I'm utterly exhausted- whomever the jerk was that decided my physics final needed to be on the last day (and at 8am!) needs a bowling ball to the head. Then moving out of the dorm was a circus in itself.
But I digress. I'm alive! And I don't have to think about homework or wearing shower shoes or side door alarms going off for 3 months. It was all worth it. :)
I really don't want to get all sentimental (cried once saying my few goodbyes. Thanks Ellie! ;) ), but it really was a great year. Last semester wasn't my favorite. This semester was probably my favorite since I started at Lipscomb, honestly. Overall, I really loved this year and all it taught me (good and bad).
I think the overlying theme of this year was faith. Having faith, believing in my faith... and trusting God in all circumstances, because He is faithful. He's the one that makes things beautiful.
It really is worth it to hand everything-and really, everything-over and let God work better than I can ever imagine. He showed me that in so many ways- and fulfilled everything ten fold.
Now faith is the turning of dreams into deeds;it is betting your life on the unseen realities. Hebrews 11:1
^The above scripture is from the Cotton Patch Bible, a version written in southern vernacular by Clarence Jordan that we read in Religion and American Culture. I just LOVE how this is worded. Faith is two things I've never thought of: it's turning dreams into deeds, and betting your life on the unseen.
Such a different way to read that scripture, I think.
The first part- turning dreams into deeds- shows me that faith means action. It's not just me hoping for something- it's me making it happen, with the trust that God is going to fulfill his end. Which he always does, in one way or another.
Like when I was supposed to originally room in Johnson this year, but some mix up happened so I had to find a new room. When they said I could move to Johnson or Elam, something in my heart just said go to Elam. I had no real reason to, but something just tugged at me to do it. I was a little worried about being in a completely different dorm than Fanning, but something just said do it. So I did.
It genuinely ended up being one of the best decisions I've made in college.
I just felt at home there instantly- it really did become my home away from home. It's hard not to make friends in Elam with just about everyone you come across. I'm not a social person in the slightest, yet I felt like you just know people in Elam because you see people so often. It just happens like that. And I love it. I'm thankful for the new friends I made, and some of the friendships I'd already made grow stronger thanks to the close proximity of Elam to everyone. Whether it's hanging out in the lobby playing bananagrams, talking with the RAs (especially the two beautiful ones I had on the 1st floor!), random impromptu movie nights, or just random chats in the hallways... I love the community in Elam. It's truly special.
Having faith that I can make a bold move (something as simple as changing dorms, for me-baby steps, people ;) ) and God will be there- whether it's to catch me as I fall, or lift me up to see His goodness- is something that I've never been really good at. I think He proved to me this year that it's okay to make a big bold move in faith, because whatever happens, He'll be there. It may be hard, or difficult- but I think He's teaching me that having a bold, active faith is worth that risk.
While some bold moves of faith may take you to another dorm... some may take you to another country.
That happened, too.
That was another dream I saw turn to action I'd never imagined.
I'd been on mission trips before, but I've never been on a trip quite like Cozumel.
Where I saw prayers answered before my eyes.
Where God taught me that love speaks all languages and crosses all language barriers.
Where God whispered, "trust me". And I got what He meant when He said it.
I'd never felt so vulnerable-being in a place where I didn't know the people, and especially didn't know the language. I felt so out of the loop at times. But every time, God just led me back in. He taught me to lean on faith- to remember that He can use me... in all circumstances. And that I will see Him... in circumstances I never imagined.
He gave me a new look at faith- and love- through the eyes of the cutest brown eyed babies over the course of one week. It took all the faith I had in me to trust that I could fundraise the money to go...that I could be used by Him... that I could connect with my team and the people there... that despite not knowing the language, the culture, anything, that this is where I was meant to be... and He returned me one-hundred fold. I cannot wait to go back. I miss Ciudad so very much!
Having faith- using faith in action- seriously was my theme for this year. And those are just some examples.
The 2nd part of that verse is my favorite, I think. Betting your life on the unseen. It puts a whole new perspective on putting my life in His hands, I think. It's a hard thing for me to trust God with everything-but as the above stories illustrate, good things happen when I do just that. But betting my life on the unseen? I don't bet things often, but when I do, I'd like to hope it's a sure bet- is my faith there?
Is my faith worth betting on? Is it that strong- that I know whose I am and that He has me in the palm of His hand? Can I bet my life on Him knowing full well that He will do beautiful things when I do?
Is my faith- my sure hope in the unseen- worth betting on? I don't know. But I think the 1st part of the scripture (turning dreams into deeds) kinda leads into the second part. I'm betting my life on the unseen by faith- by turning my wants and hopes and dreams into some bold action. By being bold and having faith in God, I'm indeed betting my life on Him- I could never do some of the things I do without faith that God's gonna catch me. So I think I am betting my life- everyday- in the hope that God will take my life and do something with it beyond my wildest hopes. Sometimes that's scary, but I think faith is what makes it a little less scary-with Him, I can do bold, beautiful things. I'm starting to trust that more and more.
I think learning to be more open- on my blog AND in my life in general- has helped me rely on my faith to be that open and vulnerable. I'm betting my life (in my mind I think) every time I open up more and more on this page. I think any blogger knows that it takes guts to be willing to spill your life (or parts of it, at least), for the world to possibly see. I've never been an open-book type of gal. So when I felt the need to start blogging, when I felt it on my heart to write, I just held my breath and hung on. I think for me it's been worth it. It's been helping me to become more open to people face-to-face, and that in itself is a great thing for this little introvert that's afraid of being honest with people. I have to have faith-to lean on God- to be willing to let Him and everyone else see what I write and hope that it is received in some way (whether by me, or others. usually it helps me the most!). It's definitely a step in faith for me to do this kind of thing, but it's also one of the best things I've done for myself.
Reading back to my first post of sophomore year, I talked about a devo Melissa and Ellie did for the dorm on the Lord's prayer, ending with them playing one of my favorite songs, "Your Love is Strong" by Jon Foreman. Looking back and seeing how much has happened, what I've done and what God's done is a crazy thing. I'm reminded that His will is what's to be done, and I think I've been pretty good at doing that this year. I don't know if some of the things that happened this year would have if I hadn't put my faith in Him, my life in His hands. But I did that in just about everything, and look how it turned out.
He does a heck of a lot better job than I do with my life. And that makes me want to bet my life on His more and more.
Thank you for a great sophomore year, Lipscomb. :)