To say it in the shortest, most appropriate form, this semester was the worst semester of my entire undergraduate career. It seemed like from January to May, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Most of my friends went away on co-op assignments, I took on way more than I could handle, I got SUPER lazy, and it seemed like my world was crashing down on me from an earthquake. I was lonely, lost in my sea of stress, and very uncertain of the future. One thing after another, things started to fall out of place. I went from being extremely motivated to just trying to make it through each day without pulling every single curl out of my head.
Since I am a packaging science major, I am required to complete at least one, 15-week co-op rotation before Clemson will give me a diploma. I really want to get this requirement done in the summer so that I can graduate on my “on time” day in May 2016. After applying for tons of internships, none of them ended up working out the way I wanted them to. Excellent – go figure. The semester was more than half way over and I had no idea what I was doing. On top of that, I returned to school to find myself completely underwater with an eight-page paper due the Tuesday I got back, a test the same day the paper was due, a major project due that Thursday, along with helping run a huge event our major had been planning. Needless to say, I had had enough. I got angry and mean and snarky and I let all of the stress go to my head.
In the midst of my very stressful life, that wonderful spring break time frame, I was approached with the best of news. I was offered a position to be the youth pastor intern at a church back home. That pastor there said she knew I was thinking about full-time ministry and thought this would be a great opportunity to discern that idea. What luck? While writing that long paper for my class (which was late), my friend cooked and brought my favorite food to me on campus. Surprise! Another friend texted me to tell me that everything was going to be okay and also offered food. (My friend’s know what’s up) People were there for me when I needed them the absolute most. During my most stressful time – the time that I legitimately thought I wasn’t going to finish college, God put people in my life to reassure me that I would be okay. What perfect timing? What love?
According to Frederick Buechner, “it is not objective proof of God’s existence that we want, but the experience of God’s presence.” God shows us that He is with us each day by allowing us to experience Him through other people. These small gestures of love and compassion showed that exact idea. How was I supposed to continue thinking I was alone when during the worst part of my semester, numerous people completely turned it around? I certainly don’t think all of those amazing things happened coincidently (and because I don’t believe in coincidences). For the entire rest of the semester, I felt a sense of peace and solace no matter what life dealt me. Granted nothing really got easier, but I stopped feeling alone. I stopped feeling like I was running up a hill with no peak.
I am so joyful that I was able to experience God in this way and learn to trust Him, even in the times of disparity that our human ways sometimes radiate. I can trust that no matter how big or small my troubles are, He will be there to push me along the way and help me move past whatever obstacle I face. I love that I can count on a God so much greater than myself to love me, to provide for me, to teach me amazing things about myself, and how to show love to others. I believe that it is through God that we are great and through God that we move forward the fastest. Even when our semesters make us fall flat on our faces…over, and over, and over again, we are not alone. We serve a God who works for us and never leaves us. Even when we don’t think He’s there, He’s working.