To The Doubting College Student

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Dear Doubting College Student,

I cannot speak for you. Only you know where you are right now. Maybe the things you want to go well in your life just aren’t. Maybe the things you don’t want in your life keep coming. Maybe you feel so completely and utterly confused, lost, alone.

I’ve been where you are.

There are good days. There are great days. And there are days where absolutely everything feels out of place. My freshman year was full of those out-of-place days.

I questioned my decision to go to college. I questioned the school I chose. I questioned my major. I questioned my roommate. I questioned my classes, my ability, my promises, my role in it all. There wasn’t an aspect of the college journey that I didn’t question.

I cried. A lot. I got angry. I ran, ran from everything I knew. But worst of all, deepest of all, I ran from God. Hadn’t He told me to go to this school? Hadn’t He given me these talents? Hadn’t He sent me this roommate? Where was the blessing of obedience? Where was the peace, the success, the grades? I did all the right things and I didn’t feel successful. I didn’t see it. I was frustrated. So I ran.

I can’t tell you exactly when it was that I started to see God working. But I can tell you that it happened in baby steps. I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be emotionally, spiritually, mentally. I talked to close friends, ranted to my parents, went to counseling. I sought out mentors, advisers. I asked questions. I questioned everything. Again and again, I was faced with one word: SURRENDER.

I was searching for success in myself. I tried to create stability in myself. I wanted to go to college, to do well in my classes, to prove myself worthy–worthy of admiration, worthy of praise. I told myself it was for Him and yet I worked for myself. Once I realized that, I had a decision to make: was I going to continue to do my own thing or was I going to start to let go?

Letting go is scary. Trusting is scary. Giving up yourself is scary. And it’s hard. Am I willing to trust that God is truly in control, that He is perfect, that His plans for me are higher, better? Will I allow Him to fulfill my dreams, the dreams He placed in my heart?

It was a long, grinding process. But slowly and surely, I learned to let go. Little by little I opened my hands and my heart and gave my dreams to God. In return, He gave me peace. Peace and hope.

That’s how it can be for you.

Deep down you know what you need to do. You are standing in your story. You know the dreams that God has given you. You know the costs of surrendering. But only you can make the decision to do that.

The change won’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself. Give yourself the room to struggle with questions. Allow yourself to think and wonder. But ultimately, allow yourself to come to Him. Give Him a fighting chance to prove Himself. Because He will.

signi

101 in 1001: A Year Update

Start date: Friday, May 11, 2018
First Update: 6 Months
End date: Friday, February 05, 2021

Hello everyone! It’s been a little over a year since I started my 101 in 1001 challenge so it’s time for another update. The 101 in 1001 challenge is a list of 101 things I want to do in 1001 days (2.75 years). I’ve timed it so this challenge will end by my 21st birthday but I’ve got so much still to do! You can see the full list of goals and check my progress here.

Goals I’ve crossed off:

38. Take my sisters on “sister-dates” (March 2019)

Being away from home was pretty hard. But setting up sister-dates made for an extra something to look forward to. Spending that one-on-one time with my sisters gives us a chance to catch up and just enjoy each others’ company.

39. Volunteer with my family a Saturday morning (March 2019)

My church back home has a homeless ministry that serves breakfast downtown every Saturday morning. My roommate and her family have been going for a while and my family has gone as well. But with school and being away, I needed to plan for a chance to finally go and see what the ministry was all about. Spending the morning with like-minded people while catching a glimpse into the world of others was interesting and challenging. I am glad for the chance to go and broaden my worldview and I am looking forward to the next time I can serve again.

43. Go to a drive-in/outdoor movie (April 2019)

Every year my school hosts a Spring Festival which includes flower crowns and tie-dye shirts and an outdoor movie! This year we watched Mary Poppins Returns and it was so much fun. (I mean it’s Mary Poppins!!) It was my third time watching the movie but it was still so fun to be there with friends and enjoy the outside festivities.

52. Explore downtown Charlotte (July 2019)

This one was fun to do too because it included my cousins (who are pretty awesome people) and my family. We were going to go on a walking tour but instead explored the streets on our own as well as the major stops like King’s Kitchen, NASCAR’s Hall of Fame, and the Mint Museum. I highly recommend checking out downtown Charlotte if you are in town!

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59. Find a church by the university (Spring 2019)

Finding a church by my school was harder than I thought it would be. With so many churches in the small town, you’d think we’d have no problem! But when it comes to finding a church, my friends and I knew that we wanted to find somewhere that taught the Truth, not just a good-feeling message, and somewhere we could get involved. We visited big churches, small churches, contemporary, traditional and everything in between before finally deciding on a small Baptist Church. It took time but it was totally worth it.

74. Visit my high school teachers after I graduate (March 2018)

High school was such a good time for me. Junior and Senior years specifically shaped a lot of my views and challenged me in and out of the classroom in ways I couldn’t imagine. The teachers those two years played an important role in that. Going back to visit the school and personally thank those teachers for challenging me and preparing me for this college journey was an important thing. It was great to reflect and thank those who work year-round preparing students for the future. And I think they appreciated it too.

80. Celebrate Easter really big (April 2019)

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays and potentially one of the most underrated ones. Christmas gets most of the celebration in both the religious and non-religious worlds but Easter is most important! Without Christ rising victoriously from the dead having had defeated our sins, we would still be searching for a way to prove ourselves worthy of God’s acceptance. So Easter definitely deserves more praise. This year my family went all out with a Bible-themed scavenger hunt, pastries made by my sister, and a big meal with the extended family. Hopefully, this tradition will continue.

88. Make a new vision board (January 2019)

The vision board concept it a cool one for me because I find that each time I make one I learn more about myself. It’s true that images speak louder than words and often hold concepts and ideas that can reveal themselves over time. As I made this vision board, I allowed myself to just pick images that I was drawn to. Those images ended up being more “outdoorsy” than I would have initially chosen but as time moved on, I found those things reflected interests and opportunities I didn’t know I had. It’s fun to see visually how those interests change over time and how they come out in my everyday life.

I’ve completed 25 of my 101 goals! How have you been coming along in your 101 in 1001 journey? What things have you learned about yourself through it? Follow my progress and see the complete list here.

signi

Traveling, Surgery, and A Life Update

Hey, everyone! Did you miss me? I am so so sorry that I haven’t posted! Life has been pretty crazy. But I’m back with a ton of new posts for you! First, I’ll catch you up on everything with a life update.

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Travels and Adventures

At the end of June, my family and I took a trip to Europe for a couple of weeks to spend time with my grandparents and other family members. We spent a lot of time in Belgium and Holland but we also took a road trip to Germany to get a clock repaired. I had so much fun and met so many cool people. I am working on a travel journal to post soon so keep an eye out for that!

Surgery and Recovery

Monday morning, I woke up bright and early for the surgery on my arm. I was pretty nervous especially since during the nights leading up to the surgery I had nightmares. But, everything went well and I got to go home before lunch so it was fine! The rest of the day I spent sleeping.

On Tuesday, one of my best friends came over to visit me and cheer me up. She even attempted to clean my room for me which was actually really funny. Even so, she helped get my mind off of my arm and the hours I spent feeling useless.

Yesterday, my other best friend came over with her mom and her brothers. She also brought chocolate and flowers so it was a good day! ;) She helped to brighten up my day a bit and I am grateful for that.

Today, I can use my arm a bit more (enough to write some posts) and it doesn’t hurt. I’m planning on taking the rest of the week slow and careful. I am so glad that my arm is healing and that I will be able to use it normally again soon. This whole week has made me feel much more grateful for a healthy and functioning body.


So that’s my quick life update! I’ll be posting a Travel Journal from my Europe trip in a couple of days. Also, this is completely random but, I’m wondering what are your favorite brands for backpacks? Let me know in the comments below; it’ll help me a lot. :)

signi

What I Read This Summer

Hey, everyone! So I know it’s fall for a lot of you but I wanted to squeeze this post in before my blog feed blows up with fall pictures and pumpkin recipes. Here’s what I read this summer. :)

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 1. The Chronicles Of Kings Series by Lynn Austin

“Don’t be fooled by strength you can see,” he said at last. “Yahweh often hides His power in the simple things, the weak things, and so His strength seems foolish in man’s eyes.”
Lynn Austin, Gods and Kings

I read this series a couple of years ago and loved it. When I found these books again, I knew I had to read them again. I always get a new perspective when I re-read books. This time, I found a ton of quotes that I really needed to hear. These books are definitely a recommendation!

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2. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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 “No horse jokes,” he said.
“My lord, I apologize for the horse joke. If you put down the book—unharmed!—I will give you a carrot.”
He brandished the book at her. “Was that a horse joke?”
“Neigh.”
“Was that a horse joke?”
Cynthia Hand, My Lady Jane

A must read, My Lady Jane is a funny twist on British history. I loved how funny it was and how easily it switch POVs among the chapters. Everyone should read this book.

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3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)

This book was part of my summer reading for school and honestly, I thought it was a little weird. Okay, a lot weird. BUT, the discussions we’re having in class about this book are actually really interesting. Still, this isn’t a book I would read in my free time.

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 4. Katie Weldon Series by Robin Jones Gunn

“Katie wondered for a moment if part of the reason so many of the young women she knew who had poor self-esteem ended up that way because they had spent their lives gazing at themselves in a mirror instead of being the mirror others gazed into.”
Robin Jones Gunn, Finally and Forever

I loved the Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn. When I found out about the Katie Weldon series, I was so excited to read the books. These books are fantastic!

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Have you read any of these books? What books did you read this summer? What are you planning on reading this fall? What would you recommend?