3 Goals For My Freshman Year of College

Hello everyone! How are you? I have just finished moving in to my University! It has been such a busy and crazy two days but I loved every minute of it. My first day of classes was yesterday and so far everything has been going pretty well! I wanted to make a couple of goals to put myself into the right mindset for school. Here are three of my goals for my freshman year of college.

1. Find a church that I can get involved with.

It’s so important for me to find a church home, especially since I am far away from home. It’s good to have Christians supporting me and keeping me accountable. Also, “church shopping” is a good way to broaden my beliefs and get to know how other people do things!

2. Attend some sporting events.

One thing that I didn’t do in high school was attend sporting events. I always found some kind of excuse as to why I couldn’t go, but now I kind of wish that I had. I could have met more people and experienced a side to the school that I didn’t see. My university has a lot of sporting events happening all throughout the year so I really want to try to attend some of them!

3. Be intentional.

Looking back on my senior year, I realized that there are so many people that I saw everyday but didn’t bother to get to know. Now, I wish that I had stepped out of my comfort zone a little bit more and gotten to know people outside of my group and grade. This year, I want to make more of an effort to be intentional about the relationships that I have.

What are some of your goals for this year?

His Plans Are Perfect

Have you ever had a situation in your life where the path or the plan didn’t really make sense, the pieces didn’t seem to fit, but somehow God worked through it and presented you with a final product better than you could have ever hoped for? For me, this is exactly what happened in my homeschool/high school transition experience.

As I had mentioned earlier in this blog, I was homeschooled for a while. But, when I started thinking about going back to school, there was a huge part of me that really didn’t want to go. And I mean really didn’t want to go. In my Sophmore year of high school, I went to a sleepover with one of my best friends. She asked me “what if we went to school together?!” Outwardly I said “that would be so much fun!” but inwardly, I was thinking, “there’s no way I am going to switch schools again.”

It’s a good thing God didn’t listen to me.

A couple of days after that sleepover, I applied to a private Christian school and got accepted four weeks before the first day of school. God opened door after door on my way to the school. That in and of itself was a huge miracle because I had applied late and there wasn’t much space for more students. Even though it was last minute and all of the available spots in the school were filled, I was able to obtain a spot and was admitted into high school. And it was the one of the best things that happened to me.

It was through this journey that I met some amazing people, building friendships that I never thought I would have. I met mentors and was pushed to study harder and better. Eventually, I graduated and now I will be attending a Christian university with some amazing fellow English majors and a whole world ahead of me.

Way back in Sophmore year, I never even thought I would some day end up sitting around a lunch table with some close friends or dancing in a room filled with classmates at prom or even traveling on a school trip to Peru. Those things just didn’t seem even remotely possible to me.

Looking back, I am so glad that I said yes to God’s plan even when I didn’t want to and it didn’t make sense. Homeschooling was great, but it was only to be a part of my path. I loved being at home and spending time with my family, but I wouldn’t have been able to grow so much if I had stayed. Not in the ways I have.

When God’s plans for you don’t make sense, remember what Proverbs 16:4 says: “the LORD works out everything to its proper end.” He wants you to grow in your trust for Him as He shows you His will for your life. But it’s important to remember that the things that don’t make sense now are only just the beginning of a wonderful adventure in God’s perfect plan.

God’s Perfect and Powerful Love

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Love. That is one thing that no one can live without. And yet, it is the thing that we, as a society, have broken. Love has seemed to have lost its meaning. After all, there is no way that we can love another person perfectly.

There is hope, though, because we are loved by a perfect and wonderful Father. As Christians, we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead. This powerful miracle is the ultimate example of God’s love for us. Jesus defeated death so that we could spend eternity with Him. John 13:1 says this:

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

As sinful and fallen people, it is impossible to love the way that God loves us. Despite the pain of our immense sin that was placed on Him, Jesus fought and destroyed death so we could have a relationship with Him. And through all of the pain, all of the sufferings, He still loved us. Isn’t that perfect love?

My challenge for you this week is to remember how powerful and perfect God’s love for us is. Remember that, even when we don’t feel loved, God loves us with an unending, all-powerful love.

signi

Learning to Pray Expectantly

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Prayer is an important part of having a strong relationship with God.

I remember last fall, my school took a trip to Windy Gap. We spent the week worshiping God and getting to know one another before heading back to school. One of the last nights we were there, the leaders sent everyone off to have quiet time with God. I found a spot beside the sand volleyball courts. Looking up at the starry night sky, I thought of how cool it would be to see shooting stars.

Immediately after that thought, I frowned. Why should I ask God for shooting stars? Aren’t I supposed to ask for important and meaningful things? How can I ask for shooting stars when there are so many other things to be praying for? I bent my head and looked at my hands, convinced that something as little as shooting stars should be something I should have prayed for.

You could probably guess what happened. When the bell rang and everyone was called back to the chapel, my friends ran up to me speaking quickly about how beautiful the shooting stars had been. I stopped in the path, shocked. God had answered my prayers but I was so busy convincing myself it wasn’t worth the time that I had missed His answer all together!

While we should pray with full faith that He is able to answer our prayers and do everything we ask, we have to remember that it’s God’s Will that is to be done. God wants us to accept His Will completely and give our lives to Him. Once we do that, He openly answers our prayers because we are praying for His Will to be done! Sometimes, though, there are things that He gives us anyway, like shooting stars. But we have to remember that it is God that we are serving, not ourselves. James 1:6-8 explains this idea:

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ~ James 1:6-8

My challenge this week is that you would pray expectantly, knowing that God can answer your prayers, giving us everything we need, but also remembering that His Will comes first.

signi

Praising God Through the Storms of Life

praiseinthestorm

There will be storms in life. That is inevitable.

I’m sure we can all remember a time when everything seemed to be crashing all around us, the sky growing dark and cold. During those times, it can be hard to see God in the midst of the pain and the hurt. But, no matter what we feel, we are not alone.

God is in the midst of the storm. He is in the calm after the storm. He is there before the storm.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. ~Isaiah 43:2

When we remember that God is continually with us, the darkness around us doesn’t seem so dark anymore.What a great promise! So when we find ourselves in the midst of the storm, we can still praise Him for His promise to continually be with us.

My challenge for you this week is to remember God’s promise to be with you and praise Him for being faithful in that promise. Even though these storms can be difficult and painful, there is comfort knowing that we are not alone. For that, we praise God.

signi

An Essay on Stars and God’s Love (Guest Post)

 guestpost-ragtag

Breaking news: I love space. Also, God loves us enough to make stars for us, so that’s awesome.

I do not know why I love the stars so much.

My first memory of the night sky is standing on the driveway, the rough cement beneath our feet and the night like a blanket and my father pointing up to the heavens, tracing the stars into the constellation.

“Cygnus,” he would say with absolute confidence and a little bit of awe. “Orion.”

Why, I always asked. They don’t look like anything but pricks of light. Who was the first person to gaze up and see people?

My parents explained once upon a time, there were no lights. Every night, the sky seemed like it was on fire with the stars. There were more of them to see and trace.

Maybe that was what lit the passion inside me.

I have looked through a telescope two times in my life. Once, the neighbors down the street— a single mother and her teenage son— invited us to glimpse the heavens through theirs. I do not remember what we looked at. Perhaps it is only a dream. I only remember the coldness of the night and the darkness of the sky.

The second time, we went out with our friends the MacMillians to the golf course by their house. It was a bad place to look at stars; there was so much light pollution. But we had just finished a unit in school on astronomy and space and they had a telescope they had acquired from somewhere. We looked at the Moon, I believe, and tried to find Jupiter or Mars.

I remember lying on the golf course and staring up into the blackness with coats bundled close. We couldn’t actually see anything, but we imagined we could.

When I was older, we went to a planetarium. The animated heavens wheeled over us. They drew lines between the stars in the constellations. I did not like the fake stars. I wanted the real stars.

When I was nine and at summer camp for the second time, I was sick in the middle of the night. Most of what I remember is the walk with my counselor down to the infirmary, her hand clutched in mine. I looked up through the trees and it took my breath away.

Stars!

But what stars!

So many more than the skies at home. I could only see pieces of them through the treetops, but I longed for more.

Maybe it was just the mystery. Maybe the reason I love the sky so much is the fact that I have never seen it. I have only seen pieces of the heavens. I keep coming back for more, straining my eyes into the navy, looking for the milky way.

In New York City in 1965 the power went out for a night and all the people went up to the top of the buildings and looked up at the stars— spread out over the cities like they are every single night but visible for the first time in a century.

What a sight.

It seems to me that every time I have been out in the night I have only sought after the stars. I do not know why.

They are beautiful but they are distant. They might not even exist anymore. Their light takes eons to reach us; the actual star could be gone by now but the light is still traveling across space, thundering along at 300,000,000 meters per second but space is so massive it hardly makes a dent.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut. I have no idea why.

Space is beautiful but it is beautiful in the same way wildfires are beautiful. It is bone-chillingly terrifying as well; as unforgiving as the ocean.

Perhaps that is why astronauts and cosmonauts share their root in ‘sailor’.

Perhaps the younger version of me wanted to sail— to sail to all the fantastical planets no one has ever set foot on; to glide up to the distant stars and wave hello.

But space takes from you.

Space is unforgiving emptiness— silence and loneliness and coldness.

It is beautiful and breathtaking to look at space— those pictures from the Hubble telescope where every prick of light in the image is not a star but a galaxy, with a hundred million stars its own— they bring tears to my eyes.

But space is also wrong in some fundamental way, like watching an orchestra play without sound; the Wizard Of Oz with Kansas in color.

It is beautiful but it is terrifying once you get out in it, just like the ocean.

Maybe I am in love with space because of the book I had as a child. It was all about space exploration. I fell in love with the space race— with the scientists and their rockets. I could almost feel their emotions— disgust as their ideas were ignored, triumph as their vision was realized.

And under the stars, it seems as if the world is clearer.

The sky is high, higher than the ceilings in the great cathedrals of old. The grass is soft under your bare feet. Above, the stars glimmer down— millions and millions and millions of them.

Why are there stars?

Why did God decide to make stars? We wouldn’t know the difference.

We would never know the difference and yet I like the think that God thought it would bring us joy to look up upon the beauty of the sky ablaze as night.

I like to the think that God thought of me and my friends at our school retreat, lying on the cold grass staring into the heavens in unspeakable joy and thought, “I’ll make stars for them!”

I like to think that he saw me and my friends from camp sitting around a dying fire and canning our necks up to the heavens, filled with awe and thought, “I’ll make stars for them!”

I like to think that in all his planning for the world, he knew that the stars would fill us with wonder and amazement and a tremendous desire to see and to know, and so he, with hands so old the stars themselves seem like the lights of fireflies, spun them into the great blackness.

He hung each one in the heavens and thought about how it would bring us joy.

And so I am in love with the sky at night, with the stars, with the heavens.

I have never seen it in all its glory, but I know I will someday.

I know I will be driving through the empty lands of Montana some clear, clear night and I will pull the car over the side of the highway and get out and look up at the sky.

And I will not have words.

The sky will be on fire.

I will see the Milky Way, spread out like diamonds, each star so far away and yet looking down on me with unwavering light, older than the rocks I stand on.

And from above, God will smile. “I made them for you,” he whispers. “So you could have this joy.”

—The End—


Hello, everyone! I would like to give many thanks to Hollis Thundercroft from Rag Tag Essays for writing this guest post!

Hollis is a high school senior who writes essays in her free time. She enjoys running, quilting, and sleeping, as well as playing with her two new cats. Her favorite smell is after the rain, her favorite planet is Neptune, and her favorite rocket is the Saturn V, which, she says, you probably shouldn’t bring up in conversation because she will never stop talking about it.

I absolutely LOVE Hollis’s blog and all of her writing. I find her essays to be very powerful, true, and passionate. Please go check out her blog here and leave a comment!

signi

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Trusting God in His Plans

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I’m not ready.

As I enter into the final months of my Senior year, that is all I can think about… I’m not ready. Some of the people around me are getting so excited to leave high school and head off to college. But I just don’t feel ready.

Should I feel ready?

I was reading Isaiah a couple of nights ago when I came across the passage in Isaiah 6 where Isaiah was called to speak for the Lord.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

~ Isaiah 6:6-8

Isaiah didn’t stop to think whether or not he was qualified for the position that God was asking him to fill. He didn’t wonder if he was ready or had the time. He didn’t consider what he would be missing when he went on to continue God’s work. No. Instead, Isaiah heard God’s calling and immediately said, “Yes, I’m here, open and willing to do whatever You ask of me, Lord.”

During the Great Commission, Jesus commanded everyone to go. He didn’t say, “wait until you’re ready.” The command was to simply go, out of our comfort zones and into the world. But with that command, He promised that He would be with us. (Matthew 28:20)

So even though I don’t feel ready to head off to college, there is comfort in Jesus’ promise to be with me. Like Isaiah, I need to be willing and open to go wherever God calls me without hesitation. And that’s hard. But I’m not expected to do it alone.

My challenge for you (as well for myself) is to trust God in His plans for you. Whether He’s preparing you for a new chapter of life or simply giving you another week, trust His plans and say, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” Remember that His plans are perfect (Psalm 40:5) and trust Him completely.

signi

 

God is Enough

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“You’re not good enough.” “You’re not smart enough.” “You’re not strong enough.”

These are the words we tell ourselves. Sometimes, they are the words that we get told. They are the words which remind us of the everpresent truth of our humanness.

We fail. We mess up. And we surely fall short in our relationship with God.

But the good news is this: God is enough. His promises are perfect and His plans never fail.

“This God — how perfect are His deeds!
How dependable His words!
His is like a shield for all who seek His protection.
The LORD alone is God; God alone is our defence.” – Psalm 18: 30-31

How encouraging is it to know that we have a God who is forever perfect! When we fail, He picks us back up. When we forget the meaning of love, He shows us that His love is unconditional. And when we forget our worth, His reminds us of the truth.

My challenge for you this week is to focus on the perfection of God in the midst of our failures. When you feel like you aren’t measuring up to the standards in life, remember that He is enough.

signi

Seeing God in the Everyday

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I pulled into my parking spot and turned off the engine. From where I sat in the parking lot at school, I had a perfect view of the sunrise. Shades of blue merged into purple and pink. Thin clouds raced across the morning sky as birds happily chirped in the cool air.

I watched as the sun rose all too quickly and the sky turned blue. As I continued my school day, I remembered the beauty and wondered how amazing God is! Later, that night, I opened my Bible and read the words that perfectly expressed the awesome beauty I felt only a few hours before.

How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!
How plainly it shows what He has done!
Each day announces it to the following day;
each night repeats it to the next.
No speech or words are used, no sound is heard;
yet their message goes out to all the world
and is heard to the ends of the earth.
God made a home in the sky for the sun;
it comes out in the morning like a happy bridegroom,
like an athlete eager to run a race.
Psalm 19:1-5

I’m sure I’m not the only one to wake up some mornings feeling completely away from God. It can be difficult seeing Him work in life when we’re going through the motions and routines.

But, as Psalm 33:6 reminds us, God’s hand is shown throughout all of creation, in the beauty of His created world.

This week, I’d like to challenge you to look for God’s hand in the everyday things such as the sunrises, callings of the birds, and even in the beauty of human life.

signi

My 2018 Goals

Hello, friends! You have survived the first week of the new year! Yay! How has it been so far? My days have been pretty crazy as my second quarter of school ends this week and we are scrambling to have enough assignments in the grade book.

2018goals

It’s that time again to reflect on the past year and make goals for the future. 2018 is going to be a big year for me, as it is the year that I graduate high school and enter the world of college. While I am very excited for this year, I know it’s going to include lots of scary and uncomfortable changes. But that’s what life is full of! So the best thing is to make this year a great year. You with me? Here are my 6 goals to make this year great.


1. Grow in my devotion to God.

Every year I have had a different theme representing who I wanted to be and focus on for the year. Last year, my theme was peace and the year before it was hope. This year, my theme is devotion. As I looked back on 2017, I noticed how my relationship with Him has faltered a bit due to doubt and personal struggles. What I realize now is that I was resisting God because I wanted so desperately to be in control of things in my life. But, I’m not in control, God is. This year, I want to work on growing closer to God and trusting in Him for my future.

2. Keep my family relationship strong.

My family isn’t perfect but they are wonderful and I love them. We are already seeing the stress that senior year brings but I don’t want that to hinder our family relationship. This year, I want to continue to keep our relationship strong, even while I’m at college.

3. Stay connected to my friends.

I have been so blessed to have great friends who are very involved in our community as well as each other. But that also means that we are constantly busy. While we may not be around all of the time, I still want to stay connected to my friends and keep my relationships with them.

4. Finish Senior year strong.

Senioritis is real. I didn’t realize how real it was until I got my first acceptance letter. Although there is a lot of pressure among my senior class to give up and stop caring now that I’ve been accepted to college, I need to continue doing my best work in class and outside of class. To do this I will:

  • Set priorities
  • Stay organized
  • Stay motivated

5. Invest in myself.

I believe that a healthy mind and body leads to healthy relationships and a happier life. This year, I want to really make an effort to invest in myself. This can include getting back into photography as a creative outlet, writing music as a way to de-stress, and learning to say no when I am stressed and in need of rest.

6. Invest in my blog.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I took a couple of breaks this year. Part of that was because of my sanity, the other part being health-related. While I don’t know what this year will have in store for me, I want to put in a greater effort to be involved in this lovely blogging community. Specifically, I’d like to:

  • Host a giveaway!
  • Comment on 200 posts through the year.
  • and Host guests for collabs!

So that’s what my 2018 looks like! What are your goals for the New Year? Are there any things that you are really excited for this year?

signi