Day One: Move in
“Wow, Lord, I’m so excited to see what You’re going to do here. Thank You for giving me patience today with moving in, for excitement and consideration in spending time with my family, and in making the time with them wonderful.”
Day Two: Return to IBC
“Lord, You have so blessed me with this church…thank You for using the people here to grow me closer to You and for all of what You’ve done in their lives as well as mine. I can’t wait to see what You’re going to do. And I get to be a part of it!”
Day Three: The First Morning of Classes
“Lord, You know what’s going to happen, and it’s going to be awesome. 🙂 Thank You for the time I had with Taylor and my church people yesterday, and thank You for giving me time to catch up with and talk to Bree. It was amazing :)”
Day Three: The End of the First Day of Classes
“I. Am. So. Awkward. Also, I’m such a doofus. I can’t do this. Who am I kidding? I’m already in seriously dangerous territory and there’s an enemy and a whole army of invisible nastiness that’s totally against me and I can’t do this and I feel like a failure and nothing makes sense.”
So, adapting to change has never been my forte. Ever. I’m just not good at it, and though the whole process of transitioning has definitely become smoother over time and as I’ve grown in trusting God with circumstances and people, change still messes with me emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
I left my first class, Children’s Book Writing (which is going to be wonderful 😀 ), feeling like I had no idea what I was doing, as if the entire world might as well have been falling apart, and I had no business in trying to be a writer. I was re-introduced to the constant challenge of figuring out how to write stories that reflect the glory of God, even if they’re not explicitly about God or full of theology. I was just overwhelmed.
And yet as I talked to my classmates a few minutes before class began, the two of them began to knock down and berate the male gender in the literary world. And God brought it back to Him, helping me know how to highlight the awesomeness of the differences between men and women, and how both the male brain and the female brain and how they work are needed to make a really great story. We need men.
So I knew the feeling following was not because God wasn’t present, or because I had somehow neglected to be His girl…it’s natural for me to talk about Him…when you love someone, you can’t help it. I can’t help it.
This overwhelmed-ness was nothing like how I felt biking to church on Sunday after having breakfast with Taylor and reading God’s word with her. Spending time with her and being encouraged by her faith and the way she’s blossomed in Christ was so refreshing. Biking through the City, weaving through the concrete corridors drenched in sunlight and maneuvering the traffic of Brooklyn made me soar. And I couldn’t believe God could ever bless me through the City itself. I had missed the noise, the people, the adventure, the discovery, the life of it all.
And yet there I was, in the newly renovated Pie Shop, overwhelmed, uncertain, feeling like a failure, and it was only the first day.
Earlier in the day, I’d grabbed lunch with Bree and Taylor, and I was so excited to talk to both of them about God, about what He’d been showing them, about how He’d been growing them, about what they thought. I wanted to hear their questions and their doubts, and I wanted to depend on Him during the time we talked.
And yet when lunch was over, I just felt awful. Not that we hadn’t talked about God, or about the Bible, or about good things, but I left the time with them feeling like I’d failed. Why?
Back in the Pie Shop, I pulled out my journal and started talking to God.
Me: Lord, I really can’t do this whole writing thing. What’s the point? I’m not even good at it and how dare I think I have what it takes. I can’t write.
I couldn’t figure out where this feeling and these thoughts were even coming from. Before I knew it, my notebook was open, and I was writing. I wrote a children’s story about a little girl with a new dress who twirled before everyone, and no one paid her any attention. Finally, she sat in the grass in her backyard, and her father came, saying with a smile that the ground was no place for a princess. She twirled and jumped and hopped and leaped for him, every once in a while checking to see if he was watching her. And he was.
I sat back in my chair and sighed.
Me: I get it. You love me and You delight in me, and You have equipped me for this. I love writing, and You’ve placed that desire in my heart and the talent in my hands, even when I feel inadequate.
I spent the next however many minutes talking to Him about what I was thinking, how I felt, sorting through the lies and the truth, realizing I was comparing myself to others and struggling with comparing my standards for different things to God’s, and remembering why God brought me here in the first place.
At one point Taylor came up to me and talked about work, but she didn’t sit down to talk, and that was okay. And I was okay. We chatted a bit more before she left with a smile. While the feeling of being overwhelmed still lingered, I could more easily trust God with this semester, and focus more on what I know to be true of Him and of how He sees me. I needed something familiar then, after I’d spent extra time with the One most familiar with me.
I left the Pie Shop and went to the C-Store, where I proceeded to buy food to prepare so I could actually eat…I discovered today that with the way my eating habits changed over the summer, I can’t eat much of anything in the cafeteria. But that’s okay 🙂 It just means I get to be more creative and experiment 😀
Back in my dorm, I pulled out Jacob’s letters, written to me while he was in Korea. As I read through them, one by one, God reminded me of who I am in Him, the personality He’s made for me and the disposition He’s created in me through the Holy Spirit, how He’s changed me, and how His ways and plans and thoughts are so much bigger and higher and more creative than mine will ever be.
The fear was already trying to settle in, and the desire to strive and be a “go-getter” kind of woman came up. The temptation to be cold, indifferent, superficial, and complacent arose, along with the temptation to pack up and go home, you don’t belong here. I realized then, looking back on the day, that the feelings of failure and such were an attack from the enemy, and had nothing really to do with how things went. And I felt ridiculous for not realizing it sooner, and for not being more aware.
My mom, while I was home, found herself bothered by the fact that I don’t “enjoy” my college experience. And that made me think. I don’t mean for it to sound as if I don’t enjoy my time here…maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word. I just know that, coming into this place with my God, with the Spirit He’s placed in me, and with the offensive truth of His word being the living thing on which I base my entire self, there is an enemy out to get me and stop me and to, if he can, break the heart of God by destroying me.
“Hunter, it’s just college. Relax.”
Sure. Right, it is “just college.” But then I grow out of college and get into the work place. “Hunter, it’s just your job. Relax.” Then I get married and have a family. “Hunter, it’s just another relationship, just your kids. Relax.” Pretty soon, I hate my job, I’m getting a divorce, my kids are miserable and disconnected from me and from God, and for what? All of these things, their purpose ordained by God and effectiveness in bringing me closer to Christ, and everything in between are threatened completely by the enemy of God, by the world, and by my own flesh. I refuse to act as if I don’t know about this.
So, “enjoy” is not the right word. This is war. Not war on people, or on injustice, or on ideas, or on differences. War on Satan, on the enemies of God. And yes, I enjoy every second of it.
“We long to be fought for; loved enough to be courageously protected. But there is a mighty fierceness set in the hearts of women by God. This fierceness is true to who we are and what we are created to do. Women are warriors too.” —Captivating
It’s a challenge, yes. And being here for God, with God, and because of God makes me a target for the enemy, but God is much bigger and much stronger, and He protects me along with giving me the armor and the weapons to fight against feelings of failure and inadequacy and fear, temptations to be anything less than His girl. And I will always be His girl 🙂
This is an adventure for me, a war of great importance, a time of challenge, a day of victory, despite my feelings. Will I struggle with fear? Yes. Will I fall flat on my face? You bet. Will there be times when I want to give up, go home, and call it quits? Absolutely. But God is already moving; He’s already putting into place all of the pieces to be moved to where He wants them. I can see Him pursuing my classmates, even if they can’t. I am privileged to witness His setting up this semester to glorify Him to no end. He’s provided for me completely, fulfilled me entirely, and loved me fiercely, and continues to do all of these things even as I write to you now. I belong to the One who is strong enough, and it is because of that, that I can rest in Him, wake up tomorrow, ready for the next day, with peace in my heart, His renewed mercies stretching out before me, and His sword in my hand 🙂
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” —Romans 15:4—
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” —Ephesians 6:10-13