Over the past few days, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned many things over again, like the fact that God can destroy fear and replace it with faith, He can heal broken hearts, He can humble and bring low even the most prideful people, and I’m talking about myself. He’s reminded me of what it means to be humble, though it’s uncomfortable, difficult, and a lesson that I have to learn all the time, because I’m so naturally selfish, independent, and prideful.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So, I ran five miles on Monday night, but I haven’t been able to run or even walk all that fast since. Turns out running that hard for that long upsets your body if you haven’t done it in a while. Anyway, I injured my knee to the point where I can’t extend it entirely or my petellar tendon (that adorable little thing that runs straight over the center of your knee cap, AKA, your patella) feels like it’ll snap, and it’s sore and irritated, and it’s been four days since I last ran. I’m presently walking on it during the day and trying to elevate it during the night, using a frozen Gatorade bottle full of water as an ice pack 😛 Hey! Necessity is the mother of invention 🙂 My Dad, who is the person I always run to whenever I get an injury, told me what to do and I will be nursing this lovely thing until I can run again. Meanwhile, I will be spending, or try to be spending, as little time moving as possible…oh boy.
A couple of days ago, I was sitting in the cafeteria, doing my Bible Study, studying Genesis and looking at what the creation account could tell me about God’s character (I’ve never looked at it closely, so I’m checking it out 🙂 ) and Maggie, one of my classmates, came up to me and started talking. She then went to grab lunch and said to have a good day 🙂 A few moments later, Sam, another one of my classmates, came and sat with me. He put his stuff down and started talking.
Now, God is amazing. He’s so creative and one of the ways He’s creative is in the way He created guys. Guys are awesome. But, I’m not gonna lie: I just always feel uncomfortable or weird or awkward whenever I talk to them, not because of them I don’t think, but because I’m just weird or something. I won’t pretend to be ignorant of the potential of friendships between guys and girls, and I won’t pretend that I don’t consider this to be a place where we, girls, shirk responsibility (even though it’s really the guys’ responsibility first) in keeping ourselves in a safe position. I’ll explain this in a moment.
Anyway, so Sam was sitting next to me and talking. I had already been sitting there and felt rude moving, so I was thinking about how to keep the conversation focused on my Bible and God and what I was studying. And then, because God is awesome, Maggie came over and sat with us 🙂 The three of us had a great talk on several things (I had a few questions for them). Maggie asked me a few questions as well, personally, like “What do you think about people who get verses tattoed on their bodies?” “What do you think of tattoes?” “Do you sometimes feel antagonized on campus for your faith?” and so on. It was really cool 🙂 Pretty soon, all of the writing people in my normal circle stood around where I was sitting, and the group of us moved to another table so everyone could sit.
The next day, I went to get lunch and saw that Alex was sitting right next to what has now become, after two weeks of sitting there every day, my normal spot and he seemed to be looking for someone. Once I came into view, he waved. We talked about the Bible and walking with Christ on a secular campus. After our talk (which was really cool and brought up a lot of things we can talk about in the Bible Study with everyone else tomorrow night…yeah, my classmates and I are meeting again 🙂 I’m really excited), he left for work and I sat there for a while longer, studying. Something was off though.
Then Sam walked over as I was getting ready to leave and started walking out with me. Where were all of my girl friends? I wondered. After I went to my dorm and Sam went to the library, I suddenly realized the potential problem here:
I love the fact that my classmates want to talk to me and I love talking to them about the Bible, but I was beginning to notice that it seemed like I was only talking to male classmates, which is fine, but there’s an element of precaution and wisdom that needs to be considered here.
“Hunter, stop being so prudish and juvenile. You’re just talking in the cafeteria, and about the Bible.”
Yeah, but I know how Satan has used that in the past, and I refuse to be ignorant of it. I know how innately innocent things like a girl genuinely ministering to unsaved and saved guys alike can put both parties into an awkward, dangerous, and sinful situation. Call me over dramatic, call me paranoid. I care too much about my classmates, about the way I represent God on campus and in my sphere of influence, and about Jacob to do anything less than make sure I’m doing the wise thing. And even if I was single, I wouldn’t be comfortable with being in a position where I was talking to a guy alone in the cafeteria. I’ve never been comfortable with that, even if we have a great discussion. I also understand that, as a girl, there’s a limit to how effectively I can minister to guys.
What’s the wise thing to do here?
So I talked to several women who are older and wiser than I who are all in ministry (all of whom I knew would faithfully consult their husbands :)) along with Jacob to get a plethora of counsel and advice on this. If I end up doing what I hope I’ll do, if I end up writing women’s Bible studies and counseling women and ministering deliberately to them as a profession or otherwise, I don’t doubt for a second this will come up again and again: where is the line between innocently ministering to the opposite gender and becoming too personal? It’s not that I’m trying to be sexist, or prejudice, or whatever else: I’m just being smart.
Everyone had great things to tell me and all of these women and Jacob really encouraged me in what they said. And I feel much more confident in going forth and just ministering to people and talking to them about God’s word, regardless of who they are, while still being wise in the way I speak, what I speak about, and how I communicate with them, for both my protection and theirs.
On top of this, there’s a ton of homework to do but also a ton of Bible studying to do and preparing to do and I’m trying to balance it all out. I still do what I always do with spending time with God in the morning, just me and Him, but it’s everything extra that’s running into schoolwork…it’s a fun sort of challenge 😀
This morning I met up with Heather for breakfast 🙂 The moment we started talking about God and about His word I realized that she had a purpose for our conversation as much as I had a purpose for our conversation. She wanted to stress one point of ministry while I wanted to stress another. Near the end of our discussion, I realized that both of us were talking about two different facets of ministry, two things God has called us to do as Christians, both of which we need to have and develop in our relationship with Him in order to be effective. Heather talked about the importance of studying the Bible and knowing what all of the parables mean and dedicating constant time to understanding the prophecies of Revelation and constantly looking to see if Christ is coming soon and if what He’d promised 2,000 years ago is being fulfilled, being prepared for when He comes by studying His word. I was stressing the importance of putting action and application to our studying, not just learning about Christ through His word and His promises, but also by living it out.
In the end, I realized we needed both. I study God’s word and seek to understand it naturally because I’m in a relationship with Him, so separating spending time with Him and taking deliberate action to apply what I was learning didn’t click in my head right away. Of course I’m going to study His word. Of course, when I don’t understand something, I’m going to look for counsel from people wiser than I, or I’ll study it out on my own. But these are all basic truths and parts of my relationship with Christ that should be applied right from the start. But I realized that what she was saying was still very important.
When I pointed this out to her (which I wouldn’t have been able to do without God pushing my natural defensiveness and desire to be right out of the way of my thinking), she smiled, and we got it. The conversation following was wonderful. We talked about our struggles, about our growth, about what we were learning, and about what we could each pray for concerning each other. I talked to her about how God was showing and teaching me, especially as a woman, how to be encouraging and be humble and ask for help and give others the opportunity to grow by helping me, even if I feel like I already know what to do.
We’re meeting again next Friday for breakfast 😀 It is so refreshing to have a Christian sister on campus that I can meet with and who’s eager to make the time in her schedule to talk to me 😀
After this, I went to check the mail before heading to Studio. I had three letters in my mailbox: one a pale blue, one an Easter yellow, and one army green. My grandma sent me a card for Valentines Day 🙂 I miss her. Gracie sent me a letter, filled with words of her heart, and that’s really wonderful to me 🙂 and Jacob sent me a letter…yeah 😀
And then there was a package.
When the mail person gave me the package, it was large enough for me to be a klutz carrying it…though, realistically, I would’ve been a klutz carrying a box the size of my palm, but that’s besides the point. Anyway, not only was I trying to figure out what it was as I brought it to my dorm with all of the letters, but also who it was from. My grandma often sent me things in the mail, but normally she had a note on it, saying “All our love!” or “Have fun sharing with your friends!” But there was no indication as to who had sent the package.
Chocolate-covered strawberries 🙂 They were amazing, but I still couldn’t figure out who to thank. And then it hit me. Jacob is wonderful 🙂
I went to Bible Study at Sam and Maria’s, talking about all that God is doing at Pratt, all the things He’s showing me, all the things I’m learning, about Jacob and his ministry, about everything 🙂 I held Samuel and helped Maria cook dinner. Edward and Jonathon, after we’d watched a debate titled “Is Christianity Good for the World?” between Douglas Wilson and Christopher Hitchens, had a debate that eventually simmered down after growing heated and smoldering, and then becoming heated again. Nevertheless, the discussion was good, and I felt challenged and strengthened when I left.
Upon returning to my dorm, I just and smiled for a while 🙂 This entire week has been magnificent, challenging in its own way, of course, but amazing to say the least. Tomorrow, I meet up with my classmates again for Bible study, and then basketball practice…I’m not sure how that will work with the whole knee situation, but we’ll see 🙂 And then the rest of the weekend appears to be homework, and studying, and more homework…but, man, God is good 🙂