Graduation: A time to CELEBRATE
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;"
College: a time for breakdowns, weeping and mourning? Yes.
However, the following is also quite true:
College: a time to be born, a time to plant, a time to heal, a time to laugh.
A time to be born
College became the best celebration of being born-again in Christ.
I saw God do bigger and better things than I could ever imagine. He consistently reminded me to rejoice in my life with Him, and He allowed me to see many others experience that new life for the first time.
Last summer was one of the most growing and life-giving seasons of my life. After working at Pine Cove and my mom's breast cancer treatment coming to an end, this particular moment came like a cherry on top of a summer soaked in God's power.
Halie Smith, one of the campers in my Ignite camp (#JNami4Life), walked into the 24-hour prayer room. I had randomly- actually, entirely by God's good plan- decided to do my quiet time in there while our prayer teamers had a break. Halie walked in, and I asked if she had any prayer requests. We ended up talking for about an hour and a half. After walking through the Gospel with her, she accepted Christ! Later that day, she had baptism explained to her, and she decided she wanted to be baptized that same day!!
I know that Halie's life changed the moment she was born again in Christ. Getting to baptize her to celebrate that new life, changed mine.
I was reminded of how awe-inspiring Christ's salvation is, how He offers us fullness of life in Him, and how He desires to use us in mighty and huge ways all the time!
A time to plant
For me, college was also a time to plant some of the best friendships of my entire life.
I learned how to plant and nourish friendships. Sometimes the initial planting is easy- you live in the same dorm, or you serve in the same org. However, you don't always have classes together or run into each other on campus. Friendships take nourishment, but these friendships I've made in college have been 100% worth it.
I found friends who were willing to have countless brunch dates with me, friends to join me in late-night Whataburger endeavors, and friends to dance with me just because.
I found friends I could have every conversation in the book with- from very serious conversations about the many phases of Taylor Swift's hair to conversations about how God was molding us and guiding us.
I found friends who saw me at my worst and loved me just the same.
A time to heal
A time to laugh!
Sure, I've had my fair share of sad tears in college, but my heart has been moved to tears over the happiest and funniest moments of my life during college too. Some of the best LOL's?
Getting prank calls from friends playing Adele's "Hello" when I answer (I'm looking at you Elissa & Marissa)
teasing our hair until it was 80s Prom appropriate
attempting to take the bus to the Target 5 minutes away by car, and accidentally getting on a bus that took us to a Target in Pflugerville #TotalFreshmanMove
getting drenched trying to see Zac Efron, but it being totally worth it because I snagged this blurry photo
singing my heart out to Kelly Clarkson with my prayer group at 2 a.m. during Phi Lamb retreat
the fact that this really happened
These college years were full of God showing me time and time again how sovereign and good He is.
There were times full of grief and tears- times it was difficult to be happy. But there were also times full of laughs- times when it was easy to be carefree.
In all those times, Jesus was ALWAYS good.
"You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!" -Psalm 30: 11-12
When I felt like I found myself in any pit, Jesus was faithful to lift me out. Every. Single. Time. As I approach graduation, I am in a time to celebrate. I can look back at every time and season of my college career, both good and bad, and I can celebrate knowing the Lord was ultimately working for my good.
Friends, here's to hoping you enjoy the time you are in now! Remember there is a time for everything. If you are in a time of breaking down and weeping, don't fret. It will soon be time to dance and laugh again :)