dozen IV's and half a dozen procedures. On top of still struggling to get accustomed to college life, my whole family struggled under the weight of accepting the potential, and ultimately inevitable, loss of him. With all the help and support in the world, and every prayer for peace that could be received, the pain of grief was still something that we had to push through. The hardest time was during that month, leading up to the holidays. The support of friends was always there, and I'm so very thankful for that. 

The next semester began with me not sure if I should be expecting the same thing, or or something entirely new. As you can expect, my second semester was entirely a new thing. While personally, I didn't go through any new trials besides the constant challenge of school work, it seems like each of my new school friends had something hard to deal with, and I had the privilege of standing by them the best way I could. I made new friends and strengthened the friendships that I already had. If I had to describe my second semester of college in one word, it would be "growth."

I think the growth that I sustained in those few months was very much catalyzed by being pulled into a discipleship group at school with my friends, led by a wonderful leader who has become very dear to my heart. In that group, we grew much closer together (spending many more hours together each week than we had initially expected) around tea and journals and the word. It was there that I was taught the method of daily devotional reading that I, by the grace of God, am still consistent in. Just having that habit placed in my life has made such a difference in my walk with the Lord. The hours of fellowship were just a bonus. 

The last few weeks of school were stressful for a myriad of reasons, and everyone around me felt the pressure. I'm beginning to learn that that's just how finals weeks will be, and I'm going to have to learn how to handle it. I learned to trust God by failing to trust Him and stressing myself nearly to sickness. God was faithful anyway. My fear of failing classes turned out to be just as irrational as everyone was telling me it was. All I wanted was to finish the semester and go home, and as surely as time passes, my wish came, but not after a bittersweet trip to the airport to say farewell to one of those close discipleship friends.

In the weeks since I've been home, I've had another lesson in trusting God, alongside a lesson of seeing how much He could do through me. I've had a few consistent things on my prayer list. One of them is for Him to provide me with a job, and the other to provide me opportunities to minister where I am. I've been given a scripture that's been walking me through this time:

Thus says the Lord,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you to profit,
    who leads you in the way you should go.
Isaiah 48:17

And so, there's a simple reflection of what the year since graduation has been like. It's been long, and it's been hard, but it's also had some of the best times of my life so far. As cliche as this is, I'm incredibly excited to see what the Lord has in store for the next year. 

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 89:1

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