My goodness if I could sum up in words what the days have been like since coming back from Colorado I would say:
Insane, Beautiful, Stressful, Intense, Overwhelming, Surprising, Scary, Confusing, Wonderful, BUCKEYES, oh yeah! and God-filled.
To start off, (since I didn’t start with him first above) God moved in insane ways for the West team on campus. For the first time I believe in the history of West, we have received more new men for our team than women. I thank God daily for Sean, Gordon, Ian, Chad, John, Nicholas, and other men who are finding interest in h2o on our side of campus. I think one of the big things God began putting on my heart this summer is men and creating a community in my small group and on our team that is inviting and encouraging for men to step out in crazy faith for the Lord. God is for sure making that happen!!! Small group has been incredible, full of vulnerability, and stock full of vision and growth! I think I could speak for all the men in the small group when saying the Lord has no doubt shown us our brokenness and our desperate need for him, while also reminding us of brotherly love and our ability to surround each other and hold each other up as we tackle our individual struggles and weaknesses. And, while I am leaving for a month, I am beyond excited to see what the Lord will do through us men on West and for the ways he will grow and mold us into his disciples.
However, aside from small group, returning back for me has been a roller coaster of emotions. When people ask how I am, I have mostly been saying “I’m stressed” or “I feel off” or the classic “things are going “okay” but I feel like it could be better.” A lot has caused these emotions like: financial strain (becoming an adult is hard and maintaining money in a healthy way is a skill I need to learn), the looming fact that I am leaving for training (I don’t usually stress over training, but this time it’s hitting me harder), and I think I would call it fear, but I worry for relationships I have while I am gone and feel like I will lack at maintaining them well. Not to mention I have struggled to fit in time with the Lord in the midst of being back on campus which would no doubt help dispel the anxious emotions I have. Instead things just piled up high.
I came to a breaking point this past weekend and so I attempted to escape and went camping for a night with my family. Feeling refreshed and ready to go, I returned only to find the next day my car battery was completely dead. Took a lot of strength to not break something like my car window or probably my hand in that situation. It was also on this day I came to realize the big problem in the midst of all this was my complete lack of trust in Jesus and his control of my life. The real reason I didn’t feel motivated for training is because I was not being open to Jesus’ plan for me in it. The real reason I was worried about relationships while I am gone is because I am not trusting Jesus to be in control. That morning with my battery dead, I was completely and fully angry at God, and pretty much thought he had no clue as to what he was doing to me and my life.
But hold up let’s get back to the battery story. So I took my dead battery to auto zone where I had it tested, only to confirm the fact that it was done for and I needed to replace it to the tune of $180. I’m surprised my emotional self didn’t burst into tears at this point. After a week of feeling alone and far from God, he went and let my battery die right before I left for a month of mentally and physically exhausting training! All that anger was fun and all…except here was the problem, all I needed to do in the midst of this was pause and remember who has my whole life in his hands…but I didn’t so he, like always, decided to love me anyways. I told the man at the register that I could not afford that right now and would address it when I returned from training. He followed that up by saying he would finagle the system and reinstate the warranty to a battery I did not buy, and to a battery that was purchased at a different auto zone, by another person, far past the warranty date. So I walked out of the store with a free battery and feeling incredibly blessed by the manager (and God because that was all God) I came in contact with that day.
And just like that I was reminded of this verse “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) And that verse began to fill me with confidence in the fact that Jesus is walking before me, beside me, and behind me as I go into training and that he has a reason for every single thing going on in my life!
Ok, but in all honest I absolutely suck at believing any of what I just said, and that I think is the point. I think we are supposed to struggle with this, and I think the beauty is that the more we struggle with it the more we find how beautifully true it is. To follow that up, this last little bit may be sad for those who followed my summer closely. Zuri and I are no longer together. While yeah of course this is filled with incredibly sad emotions, what it is also filled with is a testament to how good God is and how beautifully he moves when we follow him. I cannot begin to express how much growth, and love I received from the Lord in the midst of this relationship, and how clear it became to me that he can take anyone, from any past, and make them something brand new. And that is what he did for me this summer, he made me brand spanking new and I am so excited to see where he continues to take me!
That about does it, and I think at this point I can somewhat confidently say I am ready to go to training. I think personally I will try to tell myself I am not, but I really think I am. God has a plan for me, he’s directed all these things to happen in this exact way…and yeah again I really suck at believing that but deep down I know that’s true. I also think somewhere deep down in me, I am excited for training, for the promotion that will soon follow, and for the new set of responsibilities that the title Sergeant will bring. I’ll hopefully get a chance to update everyone on training and how it is going soon, and also with how my emotions are fairing in the midst of it. And yeah GO BUCKS, Michigan sucks and all that.
P.S. the photo above is Brendan and I and two of the new freshman on west (Gordon far left, Nicholas far right). We roped them into joining our crazy selves at the game, and yeah we all stuck it out through the rain (however only Brendan and I stayed for Carmen Ohio so we still got some more training ahead but the freshman will hopefully catch on soon:D)