I’m currently sitting in a mess of my dorm room trying to pack up my belongings to move back home for the summer. As I’ve thought about this past year, I realized two things: it’s been really hard, but it’s also been really good. I think it would be safe to say that this has been the hardest year of my life. I have experienced pain and sadness and despair more than I ever have. But I think it’s also fitting to reflect on the ways God has provided and has been so gracious to me. I really do have so much to be thankful for.
1. I’m thankful for suffering. The suffering I’ve experienced has done two things in my heart: First, it has made me trust and cling to Jesus more than I ever have. Secondly, it has reminded me so vividly that this world isn’t my home. I have scars from the ways this world has hurt me, and I’ve been broken and wounded. But the cross is evidence of the promise that God is for me, and the story isn’t over. I have had to cling to and and delight in the promise that my life on earth is short and small compared to eternity. I’m so glad he is making all things new.
2. I’m thankful that I don’t need a “group.” For a while I thought that being in college meant I would have a set group of 10 friends who were all friends with each other and we would do EVERYTHING together ALL OF THE TIME. The end of my first year, I didn’t have that group. I spent part of my second year wishing I had one. I finally realized that I have incredible friends, in all different “groups” and I love spending time with them, whenever that opportunity presents itself. This has freed me to really invest in those relationships, and I’ve seen the Lord develop and use them in incredible ways.
3. I’m thankful for counseling. This could be a whole post in and of itself (it probably will be someday). But I’m so thankful that the Lord has provided an awesome counselor to walk with me through this season of my life. I have learned so much about myself, about my heart, and about the Lord. It has been so refreshing and healing for me.
4. I’m thankful for Spencer. He is at UF with me this year, and it has been such a blessing. Walking through some crazy hard things in our lives this year forced us to figure out what it looks like to love each-other when life is hard. I’m thankful that he is pursuing Jesus and trusting God with our relationship. Can’t wait to see what God has in store!
5. I’m thankful for opportunities to grow in leadership. Between being an RA for 50 awesome freshman girls, and helping with women’s ministry at CRU, God placed some awesome opportunities on my lap to learn how to lead well. I failed, repented, and accepted (and hopefully gave) grace. I’ve definitely learned a lot.
6. I’m thankful for lots of sleep. I’ve seriously gotten an unreal amount of sleep this year (we are talking an average of 9.5 hours a night) thanks to some late classes and I’ve loved it.
6. I’m thankful for new believers. I have had the incredible opportunity to get a front row seat watching my friend Andrea hear the gospel, join my small group through our church, and then be baptized. Her passion, excitement and joy for Christ is incredibly overwhelming and contagious. Her life has been such an encouragement and it has been amazing to see what God has done in her!
At the end of it all, I can say that “surely I have seen the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm27:13) in so many ways this year. Soli Deo Gloria!