In the past few days I've had the opportunity to talk with a few of my friends about the future, and what I want to do after I graduate 13 months from now (gulp)!
It's interesting, because until very recently, I haven't had many friends that I felt I could share my religious convictions and spiritual thoughts with, but suddenly I find myself surrounded by Christians who encourage and challenge me. Last Friday my friend Grace came to share her testimony with me, and after we discussed it and cried a little, we had a very deep conversation about relationships, love, purity, and family. Since 2009 I have felt particularly skittish about relationships, because the one time that I entered into an "official" relationship, I wasn't treated with respect. The entire ordeal lasted only three months, but the entire experience of being put-down, patronized, dismissed, and somewhat offended, has weighed on me heavily for nearly two years.
If someone gave me the chance now to undo what happened in 2009, I would be tempted to take the opportunity-- but then I never would have become closer to God. It was during that relationship that I prayed to God for direction, because the boy I was dating was very adamant that religion should not be a part of his life or mine. Having been raised in a Christian home, but only truly accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior during my first year in college, I was still impressionable and easily swayed. In the end, it was God that spoke to my heart saying that this was not the right place for me. My recovery took a long time, but I turned to God for support more than I ever had before, and my relationship with Him became so much stronger and more personal.
Now, after all this time feeling that I was the only Christian in a sea of people, God has revealed to me how His grace is to be seen everywhere. For one thing, He reunited me with my childhood friend Grace. Grace is a devout and enthusiastic woman of God, and her journey in faith led her path to cross mine again when she moved into a dorm room down the hall from me at the beginning of the semester. Grace is involved in many Christian-based activities around campus, and has been encouraging me to attend events and meetings with her, as well as take the time to pray out loud with each other.
The Lord has also reintroduced me to a boy whom I have known since my freshman year in college. This young man has much in common with me, and in the past three years we have often found ourselves joining the same groups, holding the same jobs, and meeting the same friends. Suddenly this semester, God saw fit to open our hearts to each other even more. We have been attending church together with some friends for a few months now, joining each other for meals, praying together, and somehow we came up with the idea to have "movie nights" every so often. Two weeks ago we watched "Singin' In the Rain" with some other residents of our dorm, and last weekend we watched "The Princess Bride".
"The Princess Bride" was not really his ideal movie (although I thought the swashbuckling adventure would have been enough to win him...), but it was really what happened after the movie that made the "movie night" most enjoyable. There was a concert on campus, so most people were out and about, and we had the downstairs lounge to ourselves. This was fine, because we were sharing our "war stories" of the Resident Assistant job, and talking about some issues that had recently come up in his staff meeting. The conversation gently diverged from the topic of social justice in college to our personal beliefs, and the beliefs of our families. From there we talked about faith, church, and how we came to be who we were. Eventually, we discussed the terrifying idea of "the real world" which looms ever nearer. I remember expressing my dismay at the prospects of settling into a career that I did not love, and in response he said something that has stayed with me. He said that while getting a job was important, and getting a job that you enjoyed was preferable, those were not the things that mattered most in life. For him, relationships with others, love, marriage, and eventually children were the things that would color his life.
The more I think about that statement, the more I fall in love with that idea. If it in God's plan for my life to find a job that I am completely satisfied with, He will make it happen. But it is more important to God that I grow up to become a godly woman, a good Christian, and a follower of His Word than anything else.
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