The past eight months have been the most life-changing I’ve ever encountered. I’ve never been alone for more than a day. I’ve never spent more than two weeks away from my parents. I’ve never had to decide for myself what I’m going to eat for breakfast lunch and dinner-every day. I’ve never had to make sure the door is locked. I’ve never had to not tell someone when I’ll be back. I’ve never had so many friends that my parents don’t know. I’ve never made so many decisions on my own. I’ve never grown up as much as I have in the past eight months.
College is a whole new way of life for me. Last summer, I had more mixed emotions about leaving for college than I could count. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to have all the independence in the world, yet I was terrified to have every choice left up to me. What I would do. Where I would go. Who I would hang out with. When I would wake up. But who wouldn’t be ready to finally leave their strict, law-abyding parents? Me. Who would make all my decisions? I would. I never realized until I moved out how much I relied on my parents. They did (and still do plenty) everything for me. I really do have super-parents.
I remember balling my eyes out while I tried to fall asleep the first night I was here. For the following three months, I had my heart set on transferring schools the next year. I was going to buck-up, and hold it together for freshman year, and then after that I was going to be out of there. The Lord had other plans-as He usually does.
I talked to my mom on the phone at least twice a day every day for the first three months. She always told me the same thing when I told her how lonely I was, “Look to Jesus as your best friend. That’s who He wants to be for you.” She could not have been more right. Slowly but surely, I began to see the Love of Jesus like I never had before. He was real. He was tangible. He was personal-something I had never noticed before. He wanted to spend time with me. I began to give Him the time he so badly wanted with me, and when I did, I began to realize how badly I needed to spend that time with him. He began to speak to me, and I began to listen. Really listen. The concept of listening to Jesus was one that I had heard about for 18 years, but evidently, I had never grasped it. In my mind, a quiet time was when you sat down with your bible, and read the most encouraging passage I could find, and hope that I would remember it before I went to bed so I could prove to myself that I learned something from it. I found that a quiet time is so much more. It is a quiet time that is just about me and Jesus. I talk to him, and He talks to me. He began to comfort me in the exact areas I was hurting. I was lonely, so He was my friend. I was broken, so He was my healer. I was anxious, so He was my comforter. I was scared, so He was my safety. I was hopeless, so He was my hope.
Time had always been my most valuable asset. There was never enough of it in one day. Between school, work, a social life, and family time, when was I going to hang out with Jesus? Realizing that He wants to spend time with me, and that spending time with Him can change my life dramatically, is one of the greatest lessons I learned this year.
My greatest joy is to say how much I love my sweet, gracious Jesus. He waited for me to realize that He wants to be with me, and I am so thankful that he did. His grace is abounding.