I was reading Luke 10 and thinking a lot about the phrase “Love your neighbor as yourself”. I question why it is so hard for so many of us to love people who are different from us. Whether that is in regards to beliefs, or socioeconomic status, or race, and country of origin- differences so often seem to separate and divide people rather than bringing them closer together. God breaks my heart for my neighbors all the time. Whether it is the man and woman who came into Walmart while I was working to return items from their baby showers because their baby passed away. Whether it is the male who was a different race than me who wanted to make sure I marked his return item so people didn’t think he stole it. I assured him that he was fine, and he replied you wouldn’t know because you aren’t black. I’m sorry that this is a consideration you have when walking in a store- that you are worried about things I wouldn’t even think of. It shouldn’t be this way. To my current neighbors who argue and struggle providing for their families, my heart breaks for them. To the woman who shared with me how she came to the US because the drug cartel was after her daughter in Costa Rica, who left an otherwise great life to come here and struggle- but to you it was worth it for your daughter- I feel for you and if I was in your shoes I would do the same thing. To my friend at the soup kitchen who lives in Northeast Ohio winters with no heat but shared how even though he didn’t have much growing up his parents showed him love and that is what meant the most to him- thank you for teaching me the importance of showing love and how much of an impact it can have on people’s lives. The tears were flowing when running 2.23 miles for Ahmaud Arbery and watching the video of George Floyd’s murder. Despite all the feelings for others I have to ask myself how can I use these feelings to show love? How can I advocate for others? How can I use my privileges for the benefit of other people? It should never be about me and my personal glory, but for God’s glory and kingdom. More than ever I feel so ready to go into the field of social work, and to let God use me as an advocate for whomever He desires. I pray that out of this time God creates fire in people to seek justice, to seek change. I pray that He teaches me how to love the people he breaks my heart for- that I learn how to be a better neighbor. I pray that more people will desire diversity- that it more and more be seen as a beautiful thing. I pray that those in the world realize that they need you now more than ever. Let your kingdom be done on Earth as it is in heaven, help us to better emulate you and glorify you. Lead us to love, and let love overcome. Let us better love our neighbors as thyself.
The past 6 months of my life since moving to Athens have been a bit of a roller coaster. First I started the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and then realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Then the next task was to figure out what I was actually meant to do. I felt that perhaps God maybe used PT school as a way to lead me to this place, even if PT wasn’t the right fit. Otherwise I never would have ended up coming here if it wasn’t for the PT program. I felt like I was meant to stay in Athens, for reasons I do not yet know. I was also already in a lease and figured I would try to take classes in the fall and find a job. Fast forward and the Master’s Program I applied for only starts in the fall, and there were two classes I needed to take as pre-requisites that I didn’t already get in my bachelor’s. The getting into classes and finding a job stage took about a month and a half because it isn’t easy to find a job in the summer with most of the college students gone. I ended up getting hired in retail, where I have worked the past 4 months, and oh what an interesting experience that has been. Thanksgiving Day will be my last day working in retail, the busiest day of the year. This job has challenged me in a lot of ways, and while being thankful that God answered my prayers and provided for me in this way, the past months have been a bit of a struggle for me.
Normally I am a very joyful and optimistic person, but the past few months my mind has been very fixated on the brokenness of the world that we live in. I’ve witnessed people stealing, trying to walk out without paying for hundreds of dollars’ worth of merchandise. I’ve witnessed people be deceitful and creative in the way that they try to manipulate the system. I’ve witnessed people who had their baby die after having three different baby showers, trying to return the items that they no longer needed. I’ve seen people with government vouchers trying to completely restart their lives after serious domestic abuse or tragedies such as fires. I’ve witnessed so many people who are on food stamps and have trouble providing for daily needs for their families. I’ve witnessed people intentionally stealing while their kids are with them in the store. I’ve experienced a level of rudeness that I have never before experienced, with people treating you like you are nothing just because of where you work. I’ve witnessed a level of pride and entitlement, where people act like everyone else is below them, and don’t treat other people with any sense of dignity or respect. I’ve been yelled at, sworn at, ignored, verbally abused, criticized, been accused of profiling, the list can go on. I’ve witnessed a meanness to people I didn’t know existed. I’ve been frustrated by people being so rude and mean on Sundays when they are clearly dressed up as if they just came from church. Many of my coworkers probably never have any desire to step foot in a church because of the way they are treated by many churchgoers, who contradict everything Christianity represents when they are shopping post-Church, which agitates me to no end. It baffles me how people can think it is okay to treat other human beings the way that they do. A lot of times customers will talk to me about sickness, death, or loneliness that they might be feeling.
So much of this has just made my heart break, seeing how much brokenness there is in the world we live in. It’s made me realize how much we need Jesus, how much I need Jesus. My mind jumps to the song Our Father by Bethel Music with the lyrics “Let Heaven come to earth, As it is in Heaven, Let Heaven come”. In Athens I see so much hurt, bitterness, anger, hopelessness, poverty. I am just constantly thinking of how this is not how it is supposed to be. There is so much more to this life. We have a reason to rejoice and have hope. There are times where I think of the struggles that other people are facing, and I just want to cry for them and with them. But oh how glorious heaven will be, when all these hurts and struggles people experience will pass away and be gone. What a glorious day that will be!
When I think of what God has been doing in my life the past 6 months, it’s hard for me to really come up with words. I think in many ways He has been testing my faith in many aspects. He has provided me with a community, a place to live, a job, a new job that I will be starting soon, the ability to take classes this fall, opportunities to explore His creation which I had deeply missed this past year. I will likely be signing a lease for next year before knowing about grad school, which I am weirdly okay with. I’ve found myself missing my community from Kent a lot and realized that I am now very disconnected from most people, but I guess that is part of moving away in some aspects. I feel like through my job the past four months God has been preparing my heart for my future career. I am excited for starting a new job, for becoming more connected into community, for hopefully starting to volunteer regularly in the community which I have missed so dearly, for new adventures. I think of how when I graduated undergrad I had Isaiah 6:8 “Here I am, Send Me” on my graduation cap, and how different that is starting to look from what I had originally thought. Had I not started following Jesus I feel like I would probably be in med school right now following what I thought I was meant to do, which in reality was largely based on expectations of others. With God becoming the center though, my life has been becoming way different than I imagined, leading to paths I probably never would have chosen on my own. I do not know what tomorrow holds, or the next day, but I know that God will be with me every step of the way to guide me. This life is not what I thought it would be, but it’s an adventure worth being excited about, because it’s being led by the best guide out there.
Here is an archive of many of the articles I wrote during my time at H2O Kent as part of the story team!
Change- the act or instance of making or becoming different. Lately in my life there has been a lot of change. From moving to a new place, to starting grad school, to realizing I was not in the right grad school program, to planning on switching career paths, to looking for jobs, to not knowing anyone, to finding a new church, the list can keep going on. This time has been both nerve-racking and exciting and many of my insecurities have been coming to the surface.
One of these insecurities is the desire to be known and loved. I have found myself trying to explain myself to people- to explain my past in the hopes that they can understand what type of person I am rather than just let them get to know me. I will tell myself lies that maybe this person doesn’t care to truly know me, which leads me to thinking in self-deprecating types of ways. Sometimes I can overthink little details and over-analyze situations causing me to say things I shouldn’t, which results in me trying to justify my actions. Another example is feeling like I must make people understand why I decided to withdraw from the physical therapy program and why I’m thinking of a different path. So much of this boils down to one of my sin-struggles of wanting to please people and be likeable. So much of my life I have lived in this state of trying to live up to other peoples perceived expectations, that in reality didn’t exist or if they did, they didn’t really matter. I’ve come to realize that living this way will never result in satisfaction, as it is a never-ending cycle.
I like feeling secure, and one of the things that has come about through these changes is that I like to be in control. I am a Type A personality, and with that I like to have my future all planned out. Before that included staying in Athens for three years, getting my Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree, and then working. Even now I still try to hang on to any bit of control I can. While I can’t control whether I get hired or not, something I can control is the amount of jobs that I apply for. Each week I will just continue to apply for more jobs, because it helps me cling to this small feeling of having a little bit of control. I hate not-knowing things, and right now there isn’t a whole lot of knowns in my life. I’ve done the things that are in my control and now I just have to patient and trust in God, which is something I’m not good at doing.
One of the reasons this time has been difficult for me is because I am not believing in the truth. I don’t need to try and please other people- this desire stemming from this soul question of wanting to feel known and loved- because God knows and loves me like no one else can. His love is enough for me, and all I will ever need. I don’t need to search for this from other people, as it will always lead to disappointment. Nobody on this earth is capable of loving like He can- and if this perfect love is available through Him then why am I seeking it from other sources? There is also no sense in trying to control my future, as my future is already in God’s hands. He knows what is in store for me, and I must trust that it is good. Thank goodness for grace, because I sure as heck need it. I’ve had weird prideful moments come up recently that I have no idea where they came from as that’s not me, but I’ve been reminded that I’m just a speck of dust on this Earth. Despite being a speck of dust on this huge Earth He has reminded me that He loves me so much, and has given me grace for all these many ways I have sinned against Him and tried to do life on my own or sought things from other people that are already given perfectly through His love.
I am in no means writing this to receive any form of sympathy, and in truth I don’t want it. I’m writing this and being real about my struggles to remind you that no matter how much you mess up or stray away from what is true God gives you grace for that and His love doesn’t waver for you. I’m sure it doesn’t exactly please Him when we stray away, but I feel like He is telling me that it brings Him great joy when we come back, just like the story of the prodigal son. Despite my perfectionist tendencies, I am a super imperfect person, and I fail at things, or do things out of wrong intentions sometimes. I have strayed away, but He welcomes me back with open arms! I definitely feel like He uses hard situations and areas of life full of unknowns to teach us and grow us, and I’m praying that He continues to teach me and grow me in this season of life, whatever it may hold. I am reminded that He is all that I need and the only one who will truly satisfy the desires of my heart.
I could have done better.
I shouldn’t have made that mistake.
I knew that, why did I not remember?
Why am I so upset over this?
Why am I not happy?
What if I mess up?
What if I can’t handle it and am not capable?
Sometimes we are our own worst critics, and I am super guilty of that. I am guilty of holding myself to crazy standards, and then being so hard on myself when I don’t meet them. I’m not as bad now as when I was in high school, but I definitely haven’t broken the habit for good. It’s so easy to be joyful and optimistic on the outside, but in the inside be living in a state of fear, anxiousness, and worry. I question so many things, rather than just have faith and trust God with the process.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
My senior year of high school after I committed to Kent State I went to a Chemistry Scholarship reception where I was being awarded a scholarship as an incoming freshman. My mom and my high school chemistry teacher came along, as he was the one who recommended me for the scholarship. I remember feeling so intimidated afterwards. The people seemed so crazy smart and there were doctoral students presenting pieces of their research and I remember not understanding anything they were talking about. I questioned whether or not I could keep the gpa required for the scholarship, whether I would be able to handle being in the honors college, whether I would be able to get into (at the time) med school. I was so worried, and I remember my chemistry teacher telling me that I would be fine. Looking back I realize I was worried for nothing, and it is crazy how I worked myself up so much about it. I tend to overanalyze things, which doesn’t help my worried thoughts, as I can so easily let them consume me. I find myself going to the same kind of thoughts heading into DPT school. I know the thoughts probably aren’t rational, but it still doesn’t make them go away.
When I fall into these negative spirals, I am learning to focus on the truth.
Remembering that I am capable. Remembering that God has given me certain gifts to use, for His glory. Knowing that He wouldn’t put me in certain situations without purpose, if I wasn’t meant to be there. Trusting that if something is in His will, He will give me the right tools and help me succeed. He will give me strength, I am strong because of Him.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
During my sophomore year of college I remember being in a small group through my college church and one of the girls felt like I needed to be told that I was loved. It was random because I hadn’t really told her a lot, but she felt like God was speaking through her to tell me that. We wrote on a card other truths that we needed to hear and I remember taping it in the inside of my bible afterwards. Mine were:
I am loved
The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Deuteronomy 7: 7-9
I am worthy
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
I am capable
In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.
1 Samuel 18:14
I am valuable
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
I think so often we make assumptions about people. We thing certain people have everything together or that their life must be perfect. We label people as unstable or stable, crazy, nice, or mean. We make labels for other people based on surface level things, but there is so much we don’t know. We don’t know what battles someone is fighting in their heads, or what their situation is like with family or friends or relationships. There are so many elements to a person’s life, and it is not in our place to judge them, as only God is all-knowing. I’m definitely guilty of judging too, especially when I waitress and someone is really mean or doesn’t leave a tip. Sometimes I wonder how someone can be so mean, but in reality I have no idea their situation and it is not right for me to judge. We have to give other people grace, and also give ourselves grace. I think of my reactions a lot and how they impact people. If I react with love and grace and treat people kindly even if they treat me poorly, it might not be easy, but it can only do good rather than harm. A few months ago I read Everybody Always by Bob Goff (amazing book by the way, highly recommend), and I remember him talking about how Love Always Wins. I think we can always do a better job at loving people. From our neighbors to parents to coworkers to classmates to strangers, we can always improve and do a better job.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
1 Peter 3: 3-4
Not only can we try to learn to love people better, but we also need to realize that God loves us, so much. He loves us when we are sad, angry, happy, worried, when we doubt, when we question. His love for us never wavers, He is for us always. He wants us to talk to Him, He cares about how we are feeling. He wants us to find our refuge in Him, because he cares so deeply for us. He knows we mess up, but He loves us anyways, He gives us grace. He is with us when we grieve, when we don’t understand what is going on, because all along He is the one who truly understands the big picture, and wants to be there to comfort us. Rather than be our own worst critic and let thoughts that aren’t from God consume us I pray that we remember His love and rest in truth. When we doubt or worry we must remember Gods love for us and trust Him. We must remember that we are valuable, capable, worthy, and most of all loved so deeply.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
After graduating from Kent State in the Spring I was looking forward to having a break but also dreading it at the same time. I was excited about going to Colorado for a second time, but everything was up in the air after that was done. I was nervous about applying to physical therapy school, nervous about where I would work, what it would be like being at home for the longest amount of time in 3 years, and my list of concerns/fears/worries could continue. I knew that after graduating undergrad early I needed more than 2 days break before starting grad school for my mental health, but I was nervous about having a whole year break, it scared me, because in retrospect it seemed so long.
Fast forward to now, I am super thankful for this time away from school. In deciding to delay applying by a year, God was 10 steps ahead of me. When I got home from Colorado my grandpa was in the hospital after having a heart attack and stroke from the summer and wasn’t doing well. Being at home allowed me to spend some time with him, which was emotionally so hard for my entire family. I remember being in tears after almost every visit, and I could barely hold it together while I was in his room. On Labor Day he spoke last words to much of my family and passed away a few days later. Then in October my other grandpa had a bad fall while in the nursing home and went to the hospital. Afterwards he was receiving physical therapy and seemed to be on the right track and doing well but then passed away a few days later unexpectedly. I never would have guessed that I would lose both grandpa’s in such a short period of time, but I am thankful that I was not in school when all of it happened. I am grateful to have gotten to spend time with them before they passed and to spend time with my family through the grieving process that is definitely still present for my family as we learn to live without these two great people in our lives.
I’m also super thankful that I have been going through the application process to PT school while not having many other commitments other than working, because it has been so time consuming. To writing so many essays, having to apply to more schools because I didn’t get accepted via early admission, to going on weekend trips to interviews, the process started in July and is still not over (but hopefully will be ending in the next two weeks). God knew that if I did all of this in undergrad I would have been too stressed, especially since I never missed class because I would feel too guilty and because I cared so much.
Throughout this whole application process I’ve been praying to God to close and open doors, to give me either red or green lights. Initially I really thought I was supposed to go to this one particular school and applied via early admission, but God gave that a hard red light, which left me disappointed. I then applied to a bunch of places via regular admission and God once again gave me another red light for that same place. There was another school that I interviewed at and really liked, I thought it would be an environment where I would thrive, but God closed that door, which really surprised me. I received an acceptance for a school pretty early on in the process, which was a relief, but it was also stressful for me because of the cost. Since those red lights, God has continued to bless me and give more green lights for places which has been such a relief and an answer to prayer. He continues to give me affirmation that physical therapy is the profession where I am meant to be. I know that God is going to give me more lights in the next week or so as schools are making decisions before they leave for Christmas break. As He gives more green lights I’m going to have to choose one to take soon, which is hard, but I know that He has placed them there for a reason, and there might not actually be a wrong one to take.
In conclusion this season has helped me realize just how intentional God is. I’ve known He is intentional, but it always continues to amaze me. I never knew exactly what I needed, but God knew way in advance, and had purpose behind all the things that were once scary or unknown to me. The past few months have been difficult, but God has shown me that He is always with me through everything, and he hears me. I’ve been learning to find peace because He has been opening and closing doors and showing me that He has me exactly where He wants me to be. He knows me and He knows what is best for me. I never would have guessed what these past four months would consist of, but I’m thankful that He has been with me and delivered me through it all. He is good.
PEACE. Lately I don’t think I have been at peace as often because of not living out of thankfulness. My mind jumped to the service learning trip I participated in on spring break in Nicaragua. The people I interacted with in the community of Los Fierros were some of the most joyful people I have ever met. Their priorities were God, their family, and friends. These people could be considered poor by monetary worldly standards but were rich in so many important ways. They were thankful for the little things; time spent with people they cared about, going to visit the river, sharing meals with one another, playing soccer in a field, the list could go on. When I was in Nicaragua I felt a sense of peace coming from these people that I had never before experienced. Their faith was strong, and they were confident that God would provide for them. They were taking life day by day and finding joy despite the circumstances they faced.
I am continually reminded that joy is a choice. We can choose to live in despair, dwelling on the past, with fear of the future, in a constant state of worry. Or we can choose joy, being thankful for what God has done, is doing, and will do in the future. I must wait with expectant hope, knowing that God will provide and be faithful to the plan He has for my life. Part of choosing to be joyful each day involves being thankful for the small blessings throughout the day. Whether it is getting to spend time outside with God sitting under a tree by the lake, waiting on customers who are super kind, enjoying the times of watching old TV shows with my mom, or going to apple orchards with friends there is always something to be thankful for.
“I am under vows to you, my God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life”
Psalm 56: 12-13
During this period of waiting it is easy to worry and fret about what the schools will say, easy to be anxious until December when I hear a decision. However, I can also look at the blessings that this period of waiting is resulting in. It is allowing me to work to save some money to provide costs for expenses I will soon face. It is allowing me to spend extra time with my family, as I haven’t seen them much the past three years while in college. It is allowing more time to spend with God and read some good books. It is allowing me to focus on my health more again, to go the gym and go for runs in God’s beautiful creation. It is allowing me time to experiment with trying new healthy recipes. It is allowing me time to just be, to not have to worry about so many obligations like I had during college. It is allowing me to recharge, to be mentally prepared for what is in store next.
Rather than let circumstances define me, I can give all of those circumstances to God and trust Him with them. Releasing the things that are not in my control will allow me to find peace in the present moment. Joy and peace are not dependent on what will happen in the future. I can find those based on what Jesus has done on the cross for me, allowing me to have a relationship with God. I can be joyful because of the opportunity to live in the light rather than the darkness. Joyful because I am the daughter of a God who loves, a God who protects, a God who is faithful, a God where I can find rest, a God who hears my voice even if the world doesn’t, a God who cares, a God who is all-knowing, a God who is creative, a God who woos me with sunsets, a God who I can call a Father. He is with me, giving me all the reason to rejoice.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
Doors are constantly revolving- they open and close all depending on what God has in store. He will close the doors we aren’t meant to open and open the ones that are meant for us. Sometimes he lets us go through the wrong doors to teach us, so we rely on Him to lead us to the right doors.
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Right now I feel as if the doors are all closed and I don’t know which one I meant to enter. I have no way of knowing which door will open, so I am forced to trust God. The not knowing part stresses me out, and I have been constantly concerned, worried, and impatient. God partially closed a door in the process, and then opened one with granting me an interview in Missouri. I know that in the upcoming months He will open more doors with more interviews and close some others with denial. I’m praying that if there is a choice to go through several different doors that He will lead me to the one where I can glorify Him the most.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
I thrive when I am kept busy and have lots of things to look forward to. It is during the times of waiting and feeling like I am at a stand-still where impatience sets in. I hate the unknown as I like to feel like I have some kind of control over what is next. I’m good at partial surrender, but not as much with total surrender. Lately I have had to remind myself that God’s will takes precedence over my wishes. I could have the best application in the world and not get in if it isn’t in God’s will. I could also have a not-so-great application and still get in if that is what God desires. All of it does not happen on my own, He has a hand in everything.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I think control can separate us from God. It tells us we don’t need Him, that we can manage by ourselves. It is the easy way out not requiring dependence, trust, and patience. It’s closing the door on God and attempting to shut Him out of our lives. It’s giving God 90% but not everything, keeping those parts you really care about away from Him. I’m learning that I need to let go and let God. I need to stop all the striving and my perfectionist ways, and just trust in His power and strength. I need to trust that whatever God has planned it’s going to be better than anything I could come up with on my own. In this moment God knows exactly what I need and has already provided. In this time of waiting God has already given me all that I need to rely and depend on: Him. God already has planned which doors will open two months from now, which is exciting. I need to stop worrying and rejoice in the present moment. I can find peace now and not just in the future when I put my hope in God. He already has total control over my life, which is reason to rejoice.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken
Some words by Morgan Harper Nichols that have been of encouragement to me during this season:
“Perhaps there is no perfect or simple way to tread through this valley, but perhaps there is a way to tread through it as you are, knowing grace is never far and you are not alone”
“Even while you wait for certain things to fall into place, may you never forget that you are still free to thrive in this space; making the most of little things, making room for brand new things, fully living with all you have, even in your in betweens”
“While you are waiting for those certain things to happen, I hope you know there are still books to read. There are still people worth getting to know and there are still really good songs to sing. And these little things might not “fix” everything, but they will surely remind the soul, though the journey is long and winding, there is a life to be lived on the road”
“A restful approach to restless uncertainty provides strength and endurance for the rest of the journey”
“She may not know what tomorrow will bring but she will still be a reflection of hope and peace”
While spending the summer in the beautiful Rocky Mountains I tried to be present in the everyday YMCA experience, but was also preoccupied with taking next steps for the future. I was often overwhelmed with balancing the tasks of serving as a project leader, trying to make myself available to meet with people, and taking necessary time to apply for graduate school and have enough alone time with God. By the end of the summer I had done what I needed to in regards to my graduate school application, and had to focus on applying for jobs for once I got back home. I applied for three jobs and had an interview set up for once I returned home, so I left the summer feeling like everything was falling into place.
Once I got back to Ohio reality hit super quickly. I instantly felt stressed about finding a job since it can be difficult finding something that pays well enough where I live without having to drive a decent distance. God provided me a job, as I was rehired at one of my old jobs from a few summers ago, and I started work the very next day which was definitely a relief, a burden lifted off of my shoulders. In regards to my physical therapy application I can’t do anything until I hear back from the school I applied to via early decision. I have been filled with worry because if I don’t get in there then I will have around 1 week to get my application into other schools which will be stressful. I have been hoping for an answer soon, so that I will have a little bit more time if I need to apply to more places.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Among grad school serving as a source of worry I have been worried about finding a good community for the next 8 months before I start school again. At Kent and in the past two summers I have been surrounded by so many people who love the Lord and have helped me grow, that it scares me to not immediately have that.
This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it- the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’
Normally home is a place where I can feel rested and at peace. While I have been able to rest and catch up from sleep from Colorado, I haven’t been very at peace. I have constantly been on edge and missing my Kent community and friends.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
-Hebrews 12: 1-3
Whenever worry consumes me, I know that I am not trusting enough. The song New Wine by Hillsong says “When I trust in you I don’t need to understand”. I keep having to remind myself of this truth. Only God knows what will happen in my life, and He is in control. Before God came into my life I was very self-reliant, and have found this aspect of my personality hard to let go. I think He has been forcing me to let this go by placing me in situations where I can’t do anything on my own, I need Him. In areas before I came to know Him He has shown me how it wasn’t just me, it was Him. He was with me during some tough times academically in high school and showed me his presence on one of my worst days. He showed His faithfulness to me in providing for me financially for college, because I didn’t know how I would pay for college otherwise. He got me through times in college where I was completely overwhelmed and gave me strength to persevere. This past year of college was crazy taking 18 and 19 credits and being in more leadership roles than my previous two years, but God somehow helped me manage my time well, and I somehow still had more time for fun than my previous two years of college which was necessary for my mental health. By taking this gap year I was able to spend two summers in the Rocky Mountains, filled with so many memories and learning experiences, that I think God wanted me to have.
What God wants to do in these next 8 months I have no idea, but that’s okay because I don’t need to understand. He was faithful before, and will be faithful again. He loves me, is for me, and knows what is best for me.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
-Hebrews 10: 19-25
Going into my second summer at Estes Park Leadership Training I didn’t really know what to expect. Last summer God taught me about His love and character, and showed me this love in ways I had never previously experienced. He also taught me about how He is the perfect father. Right away this summer, I knew it would be way different.
To start the summer off I was having a lot of trouble sleeping and had no appetite. It was really weird and I didn’t know why it was happening. It felt somewhat like a spiritual attack. That first week we had an LT Retreat where we had a lot of quiet time with the Lord, and I remember praying to God that the devil not prevent what God wanted to do out here this summer. The next day I went on a walk with a friend from my school to Moraine Park where we were going to have some quiet time with the Lord. As soon as we started reading it started to rain, but then we saw the most beautiful rainbow over the mountains and in this moment I had hope and was reminded of God’s goodness. It was special because as we were walking back we saw another rainbow, and nobody else saw either of these back at the Y. It was an intimate moment that I was able to share with the Lord. That night I finally felt hungry for the first time in several days and was able to sleep, an answer to prayer and reminder of God’s faithfulness.
God has also been teaching me about authenticity. As a project leader I volunteered to share my testimony with our group first and as I was preparing, God brought to light some things that I had not previously shared when telling my testimony to people. During my second year of college I had a really rough season where I was not at all happy and was just very down. I questioned God’s purpose for my life, and didn’t understand what my purpose was at Kent. It got pretty bad to the point where my mom thought that maybe I should seek help. I ended up going to a psychologist in Kent, where I did not have a positive experience. The psychologist did not believe me when I told her that I never drank, and because she didn’t genuinely believe that I was telling the truth I felt like I couldn’t trust her and open up to this random stranger. I ended up not going back because I felt like it wasn’t going to help me. During this season I knew that I needed to continue to pursue the Lord and remain faithful. I knew that eventually He would get me out of this rut. I know that it is because of Him that I was able to get out of this season and feel renewed again. I did not tell anyone around me what I was going through other than my mom because at the time I felt ashamed and embarrassed, because people thought that my life was all put together. I had completely voided this out of my memory and hadn’t thought about it at all during the past school year. When God brought it to light I realized I hadn’t properly processed it and dealt with it. I also realized that I hurt the friends around me during that time by not letting them in on what I was going through. I realized the importance of sharing about this season because it is when I was at one of the lowest places I have experienced and is an example of God’s love, grace, and redemption. I have been led to reconciliation, to explain what happened to those friends and to be more authentic with both my friendships and God.
Another strange experience I have had is through sickness. I had been getting sick to where I would get dizzy and throw up, feel better again, go a few days, and then the cycle would continue. During this period I was forced to literally stop and rest. At the time I was super confused and bitter with God. I felt like I was missing out on things, wasn’t able to hike for almost two weeks, and the doctors didn’t know why I kept getting sick. I didn’t understand what God was doing and just felt really frustrated. Because of not being able to go on a really long hike on one of my off days I had a full day of extended time with God where I was able to process what He had been teaching me so far this summer. I was able to spend more time with God during these two weeks of sickness then what I probably would have spent if I was healthy. In some ways I think God was forcing me to rest and remind me that I need to communicate with Him.
With regards to my future I am in a spot right now where I am forced to depend and trust in the Lord. I don’t know where I will be working when I go back home, where I will go to church when I go back, where I will be going to grad school, where I will go to church during grad school, I basically know nothing and have no way of knowing. When one of my pastors asked me if I was excited about this season of not really knowing what was in store I didn’t really know. I think I was feeling a lot of fear because of my lack in trust. With being sick combined with all this stress with the unknowns I was struggling with finding joy and good in the situation. My pastor told me that I could either choose to stay bitter and confused at God or I could choose to have hope and excitement. He encouraged me that this season of waiting and resting in God’s timing is a beautiful place to be. My workshop through LT talked about surrendering to joy and letting that anger in the flesh die. There is nothing I can do to know about what the future has in store, and I had no control of when I would stop getting sick. I realized that I needed to change perspectives and start looking for joy in each circumstance that was occurring. Through Job 42 I was reminded that the things God has in store are too wonderful for me to know right now, I just have to trust in Him. If I trust in Him I don’t need to understand, something He has been reminding me of a lot lately.
For right now I’m trying to cling to joy, especially the joy I get to experience through having a relationship with God, a joy that is so hard to explain to others. He heals me when I’m throwing up, gives me strength on hikes when I don’t know if I can finish, woos me with crazy views in His creation, comforts me in times of distress, lets me find my rest in Him, and reminds me that He is in control of my life, forcing me to depend, rely, and trust in Him alone. This summer has been full of tears: tears of joy, tears of confusion, tears of anger, tears of hope, all reminding me of how much I need God, how He is the one where my dependence rests.
Job 22: 21-23
Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, because He who promised is faithful