Somehow, here I sit — a gal who has just completed her very first week of senior year – how crazy! I feel as though I was JUST moving into my freshman dorm room yesterday, and now, I am sitting here in my house, which conveniently sits right across from campus, and I am unable to stop thinking about how crazy it is to be in my fourth year of college already. Those years have flown by, but I suppose that is a post for another day.
This past week, I began my senior year of college! The week was long, difficult, & stressful, along with every other synonym for all of those words. I am enrolled in five classes this semester, all psychology, and I am so excited for them! The classes consist of abnormal psych, psych of leadership, counseling, diversity issues in psych, and sensation & perception. They all seem so interesting, and I love learning, so I cannot wait to see what more I’ll learn about psych at the greatest university on the planet (I do apologize in advance, though, to all of the people whom I encounter on a regular basis, because I will undoubtedly be analyzing you and trying to diagnose you in my head).
Along with my classes this semester, I am applying to seminary. As many of you know, I am in the process towards becoming a pastor, specifically, an Elder in the United Methodist Church, and one requirement for that process is to pursue and earn my M. Div. So, slowly but surely, I have been creating my accounts, opening and starting my applications, drafting my written statements, asking for recommendation letters, and figuring out the various deadlines for each seminary I am applying to.
There were many times throughout this past week that I thought to myself, “yep, this is impossible to handle.” And I’m sure there will be many more occurrences throughout the semester in which I will think that to myself. But two words that I’ve been clinging to that I think really sum up what having God in my life means, especially during these crazy stressful seasons, is wholehearted dependence. Just last night as I was journaling, some of the words that flowed right off my heart and onto the page were, “I can’t see how I’m going to handle this semester, because I am not the one handling it — we are — You and me, God.”
I feel like I don’t even have time to be sitting down right now to breathe and write this post, but first and foremost, self care is still important, no matter how busy you get, and secondly, perhaps you need to be reminded to have this wholehearted dependence on a God who is always faithful, in every season and in every moment.
This week seemed like just about the longest week I’ve had in a while, and perhaps that’s because it began on a not so high note. I got back into Hburg this past Sunday, and I was super disorganized beforehand, because I only had 1 week after getting home from Cuba to pack all of my stuff and uproot myself to Hburg for the semester. I basically unpacked and then repacked and by repacked I mean I threw everything into suitcases and then into my car and called it “packed.” And of course, my move back to this town for my senior year wouldn’t be complete without a little excitement!
On Sunday, I left church with the worst pain and irritation in my right eye. It was as though somebody was taking a toothpick and poking my eye with it continuously. I walked out of church after the church and someone in the parking lot asked me if I was okay, because they thought I was crying, due to how my eyes were watering uncontrollably from the pain, and would not stop twitching. The pain did subside once I had sat in my car for a few minutes, so I began to drive home from church, but when I was about three minutes from home, it began again. I pretty much had to drive with one eye shut, which was stupid on my part, but, I will never do it again, I am alive, and so is everyone I passed on the road. I got home and bolted out of my car to grab my mom and ask for her help, because I thought for sure something was in my eye that I just could not for the life of me see. My mom and sister were planning on coming back to Hburg with me anyways to get me settled, which worked out well, because while I thought I would be able to drive, when I arrived at the gas station before getting on the road, my eye pain, twitching, and watering started again, and there was no way I was going to drive over a mountain like that. I hate driving over Afton mountain even with 20/20 vision, I was not about to do it with an impaired right eye. So, my awesome sister drove my car, my mom following behind. My eye twitched and watered and hurt the entire hour long drive back to my house at school. I was miserable, felt nauseous, and began to get a headache. So, they took me to urgent care once we got back to Hburg, where I got a a bunch of eye drops and found out that I had a corneal abrasion. The provider gave me an antibiotic ointment to put on my eye lid 4 times a day for 5 days (I’m now done with the antibiotics and feeling much, much better!) If you’re wondering what caused the abrasion, I’m afraid I don’t have some cool crazy answer for you. The doctor seemed to think that I originally did have something in my eye, and when I went to try get it out, I scratched the cornea. But anyways, that’s how this week started. I coincidentally do not have class Monday’s or Friday’s, so, Tuesday rolled around, and sure enough, it gave me yet another story:
All summer, I had been waitlisted for a class that I need in order to graduate. I was seventh in line to get into the class, which meant that it was pretty positive I would not get into it this semester. So, I began looking for a back up. Well, pretty much everything I would ever be interested in taking, was full (remember: 20,000 students go to this school). I need at least 15 credits this semester and 15 next semester in order to graduate with enough credits, because of how transferring worked out for me. My back up class ended up being a diversity issues in psych class, which I do not need, but I needed another class in order to be enrolled in 15 credits. Well, I was on the waitlist for that class, too. I was confident that I would get an override if I just showed up to the class and asked the professor for one, considering that I was the only person on the waitlist. However, when I showed up on Tuesday, I went up to the professor at the beginning of class to ask her about an override, and she told me that she does not give overrides because she wants the class to be as small as possible. So I left after she told me that, practically in tears, and I went to my department building to try to find another class online. Right when I sat down at my computer and logged into my university account, I saw that I had been enrolled in the class and off of the waitlist for that class — that class I had just been told I couldn’t be in because I was on the waitlist.
“Okay, God…I see you!”
The entire time I was waitlisted in that one class over the summer (the first class) I wasn’t worried about it at all. I trusted that it would work out one way or another. I am so close to graduation — I knew I would be okay, which doesn’t mean that I can just not work and expect God to have everything fall into place for me, rather, it means I was at peace while doing all that I possibly could to make it all work out…one way or another. Because when I think about it, that’s how it has always worked. God has always made a way, even if it wasn’t the ‘best way’ in my opinion, it was the way in his eyes, and it has always been better than any plan I could’ve had for myself. So rather than worrying myself sick about something that I ultimately had zero control over, I chose to believe it would work out…one way or another. All of that stems from my vivid memory of my first semester here at JMU — one night I paced back and forth outside of the library sobbing on the phone to my mom about how I thought I was going to fail calculus and never graduate college let alone graduate on time…………and here I am. God has gotten me this far. He has taken care of me. He will take care of you. He will take care of us, always.
When I got off that waitlist and into the class, I was hesitant at first because it was not my first choice, but after pausing in my tracks for a second, I thought maybe that was God saying to me, ‘hey, go for it — this is me taking care of you, again, as promised’
This week, while I have been going, going, going, and while crawling into bed has been the most satisfying thing in the world, every night, I haven’t let myself go to bed without reminding myself that God has me — that I am taken care of by him, today & always. He will be with me as I stress about classes and as I get all of my seminary applications and documents submitted by each of their deadlines. He will be with me while I take my exams, embrace this last year of school with my friends, and he will be with me when I find out if I’ve gotten accepted or rejected from these seminaries. He will be there, and he will have me in the palm of his hand, no matter what. We’re so lucky to have a God like that. This past week, I got to share at my church here in H-burg about my time in Cuba, and it reminded me of 2 things, including that, but also,
(1) The world is so much bigger than we see it and (2) I am called.
Cuba opened my eyes in many different ways to many different things, and I’m still processing what all of those different things are. But I miss it so much, and I can’t wait to go back one day (soon!!!), which reminds me that this world is so much bigger than school. It’s bigger than the view we have of ourselves and of life right now as students in college.
(2) I was reminded that I am called to minister. I’m not called to school, I’m not even called to seminary — those are steps on the path that I need to take and am excited to take, in order to get to my goal and call to become a pastor, but school is not my final goal nor should it cloud my vision from the opportunities I have right here, right now, to minister. I’m called to serve wherever I am. I’m called to love wherever I am and whomever I’m around. I’m called to show Jesus to people who know him already and people who do not. I am so excited to continue pursuing God’s call upon my life, here, where I am now, at the greatest university on the planet, as well as in the future, in seminary and beyond.
This semester is going to be difficult, and stressful, and filled with lots of coffee and probably some mental breakdowns and crying sesh’s here & there, either in my church’s sanctuary or on the phone with my parents. But I will always get back up. I have wonderful people surrounding me all of the time, I live with 5 of the greatest gals I know, I have amazing friends, family, and mentors loving and supporting me, near and from afar. And I have the greatest God, who I know has me in the palm of his hand.
I really appreciate any prayers you have to offer for this semester that is before me, and please let me know how I can be praying for you! & Remember to have that wholehearted dependence on our God — He is faithful and steadfast always!