Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: First Semester Finals: Done and Dusted

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First Semester Finals: Done and Dusted

Remember way back when I was
about to go to college!?
     I'm blogging again, which means that finals are done and I have successfully completed my first semester at college.  I think back to Welcome Week and am truly amazed it was that long ago.  I have seen so much growth in not only my academics, but also my personal character.  It has been a semester of learning to step outside my comfort zone and stretch the limits I thought I had set firmly-- in a good way, that is.
     I am so thankful for my supportive family and friends who have been praying every step of the way.  It never ceases to amaze me how God purposefully places people along the way to encourage and minister to his children.  I've seen the evidence of that in so many ways.
     My semester started out really bumpy, and I was pretty sure that I was the most homesick college freshman on the face of the planet- one who was also super emotional and prone to exaggerating.  While I might not have been the most homesick freshman, I would dare to say I was pretty far down the line.
Practicing His Presence, Edition 0003  -     
        Edited By: Gene Edwards
        By: Brother Lawrence, Frank C. Laubach
     I started the year with a stress fracture in my right hip.  More importantly, I was emotionally unstable and insecure in my identity in Christ.  While I can't say that I've figured out my life in these first few months of college, I can say that I've come to a better acceptance that I will never figure everything out, and that is ok.  I don't have to control everything, know everything or have perfection in everything.  That doesn't mean I have to love every trial and test, but I can choose to find God's presence in every moment and decide to live in his joy.  That's something I learned in a revolutionary way through the book, Practicing His Presence.
     Slowly, as I sought God through my injury and the massive changes in my new life, I began to see how complete I am without the label of a runner or a student or a "perfect" daughter, or just about any other box I can trap myself in.  I don't have to conjure up a label because I'm far more than any of that.
     As that lesson was being beat into my head, I also started to gain confidence back.  Now, I'm not talking about the "believe and achieve" kind of confidence.  I'm talking about confidence that God has created me beautifully and has great plans for me.  As I had struggled through a heartbreaking senior year as an athlete and in family matters, I had all but lost that confidence.  I'd resolved to trying to control all that I could so I wouldn't have to trust God, who I had thought let me down.
     He worked in my heart though, and I began to see how much of a blessing the injury really was.  I was able to get my firm ground in faith in my new surroundings, without running- which had become not only an idol, but also a source of identity.
     After Thanksgiving break, I had a new mission: to reach out to others and leave my self-focused pity party in the past.  It was really difficult, but I started to feel a lot more at home at college.  God also continued his work of healing in me and I was able to start running with my team.
      It was super exciting because I had been in a funk for over a year.  Running was not really fun, it was an obligation and I did it in hopes of getting back to that joy I'd had in the past.  I was living with a measly dose of hope that things would return to how they had been.  Turns out: God doesn't dwell hopelessly in the past like I often do.  Thankfully, he moves way ahead of our plans and has much greater things ahead than those that lay behind.  As I started getting my iron levels up (they had been down at 8 earlier in the fall!) and gained confidence, I really started to see God's joy in my running in ways I never had before.       Now, I am enjoying just running with him, but I also have hope that he has great plans in this area of ministry.  The best part?  I don't have to worry about what those plans are.  I just get to sit back and trust that I will receive them in due time.
     Yes, it is a lot easier said than done, but I'm starting to get it through my thick head that God really is in control in an amazing, powerful, awesome way.
     Here's to one life-changing, faith-building semester at college.  It has been a crazy, painful and joyful journey so far and I can't wait to see what God brings next.
     For now, I'm enjoying the warmth of family and being home.  It is a much needed rest!  Merry Christmas and thank you all for your prayers and love during the chaos that has been my life lately.  I hope this update/recap serves to evidence God's moving power in our everyday lives.  Enjoy this week of Christmas preparation and be joyful!

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