Sunday, May 9, 2010

Halfway There

After I take my last final tomorrow, I will officially be halfway done with my college career.

That is an incredibly scary thought.

So much has changed over the past couple of years. So many things have changed over this past year. So many things have changed over this past semester.

And things will continue to change. I'll continue to grow as a person and in my relationship with God. New friendships will be made, some old friendships will dissolve. I'll continue to learn new skills as I pursue my degree. I'll learn new skills and have a whole new set of experiences through Student Foundation and Hankamer Christian Fellowship. Hopefully I'll make new friends through those organizations as well. Maybe I'll finally figure out what I want to do with my life ( if I'll every know...)

Two years from now, I hope to at least have an idea of what I want to do with my life. Hopefully I will have met someone special and will at least be engaged, if not married. (But if not, that's okay. God knows best.) But most importantly, two years from now I hope to be closer to God than I ever have been before.

As I reflect on these past two years of college, and especially this past year, there are some things that I just have to thank God for.

First off, words cannot describe how incredibly thankful I am for my mom. Today is mother's day, and I'd like to take a moment to rant about how amazing my mom is. Words cannot describe how much I love her, or how lost I would be without her. Whenever I have had problems and I need advice, she is the first person I call. And she has never failed me. Seriously, my mother has never once steered me wrong with her advice. She is one of the wisest people I know. I am also happy to be able to say that my mom really is my best friend. I may not call her as often as I should, but she always gets the full run-down on how life is going whenever I go home. She knows me better than anyone else does, and is genuinely my number one fan in life. I am so thankful that God has given me the mom that He has. I only hope that I can one day be as wise and caring as she is.

But where would I be without Dad? I would be lying if I didn't say my dad is pretty awesome too. :) Like my mom, he's also really wise and gives good advice. He's a really hard-working person and is really inspiring. Even in the midst of his busyness, he always takes time to invest in my life. I'm really thankful for my daddy.

I'm thankful for Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. Arnold. Even though I only talk to these women about once a week, they probably have no clue how much they help me keep my sanity. Although I know and love a lot of people my own age, I NEED interaction with adults. There's not much of that kind of interaction in college world, apart from professors. These two women, especially Mrs. McDonald, have given me that interaction I need to stay sane and mature. My only regret is that I haven't invested as much in my relationships with these women as they have with me. Mrs. McDonald especially. She actually asks, cares, and remembers what's going on in my life! Only recently have I realized how much of a blessing these women have been in my life.

I'm thankful for Kyle Dunn. My amazing college pastor who really, truly, honestly cares about his students. Which, in a college ministry of around 400 students, is a difficult thing to do. But this man really has taken a personal interest in his students. While he may not get to talk to everyone personally, he really does care and has shown that he is available when he is needed. After the accident last semester, he sat down with me and talked through all the ugly and confusing emotions that resulted from that. I still have the notes he wrote from that conversation on my wall. I am so thankful to be able to say that my college pastor is a man of God. He roots his sermons in Scripture, and really runs a Bible-centered ministry. The ministry mic and the two weeks of spiritual disciplines shows that this man is a man of action and application, not just theory and words.

I'm thankful for living fairly far off-campus without a car. Not being able to just walk anywhere whenever I wanted taught me several things. It caused me to be more intentional about how I used my time. It taught me to plan ahead better. It taught me to prioritize. Living in an off-campus apartment caused me to mature a little bit more. Still having to depend on rides from people enhanced some friendships that may have otherwise stayed a little more stagnant. Honestly, some friendships faded a little more easily due to not having such easy access to people. But as hard as it is to admit, I'm thankful for that because it helped me to discern who my true friends really are.

I'm thankful for friendships that grew stronger (and, as weird as it may seem, friendships that dissolved) I'm especially thankful for friends that I can have honest conversations about God, relationships, and hopes and dreams with. Friends that encourage me to think in a God-centered manner. I'm also thankful that God has taught me that friendships need to be invested in. And I'm thankful that God is giving me wisdom about which friendships to invest in.

I'm thankful for the accident Although I still don't understand why God let the men die, I realized that I had some wrong views about God that the accident helped correct. During difficult situations like that, you discover what theology you really believe. I realized I was asking the wrong questions and my perspective on my role wasn't accurate. I stopped asking "Why did it happen?" and started asking "What do you want to teach me through it?" I also realized that I needed to be more humble. While I have a relationship with God so that I can ask Him questions, He is still God and is not under any obligation to answer them. The fact that He does is a blessing, not something He is obligated to do for me.

I'm thankful for visits to HPU And I'm especially thankful for long walks and deep conversations with Adam Hardy and Charity Chambers.

I'm thankful that God has been teaching me about intentionality This lesson has had several applications in my life. I've been learning that a close relationship with God doesn't just happen, that I have to put effort in it through prayer, Bible reading, service, and other spiritual disciplines. I've learned that who I am and who I will be doesn't just happen. I can decide who I want to be through choosing who I spend time with, what I read/watch/listen to, and what activities I take part in. I've learned that it's okay to be intentional about wanting to get married and pursuing activities and relationships that will help get me there (thank you Boundless!). I've realized that if I want to get something in life, such as a good job or internship, I have to pursue it, I can't just expect it to drop in my lap. If I want to be good at what I do, I have to practice, be it at writing, managing, or swing dancing. While I definitely believe in the sovereignty of God, I also believe that attitude and effort determines where you end up in life. God can force a close relationship with me if He wants, but He's not going to. That's up to me. I believe it's the same with the rest of life. God can force things to happen, but I don't think He will. I think He lets us reap the consequences of our actions. If we want to get somewhere, to do something, we need to work on getting there. Reaping what we sow is a biblical concept.

Last, but not least, I'm glad that God gives me purpose There are days when this can all seem pretty pointless. Why am I pursuing this degree, why did I choose this major, why did I choose these activities? Without God, it would all seem pretty pointless. It's awesome to know that God planned my life out before the foundation of the world, and He has a purpose for everything. I'm thankful that I even have a God to serve, because honestly, without someone to serve, the only person left to serve is me. And that's pretty pointless. I'm glad that at the end of it all, when it seems like all the effort I've put forth in this world is worthless, Jesus is coming back. To tell you the honest truth, I don't know why Jesus coming back gives me a reason to keep pursing my college degree. But somehow it does, and I'm thankful for that.

What has God done for you this year that you're thankful for?