Sometimes, when life hurts, when it doesn't feel like God
is faithful, when the words, "God is good" have become a
chant I repeat to myself with no heart change, I think it is
good to go back to all the times in my life when God has
proven Himself faithful to me.
The College Years
God's mercies to me during this time were abundant. I know I won't have time to highlight every way God was kind and faithful to me. But maybe that's the point.
1. He let me go to college.
Even in my junior year of high school I knew what school I wanted to attend and what my major I would pick. But this small, private school in Michigan was expensive. Like most students, I waited to see if I would be accepted. I waited even longer to find out if we could afford it. It wasn't until a little before I graduated from high school that I knew I was going to college.
The bottom line was that we couldn't afford college. But between both of my parents working, their sacrifices, my summer job, some financial aid, and loans, they thought it would work. I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for my school to see how much help I needed and what a good student I was and promise to give me more money. I prayed for my essay to win one of the big scholarships I entered. I prayed for God to hurl money down from the sky. None of those things happened.
Each year, and sometimes each semester, I didn't know if there would be enough money to go back to school. But somehow, small miracle after small miracle, there was just enough for me to go to school. Though God didn't give me my big miracle, He was faithful and provided a way for me to go to college and graduate.
2. He showed me that Christ was all I needed.
1,000 miles is a large distance. And I didn't realize just how large until I found myself on campus with strange people, two new roommates, a dorm full of girls, and my family quickly driving farther and farther away from me.
I wanted so much to belong, for my roommates to like me as much as I liked them, to do well in school, and to be an adult for the first time and not fail. But I was also scared and regretted choosing this school far from home. I didn't feel like I could do it.
It felt like I had been stripped of everything I loved. But with that feeling came the realization that I had Jesus. In ways I had never experienced before, Jesus was my comfort, my hope, and my security. When I felt like I had nothing, God showed me I had everything in His Son.
3. He provided me with amazing roommates and friends.
One of my biggest prayers before and during college were that God would give me good roommates. My mom has horror stories about her freshman roommate, and I didn't want to experience what she did. Even before I met my freshman roommates, I wanted to best friends with them. And when I met them, I loved them instantly, just because they were the girls God had placed in my room. God was kind and let us all be good friends. We had our struggles, our misunderstandings, and hard times, but we got through them. I couldn't have asked for better roommates. I have funny stories; no horror stories. I may cringe when I hear a song my roommate used as an alarm she never heard, but that is all.
Even through all four years of college, I was blessed with the girls I lived with and the friends I made.
4. My singleness.
This is a hard subject, one that I am reluctant to thank God for and something that is still a real struggle in my life. But I am thankful for how God used my singleness in college.
I am one of those girls that has wanted to be married and raise children as soon as my brain was able to grasp those concepts. Except for my writing dreams, marriage and children were all I ever wanted. And I all I want now. During high school none of my friends were dating and I recognized how young I was, so I was content to wait and daydream about my future family and what I would name my kids.
But the day I started college something changed in me. I now considered myself "officially" old enough to date and I lived on a campus full of eligible Christian young men who probably wanted to get married, too. So I figured it was only a matter of time before I met a wonderful, godly guy who liked me as much as liked him, we would start dating, and then get married in June after I graduated, just like my mom.
However, God had other plans. Each year of college ended with no boyfriend. Freshman. Sophomore. Junior. Senior. 19. 20. 21. 22. No boyfriend. No dates. To make things worse, the entire campus had marriage fever. Everyone around me was going on dates, new relationships popped up all around my dorm, and young freshman couples were getting married. Even my friends all seemed to have boyfriends. My roommate got engaged. It was happening to everyone but me. I graduated and sadly watched the month of June pass, though I never would have admitted to anyone what was so sad about the June I was 22.
Enter God teaching me a lot of things during those four years of college throughout my singleness, like trusting in Him alone, surrender, joy, contentment, and how I can plan all I want, but it is God's plans that prevail. My singleness shows me my weakness, my desperate need for Jesus, and the idol I have made into marriage.
I never wanted singleness. In fact, I ask God all the time to take it away. But until then, and even if it never happens, I can only praise my Savior for His faithfulness to me and discover how I can use my singleness.
5. I found an amazing church.
I would not have survived college without the church I attended in Michigan. That is no exaggeration. It was the only place I felt a little bit at home those first few weeks of school. It was a gospel centered place of worship that allowed me to escape from campus a few hours each week. It was full of people my age and older that cared about me.
I especially plugged more into my church my junior year. Though each year of college had it's own struggles, that year was the hardest. When I remember that year, I see a dark fog settled over and around all the things that happened, and my church was the only light. Again, I am not exaggerating. I knew the truth of the gospel that would bring me out of my circumstances, but I needed my church to remind me of those truths. Starting that year, due to many friends leaving and graduating, I had few close friends on campus. All of my friends were at my church.
I have much to praise God for in my past. Therefore, my present and my future are and will be no exception. Praise be!