I've made it! This is my last week of classes of fall semester and I cannot be happier to go home. Finals are just around the corner and the weight of stress continues to press upon me. Last night, as I was reading my devotional I was reminded of something I continue to forget daily when it comes to stress and everything else I have to do, that God is in control. I have to remember that I should not worry about where this life takes me. It is a journey, one that could lead to unexplainable destinations, blissful moments and unchartered waters. I think with the end approaching it leads me one step closer to graduating, which, I must say, scares me a little bit. Wasn't I just accepted to Hope College? At least that's what it feels like. I wonder where my life is going constantly. Will I be a physician's assistant? Or does God have other plans for me? Will I travel the world or will I stay in Michigan? Will I find a boy that loves me completely or will I be alone? Will I have children? Will I be happy with the decisions that I made? Will I make it through the struggles I come across? So many questions I have. But last night I was reminded that God has a purpose and a plan for me and He knows exactly what He is doing. I struggle with this fact. I'm faulty and no one knows better than me that I love to be in control. I am a pilot not a copilot. This week I've also been reminded of how fast the time goes. Since when am I halfway done with my sophomore year of college? I constantly become bombarded with so many things on my to-do list that I forget to just sit and relax and have a laugh with my best friends. I forget how wonderful it is to take a half hour and skype my best friends from back home and share laughs of the past weeks without each other. I forget how wise and caring my parents are when I come across struggles that only they will understand. I forget how much I miss my brother now and how I can't even bare the thought of him leaving so soon. So many things pile up on top of the most important aspects of my life, including my time with God. I forget or am too tired to do my devotions some nights. I sometimes am so stressed out that I don't want to go to our Gathering service on Sunday nights because it is ample homework time. And sometimes I forget how truly lucky I am to be blessed with so many beautiful people in my life. Coming up on Christmas time, I remember just that. I am lucky and blessed. Holidays are about spending time with your families and friends who love you. And I can't wait to spend another Christmas surrounded by love and support. So this week I'm finishing the race of this semester and as of Tuesday, I'm going home to de-stress and love on all of the people in my life that mean the most to me. I suggest that you do the same. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all! and God Bless!
This week is Thanksgiving! Can you believe it? I hardly can. I have always loved this holiday for so many reasons. I think I have come to appreciate it even more being in college. I do not get to go home as often so when I see my family I am that much more thankful and blessed for what a wonderful, loving family that God has given me. My roommate for the past few days and weeks has said "Ugh, I hate that everyone just seems to skip right over Thanksgiving, it is not Christmas yet, people!" At the time, I thought she was just being Scrooge, but as I walked downtown Holland, Michigan last weekend every shop had Christmas plastered all over the windows. I decided that my roommate was right, people tend to skip right over Thanksgiving and get right into Christmas. I am guilty of this myself, my family puts the Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving, the lights on the house and all of our Christmas dishes are put into the cupboards. I go Black Friday shopping for my Christmas gifts just like everyone else, but I can't help but wonder, do I appreciate Thanksgiving enough? Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days. I wake up to a house that smells of turkey roasting outside, stuffing being baked in the oven, pumpkin pie and other desserts cooling on the hutch in the kitchen. I wake up early so that I can get into the shower before my brother and get dressed to head to church. When we get back from church, I usually help my mom out in the kitchen for a bit, then the family comes over. We laugh and talk, watch the football game, play outside with my niece and nephew in the leaves and on the four-wheelers. It is a day dedicated to my family. On that day I think of nothing else but the love we have for one another and relationships that we have. On Thanksgiving it is so easy to remember why I give thanks. But, as soon as Friday comes, Christmas is pounded into my head, I think of nothing else but "oh shoot, what did Matt say he wanted for Christmas?" and "oh man, my mom would love this!" I cannot help but think this is the mentality of most of us. We only appreciate the day on that day. The other 364 days are spent thinking and doing other things. Well, here's my challenge for you and myself, go out and tell every person you know how much you care for and appreciate them, not only on Thanksgiving but every day of the year. Have a great Thanksgiving guys and God bless!
p.s. If Thanksgiving has become a stressor for you, as in you cannot stand the idea of being around your family for a whole day, think about all of the blessings that have been bestowed upon your life, friends, coworkers, and maybe even a stranger that helped you one time. If you are reading this, I thank God for you because I know that you are a blessing in someone's life even if you do not think so.
This morning I woke up at 7am to my phone vibrating and ringing loudly against my bed. After another 2am bedtime, studying for a midterm, you can imagine realizing my phone was going off took a couple seconds. I fumbled around a few more seconds and finally found my phone to find out that my dad was calling me. He was just hoping to get my voice-mail to leave my mom's new cell phone number on my phone. Whoops. My day continued with getting ready for class, taking a Health Dynamics midterm and then finally heading to chapel. One of the best parts of my Wednesdays. "I want to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and share in His suffering, by becoming like Him, in death."~Phil. 3:10-11 We learned this verse in sign language today. I decided that I absolutely love the book of Philippians, or as my roomie would say, "I freakin' love this book!". He emphasized the the idea that when we say "Christ" or "Jesus" in sign language, we point to the "nail holes" on our hands, symbolizing the sacrifice on the cross. I never even thought about that before and how many years have I been singing the B-I-B-L-E? I always look forward to chapel at Hope College because of the atmosphere. Just about half of our campus shows up to chapels and the Gathering on Sunday nights. The entire place is packed! Seeing the amount of college students that will take a little time out of their day because they WANT to praise Christ, is absolutely amazing and completely indescribable. God does amazing things within this community of Hope. As my day went on, I looked forward to the day's happenings. I got ready for CASA, an after-school program where we tutor kids in the Holland area that need help in school. Today, since we are so close to Halloween, we carved pumpkins!!! My kid, Joseph was sooo excited to do this activity. I swear that is all he talked about while we finished up his math problems. I love being tutor, some days it is very stressful having to deal with kids that are not used to respecting authority. I have a hard time in my van sometimes with a few kids. It is hard to figure out the boundaries of when I need to step in and say something or whether to let a comment pass over. Most of these kids are fourth and fifth graders, they cuss, fight, talk about the opposite sex in an inappropriate manner and talk back quite often. Sometimes I have hard time seeing how I am helping them. When I say things, often I feel like it goes in one ear and out of the other. I can only hope and pray that I am in some way getting across to them in a positive way even if I cannot see it. I pray that my influence is in some small way creating a piece of them that is a decent person even though at night gunshots could be heard next door from gang violence. I do not even know what I am saying really. This is my first time trying out this blog thing so I kind of feel like I'm throwing this out there in space. I am struggs at time management, as my roommate would also say, "I ride shot gun on the struggle bus." I think many of us college students have a hard time balancing everything. There is always so much on our plates it is hard to think about what is coming even the next day with a thousand meetings and projects and homework each night. Stress=what college students are made of. Life is full and how we manage it really defines who we are. I am so appreciative of God for bringing me here to this place.