Thursday, August 29, 2013

He Answers

It's 8:30 in the morning here at Asbury University.

My first class isn't until 9:25. Why am I awake, you ask?

It's a good question. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't roll out of bed until 9:00.

But, lately, I've been waking up at 6:20. Almost three hours before my first class.

To pray.

You see, my new friends meet in the mornings to pray before classes start.

I feel like groaning every time my alarm goes off, but throughout my day, I couldn't be happier that I woke up to pray. It focuses my day on what every day should be focused on: the Lord.

I've missed one day since school started. Yesterday. And that's because I slept through my alarm. I brushed it off, thinking that it wasn't a big deal. But it was.

I was anxious all day. I hadn't realized it before, but praying in the morning helped me tremendously with my anxiety.

There are still days when I feel lonely, when I miss home. Slowly, though, it's getting better.

You see, I feel I've grown more in my faith during these three weeks at Asbury than I have in months. God has shown up for me in real, tangible ways. In answer to specific prayers. How could I possibly doubt Him when He's provided for my every waking moment since I've been here?

One night last week, I was praying before bed, and I simply asked God for someone to give me a hug. Most of the freshman don't give hugs yet since we don't really know each other. I hadn't had someone touch me in over two weeks. I'm not a touchy-feely person, but I wanted a hug so badly.

The very next morning, I went to breakfast with an upperclassman friend. As we were leaving, she gave me a big hug. "I always wished people would hug me when I was a freshman."

He answers my prayers. He gives me the desires of my heart.

He is directing my steps. He is leading me toward people who are helping me grow in my faith and grow toward Him.

At Asbury University, each class has a verse, a name, and a hymn that identify them.

Our verse is Hebrews 6:19. "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil..."

We are the Anchored Class of 2017. And I hope that in my years here at Asbury, I truly will become anchored in Him.

Friday, August 23, 2013


My very first week about college classes.

For most people, the college stress starts with school. Most freshman are struggling with hard classes and a college-level workload.

Not me. I love school. I love my classes and professors. I love having something to work on.

My struggle is friends.

It seems that everyone is pairing off and hanging out and creating friend groups. Except me.

There are people that I see as potential friends and people that I eat meals with, but it will take time.

It seems that everyone else jumped straight to being best friends and it's just taking me longer.

I want best friends. I want people I can hang out with and watch movies.

I just don't have it yet.

There are times when I'm walking around campus, surrounded by people, but feeling more alone than ever. Sometimes I sit in the cafeteria, surrounded by people I know only slightly and using every small-talk topic I can think of, feeling more friendless than I ever have.

I've been in lots of new places, but very rarely have I been in a new place where I don't have anyone "old" to go back to.

It's lonely. There are days when I really like it here, and days when I just want to give up and go home.

Somehow, in all my years of living, I never learned how to have just friends. I've had best friends (i.e. kindred spirits). I've had people I say "hey" to in the halls. But I've never had people that I hang out with, but am not best friends with.

This is something the Lord is trying to teach me. It is a hard lesson to learn, especially when you don't have any kindred spirits to fall back on.

I am certain of one thing though. I am never alone.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not My Plan

New student orientation at Asbury has not gone according to plan.

My plan, anyway.

I arrived at Asbury sick with a bad cough. Loaded up with enough cough meds to last me through the apocalypse, I decided a little cough wasn't going to hold me back this week.

Things were awkward for everyone. Some people knew each other, but most of us didn't. It was uncomfortable. Usually you know someone before living with them - not the case in college.

By the third day at orientation, many people had "paired off" and found friends. Not me. Sure, there were plenty of people that I said "hey" to while walking through campus, but I didn't have any best friends for life yet. Maybe no one did.

Either way, I was not looking forward to the hiking expedition my T.A.G. (Transition and Guidance) group was taking. Okay, so it wasn't really an expedition - it was an hour and a half walk through the woods (or so I thought).

No one expected the trails to be so muddy, though, the rain having stopped the day before. Halfway through the hike, I was already exhausted. We'd climbed hills and walked through (smallish) waterfalls.

Just when I thought it couldn't get much worse, my foot slipped in the mud, and twisted under me as I fell. I don't cry a whole lot from injuries - I have a very high pain tolerance. But I wanted to cry.

My group went on, with one of the leaders staying with me. A student trained in wilderness medicine (okay, so it wasn't called wilderness medicine, but it was something like that) came and checked out my foot, declaring that she didn't think it was broken.

"Do you think you can walk?" she asked me.

I looked around at the trees and ledges and the river flowing down below me. "Well," I replied. "I don't want to be stranded in the forest so, yes, I can walk."

The way back to a road was an uphill climb. I was winded, exhausted, sick, and in a whole lot of pain. It was awful.

When we finally got to a gravel road, the Associate Dean came and picked me up and drove me to the clinic. They wrapped my foot in an ace bandage, gave me an ice pack, and told me to pop ibuprofen four times a day to help with the swelling. They also gave me crutches to help take the weight off my foot.

Later that day as I sat on a bench, wistfully watching the other students playing volleyball on the green and mingling and making friends, I threw a little pity party for myself. This week had not gone as I planned at all. I was sick and now injured, and I still didn't feel that I had any friends.

Just then, an upperclassman girl I'd never seen before in my life came and sat down next to me. We talked and talked, and she introduced me to her friends. She even wanted to keep in contact.

Suddenly, things became clear to me. I felt I'd made a connection for the first time on Asbury grounds.

All because I'd messed up my foot.

I wouldn't have been sitting there, feeling (and probably looking) dejected and lonely without my foot being hurt.

And then I never would have met those girls.

I am confident that this was God, revealing a tiny bit of His plan to me.

And so, in a way, I'm glad I hurt my foot. I'm glad I'm on crutches.

It wasn't my plan.

But His are better anyway.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


These past few days have been filled with so many lasts.

Last lunches.

Last coffee dates.

Last books with Evan.

Last Les Mis with Levi.

Last Sonic run with Jace.

Last TV show together.

Last night sleeping in my own bed.

Last hugs from my brothers and sisters and mom.

None of the "getting ready for college" lists and blogs ever say anything about how hard it is to leave your family. Maybe because there is no advice for that. No way to make it any better. It just sucks.

My brain knows that to choose to stay with them now would be to choose a life where I didn't make myself do hard things. Illogical. But my heart hasn't gotten the memo yet.

I hate to think of my family moving on without me. Watching our shows without me. Reading new books without me. Seeing Jace's first marching band show without me. Becoming a new family unit without me.

I expect them to stay still while I keep moving.

But that's not realistic.

We will both move in different directions, but our hearts are twined together no matter where we are.

So while I had to experience so many lasts today, it also opened the door for many firsts.

First time living with a roommate.

First time being able to set my laptop on a table and not worry about a six-year-old messing it up.

First time coming home for fall break.

First time being on my own (sort of).

First time being a college freshman.

First time at new student orientation.