I have been home from college for almost two weeks. In this two weeks I've been thinking a lot about what God taught me during my first year of college. Today, I was able to go up to Davidson (about a 40 minute drive) with some of the girls in my small group in high school and visit our small group leader (Kristen). During lunch, Kristen asked us what we learned/ which area had we grown the most in since entering college. As I thought about this question, a million things came to my mind and I want to share a couple.

1.God's plans are greater than mine. If you know me, you know I'm a planner. I like to follow a schedule and know exactly want to do. Because I'm like this, trusting that God's ways are better than mine has always been a hard thing for me to do. This year God has shown me that while I think my plans are so amazing and great for my life, he has so many more better things in store for me. Because of my stubbornness, the only way God has been able to show this to me is by completely turning my life upside down and shattering all my plans for my life. While it's so frustrating and hard at the time, I somehow always remember that God is making my life better. He is doing things in my life that are better than I could have ever imagined.

2. People are selfish, including myself. While I've known this my whole life, college really revealed it to me. I did not have a roommate, but just in my interactions with my friends I could see. I think that the purpose of this was for God to show me my own selfishness. I like to think of myself as someone who will do anything and not complain or need a thanks..but recently I've seen that my selfishness is not in material things, but in how I spend my time. I spent a lot of my freshman year investing in myself. I wasted so many hours on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc instead of investing in the lives of the girls living on my hall. Today, God smacked me right in the face and left me wondering why I didn't spend more time with that girl on my hall or sit with that girl sitting alone in the caf. God has also shown me that I need to show grace and forgiveness to those who are selfish around me because I am no better.

3. God's faithfulness literally astounds me. As I look back even to the first week of school, I can see God's hand throughout my entire freshman year. Being in a room all by myself, He knew that I would seclude myself. He placed a girl who lived down the hall in my orientation group and she had 2 roommates. I met them the second day and we started our friendship. This girl who was in my orientation group moved out after first semester, but her two roommates are two of my best friends there. Because of my friendships with them, I started attending RUF, and RUF has played a huge role in my growth at AU. It has been my main source of community, with God and people. I went into college as a scared, nervous freshman..not knowing what to expect and not knowing anyone, but God's faithfulness allowed me to finish my freshman year with confidence and assurance of my friends, classes, major, relationship with God and excitement for fall semester.

4.My final lesson is something that my boyfriend, Bryce, told me one night. I was struggling with God and wondering what the point of college even was. I want to be a teacher and I thought I had all the knowledge and skills and thought my classes were a waste of time. I took so many general eds that I thought I was back in high school. I was discouraged and wondering why God had me at AU and what His plan was. I think I was studying for finals and my thoughts were something like this: "This is so dumb." "I'm never going to use this." "First graders won't be learning about the osmosis and diffusion." "This is such a waste of time." And Bryce said this, "Study. Not just to do well on some test, but so that one day you're able to use it to further advance the kingdom of God. God is not wasting your time." When we hung up, I thought about what he had said and dang he was so right (this is not a usual occurance). The first thing I got wrong was thinking it's my time. It isn't, it is God's time and He can do whatever He wants to do with it. And while I may not think that I'm going to need to know how to write an annotated bibliography, the Rish algorithm, or how to break up with my boyfriend in Spanish...God is going to somehow use what I've learned to bring HIM glory. While I have yet to find the area of a triangle using the pythagorean theorem or use all the 7 million vocab words I've learned..I am only 19 years old. I still have a lot of living to do, well that's what I am planning on. Whenever I get discouraged or frustrated about almost anything, I think back to that night and remember what Bryce told me. It doesn't just apply to tests, it applies to almost everything in life.

After we all shared about our different college experiences, Kristen told us two things. The first thing being that while we think that we have to go across the world to make an impact or change for Christ, the truth is that Anderson University needs Christ just as much as Kenya, China and Peru. Right now, during my college years, is the best time to make an impact in someone's life. In college, everyone is finding out who they are and are usually open to many ideas. In sharing and investing in the lives of people I see around campus, I have the potential to impact the world. That is amazing, incredible, astounding to me. The second thing she said is that prayer is just as powerful, if not more powerful, than going and doing the work. Some people are called to live in grass huts and live with no plumbing, but some simply are not. This does not make one more of a Christian or someone that God loves more. Kristen encouraged us to research places in the area we wish to be in. For one of my friends, it's China. For one it's her campus. And for me, its inner city schools. And while we might not be able to drop everything and go there, we can pray. She said we should pick a organization and pray for them continually over the year (s). Prayer is not for the weak. Prayer is the best way to connect to our Creator and the Maker of the Heaven and Earth.

I know this post is long, but I hope you are encouraged in the ways that God revealed and used me. In sharing all this, I hope you can see some ways that you can be praying for me as I enter my sophomore year at Anderson University.

Until next time!