Tag Archives: Wheaton

So It Begins Again

It’s so good to see people in the dining hall. To bump into people between classes. To have familiar voices filling our apartment stairwell. To listen to my friend’s stories. To give big, lingering hugs to people I’ve come to know as family.

The boxes have been unpacked. The textbooks have been purchased. The dekes have been trained. I’m sitting in the library, avoiding a paper that’s due tomorrow, dwelling on the blessing of great conversation at lunch and pending dinner plans with a friend before night class. It’s raining, Audrey Assad is playing on my Pandora, and my heart is incredibly full. Junior year has officially begun.

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It’s a strange place to be. Wheaton has officially become my home; the people here are my family. And yet, I feel like I’m watching this season of my life rapidly come to a close. I’m over halfway done with my undergraduate studies. And praise God I’m not who I was freshman year. . .but I also wonder how much closer I actually feel to the woman I desire to be.

At the start of my freshman year I wrote about the top ten lessons I learned in my first two weeks at Wheaton. Most of them had to do with adjusting to people and learning to give myself grace in the midst of surfacing insecurities. Freshman year was a little rough around the edges, y’all. Then, at the start of my sophomore year, I gave an update on the things Jesus was teaching me about how to see people like He does. I wrote about how I was doing, where words like overwhelmed, distracted, and grateful came to mind. Remember the line I wrote at the beginning of sophomore year: “I forget to dwell on truth and then I wonder why I’m going crazy” – yeah, we are still working on that. 

It’s amazing to look back on the frustrating small talk and growth of freshman year or the mental over-processing and deep friendships of sophomore year. And now I feel like I’m standing on the bow of a ship that’s just left the dock into the vast unknown that is Junior year. I see so much excitement and potential for this year. It’s already been some of the most blessed, life-giving weeks of my life. And while it is all so good, Junior year also terrifies me. It scares me because I have a tendency to overthink things and have always felt a little too uncomfortable with the unknown. It scares me because everything feels a little different. Most of the differences are amazing because I see so much growth in them. The year feels different because I feel different. More free. More whole. Closer to Jesus.

And yet, for all the beauty that Jesus has led me into over the past two years and even in the past two weeks, I can’t forget to give myself grace in other places that feel different. Relationships that feel different. Hopes and dreams that feel different. Desires that are different. Decisions that are different, and, let’s be real, so much bigger than they’ve ever been.

This year, I want to say yes to more things than I say no to, even if they put me outside my comfort zone. I want to say and do things in confidence, without overthinking all the possible outcomes. I want to love others without limits, while learning to balance my emotional investment with the need for emotional boundaries. I want my love for Jesus and people to be reflected in my actions; I want to do the things I think about. I want to live a life of whimsy, laughter, and joy from the Lord and I want junior year to be where I really begin to live that out.

I want this to be a year of seeking. Seeking more of Jesus. Seeking out His people. Seeking first His Kingdom. Seeking opportunities to love and serve others. Seeking His will. Seeking what is true, not what I want to be true. And in all of my seeking, to always find Him as my good Father, knowing that being loved by Him is the most important thing about me. And the most important thing about everyone else I get the privilege of loving.

It’s going to be a great year, filled with things I couldn’t even imagine or predict if I tried, and it’s all because He is a great God. His love for us is so incomprehensibly deep. His plans for us are so unimaginably greater and higher than anything we dream. And that’s the reality we step into every time a new year rolls around.

So here’s to Junior year, Wheaton College.

He is Good.

Come set Your rule and reign
In our hearts again
Increase in us we pray
Unveil why we’re made
Come set our hearts ablaze with hope
Like wildfire in our very souls
Holy Spirit come invade us now
We are Your Church
We need Your power
In us
//
We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You’re our joy and prize
To see the captive hearts released
The hurt; the sick; the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven’s cause
We are Your church
We pray revive
This Earth
//
Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray
//
Unleash Your kingdom’s power
Reaching the near and far
No force of hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts
You made us for much more than this
Awake the kingdom seed in us
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ
We are Your church
We are the hope 
On Earth

//

Rend Collective, Build Your Kingdom Here

As I declared the truth of God through singing and communion with my student body and incoming freshmen last night. . .as friends posted videos of worship that continued on floors after All School . . .as I packed my backpack and set an alarm to workout before my first class. . .as I anticipate all that sophomore year will hold, I’m reminded of the profound and simple truth: He is good.

I’ve had this song stuck in my head all morning. If you don’t know it, I’d encourage you to look it up. It’s the kind of truth attached to a catchy tune that you want stuck in your head all day. I hope it encourages you, that whenever you are, whatever you are feeling, whatever you are doing, He is moving, He is speaking, He loves you, and He is good.

It’s in that truth and in that worship that darkness has no foothold. I heard at my church on Sunday that “worship is warfare.”

Let’s fight by just declaring who He is!

Have a lovely Monday.

The Second Time Around

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks, y’all. Packing, goodbyes, an 11 hour drive, several hours of moving in, more goodbyes, hellos, HoneyRock camp leadership camp, diakonoi training week, more hellos, making new best friends. It’s been a lot different than the first time around; I was so overwhelmed the first time I left for Wheaton. I may be overwhelmed now, but it looks a lot different. And I’m as humbled and grateful and filled with love as I was a year ago. Actually, more so.

I’d love to write about what the Lord’s been teaching me and all I’ve been learning, but I feel like I’m barely forming coherent sentences, much less deep thoughts. But I’ve been so in awe of what He’s doing. Last year, I was blown away by Jesus’ faithfulness in carrying me through difficult circumstances and transitions. Now, I’m sitting in overwhelming gratitude for the ways that He’s poured out such undeserved blessing and grace upon this year. I see how He was moving so powerfully in what was a strange and difficult summer of processing. I see the banner that He’s covered this year with. How He has redeemed my relationships back home and solidified relationships here.

I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed this much in my life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all Facebook-photo fun. There are some tensions with people. Everyone has their struggles, and baggage, and quirks. But the work of GRACE that Jesus did in my heart this summer has been something of life-preserver as I navigate new waters of deep, intentional community (#wheatonbuzzword). I don’t deserve any of this; I didn’t earn any of this. The only reason I am where I am is 100% of Jesus and His goodness in my life. If He doesn’t empower me with His Spirit, you don’t want to see what comes out. Pride, fear, insecurity, cynicism, judgment – sin. I’m totally dependent on His grace. And I may not be anywhere near where I should be in extending that same love to others, but praise God I’m not where I was at the beginning of the summer!

I’m learning how to see Jesus in other people.

I know that’s cliche – and we usually think back to the time when we saw Christ in the homeless people on the streets and their vibrancy with life and how we complain too much and such. But y’all. It’s the most true thing about everyone. They are created in the image of God. UNIQUELY created in the image of God. And that means I’m not just looking for others lives to preach the Gospel to me (which, it is such a gift when they do – and they do!). I’m looking at them, for their sake, for Jesus’ sake. This is how we encourage people. This is where true ministry comes from – not a place of striving or fixing or working, but of overflowing with Christ’s love. When we see a fraction of the depth of how much He loves us, how much unimaginable grace He has for us, the only response is to see His people that way. Through His eyes. In His image. And then we love them, we minister to them, we encourage them, we pray for them. And that’s community. That’s relationship.

And I’m not doing the hottest job with it. If I’m real honest, I’m so easily distracted. I shut down when I’m exhausted. I worry and let insecurity turn my eyes from the power of the Gospel. I focus on myself and what Jesus is saying to me, about me. I don’t always do the best job abiding in His love, or extending grace to others. I’m not saying this because I’ve somehow got it all figured out. Not in the least. I’m barely squeaking these sentences out. And I’m worried about posting something so random. And I haven’t actually spent time receiving from Jesus today. And it’s only 7:30am and I’m already tired. 

If the point of this for you was just to hear that I’m doing ok and that I’m back on campus – fantastic. Thank you for caring about me! But I pray that the Lord reveals a little more about Himself and what He’s doing in your life and the lives of those around you through this hodgepodge of recent, crazy thoughts and prayers. It’s all about Him. We need community. We need the Holy Spirit. We need laughter and joy. We need grace. We need LOVE – to know we are loved and to give it. And no one will love us and everyone else more than Jesus. So why not sit with Him and learn about love from Love Himself?

Don’t be afraid of the simple Gospel, y’all. I’ve been so humbled by my lack of understanding of these “basic” principles of love and grace that I thought I knew. I grew up watching VeggieTales, after all. But there is so much more.

“You visit the earth and cause it to overflow; you greatly enrich it. The stream of God is full of water. . settle. . .soften. . .bless. . .you have crowned the year with your bounty. . .they shout for joy, yes they sing.” Pieces of Psalm 65:9-13, NASB

I haven’t been doing a lot of heavy-duty Bible reading (though, I started to go through Nehemiah and Matthew yesterday), so Psalms have been a constant companion of mine. They give me words of praise and thanksgiving and prayer when I can’t seem (or am too tired) to find my own! I hope you find encouragement there today.

Have a lovely Wednesday!

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Beautiful Fall Days Call for Random Updates

I don’t know where the time is going. I’ve been here for 6 weeks now – A Quad, or half of the semester, is 3 weeks away from being over. It’s October. My mind no longer has any concept of what time means.

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College is a frenzied mess between having too much to do and having nothing to do. Or maybe that’s just me because I don’t play a sport or an instrument, and I seem to have some manage over my course load this semester.

Obviously I’m writing this because I feel like I have enough down time to type out a brief update of my life here at Wheaton. Although, this post isn’t going to be as deep and introspective as I thought it would. Whatever. Life isn’t all deep and profound moments. Simple update here.

Chicago is awesome. And the Art Museum is free for Wheaton students.

And Wheaton is awesome.

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Dorm life is crazy. Good, bad, ups, downs. . .living in a dorm has it all. Birthday parties are the best. I woke up a few days ago and decorated our dorm for my roommate’s birthday. Learning how to love well.

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I check my CPO everyday. Sometimes it’s exciting, sometimes it’s empty. Either way, it makes me feel like an adult to turn the dial and open my box. Similarly, I feel like a part of a secret agency when I swipe my student ID in front of the scanner to get into my hall. And opening my door is basically like opening the door to a hotel room, except better, because all of my stuff is inside. It really is the little things with me.

And that is what everyday has been – lots of little things. Random conversations, simple meals, wonderful classes, sporadic meetings. Everyday I wake up dependent on the Holy Spirit, and everyday I’m in awe of what Jesus surprises me with. . .the simple things. If there is one thing He’s teaching me right now, it’s humility. But He’s not just teaching me one thing in my hours-long times with Him in the prayer room. But more on that later, since apparently I’m not really in the mood to process through the deeply profound and spiritual things of life at Wheaton. And there is a lot. All good, of course, because He is all good.

And in other news, remind me to keep you updated on how my vision for the Lord’s plans for my future changes. Basically, how much I keep wanting to switch the direction of my major.

Previous though: Double IR/Psyc major, Art minor

New thought: Double IR and Business/Econ major (really, don’t tell the Lord there is something you don’t think you’ll ever do…like, “I’ll never be a business/econ major, that’s too much math!”)

Enjoy your Tuesday. Hopefully, you are enjoying some nice, though unpredictable weather, too.