I wrote a little bit about last semester in a previous blog post. However, I feel like I really didn’t say very much.
How do I write about everything that happened last semester? Last year? How do I explain that I had some wonderful times…but I had some of the most difficult times I have ever had? So much has happened this year. So many words swirling around in my head, and I’m wondering which ones to share. (And by the way…this could get long…) If you read these words and say that I am a horrible person, you are probably right. (And by the way, I hate being vulnerable, but…here we go…)
When Junior year started, I honestly wasn’t ready for the school year to begin. I was excited to live on campus for the first time. I was excited to see a few of my friends. But I really wasn’t ready. That mentality basically stayed with me the whole year.
Fall semester I only had 12.5 credits, which I have to say, was pretty great. (And for one of my classes I got to be camera op in chapel which was pretty fun, at times…and at other times it was pretty boring and annoying…but I liked it for the most part!) I didn’t have ANY tests this semester! Out of the blue, I had the amazing opportunity to shoot a friend of a friend’s engagement photos (which I have to say turned out beautifully and I just had a blast!). I reconnected with an old friend. We started dating. Things were going fairly well, for a little while. Then things went downhill at lightning speed.
My parents didn’t really approve of my boyfriend. My boyfriend didn’t really respect my parents and was in no way going to go out of his way to try to show them that he was a good guy and really cared about me. I ignored the warning signs. A bunch of old feelings about my parents and how they did things came back up, which was something I struggled with a lot. I just wanted to be happy. I thought I was happy every weekend I got the chance to go see him and hang out with him and a couple of his friends. But there were days I just couldn’t smile. My friends noticed and started teasing me about that, which just made it worse. I felt like everything I had and everything I ever wanted was being stripped away from me…one by one. An old friendship still hadn’t been restored. We still didn’t even talk, actually. One of my friends told me he likes me. I didn’t feel that way about him. It seemed like my parents didn’t want me to be happy (though now I can see their position a little better than I could at that time).
By the end of that semester, I was broken. I had broken up with my boyfriend a few months earlier (October). I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. I was tired of school. I was tired of being at the same place where I have literally ALWAYS been. I wanted a great relationship that would work out. I never knew how much I wanted my family to like my boyfriend until later. I was hurting, and honestly I didn’t really know where to turn. I didn’t actively walk away from God during that semester (in fact, if you had asked me how I was doing spiritually I would probably say pretty good…I was trying to do devotions and pray regularly…but maybe that’s not all there is to being close to God), but I didn’t actively seek Him, either.
I entered Christmas break feeling broken, sad, and tired. Christmas break, though, was pretty great! As it turned out, one of my friends couldn’t go home for Christmas, so I asked if he wanted to stay at my house. He ended up staying at my house for the whole 3 weeks of Christmas break, which was a lot of fun! He got to know my parents and my family. He got to know a lot of my extended family as well, when we went places for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My sister and her family also came home for a small part of break, so he got to know them as well. He also loved playing with my nieces and nephew (I have to say, it was pretty adorable). Something happened, though, that I wasn’t expecting at all. I never planned it (and if I had, I’m pretty sure it never would have worked out!). King and I started dating by the end of Christmas break. Like I said, neither of us planned it. We felt like God was completely leading us together…and we still feel that way.
Also during break, I reconnected with God. I started doing devotions and praying every day of break. During those times with Jesus, I also started writing Love Letters (I called them) from Christ, which really helped me a lot. It gave me comfort. I felt like it was God writing those words directly to my heart. I didn’t even know what I was going to write about when I sat down to write…sometimes I would start off with an idea of what I wanted to say, and by the end it would be completely different. But it spoke to me. I knew it was completely from God himself. I needed that. King read every Love Letter that ‘I’ wrote and he really liked them and was very supportive and told me that I should keep writing them. I wrote quite a few over break, but no longer had time when school started up again.
The New Year was coming! I had never heard of thinking of one word that you want to describe the new year, until my friend Katie brought it up. I decided that that was a great idea, so I picked Positivity, mostly because I knew that I did a horrible job of that in the previous semester and I believed that was what God wanted from me.
When I was about to head into the spring semester of my Junior year, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I didn’t feel quite as broken. I felt God’s peace through me each time I wrote a love letter. I was excited to have this opportunity with King and I knew that God had brought us together and that He had a plan for us. What I didn’t know, though, was that this was about to be the hardest semester I’ve ever had.
I went from 12.5 credits and no tests to 17 credits (the most that I’ve ever had) and tests ALL the time. I was still tired of school and still didn’t think I completely wanted to be here. Before the semester started, I was hoping that ‘life’ would be easier this semester, since school was getting so much harder. I had made it through an easy school semester but hard ‘life’ semester, so now I figured that would switch. I really think God had different plans for me (again). School did get a lot harder, and I really just didn’t want to do it and didn’t really see the point. Life was hard too, though.
So, now I guess it’s time to be really vulnerable and real…there were actually times when I was so depressed that I wouldn’t have minded (in fact, I kind of wanted) to be in a car accident or something. I didn’t really want to die, but I wouldn’t have minded getting hurt. I wouldn’t have started one on purpose of course, but if it happened, I thought I would be okay with that. Thank God that never happened.
It was a semester of many tears, fears, failures, and freak outs. Afraid of failing classes. It seemed like everything I tried to do, I failed at it. And I definitely failed at my word for the year: Positivity.
I’m not really sure why King stayed with me through the whole mess, because I was a mess! But he was usually there to let me cry on his shoulder or just hold me when I couldn’t even tell him what was wrong. I was a mess and he stayed anyway. I couldn’t be more grateful for that, because without that I would have fallen even more apart that I already was.
Yes, I was a mess. But then God brought the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Mexico into my life. That trip really was life changing and it was just a blast! I met so many new people, I had the amazing opportunity to speak to a young girl in my cabin who I felt like I could relate to probably the best out of the whole team, I got to use a couple of my passions (photography and music), and I learned so many things about God and myself. I learned that I could do so much more than I think I can. Because He will give me strength. And He will qualify me.
Coming back to school was hard. We came back to bad weather (after having amazing weather in Mexico). We came back and it was much harder to see God and His hand in my life again. I came back to the same struggles of school.
All of this past semester wasn’t bad, though. There were good times as well! We hung out with a lot of people. I got close to a couple people that I didn’t think I would. We went on a couple trips with a bunch of friends, people I barely knew at the time, but then got to know because of that (snow camp, Mexico…). I really did start to be more outgoing and I started talking to more people and hanging out with a large group of people again. Then life got tougher and I distanced myself a little more. I regret not making more relationships…or the ones I had stronger. I guess there’s always next year though 🙂
I have so much to think about this summer. And work through. And learn. And pray about. But I can do it because I know that when I run to the Father who has been here the whole time (even when He seems distant or silent), I am scooped into the Arms of Love.