Starting college was one of the most growth-producing experiences I have had yet, and it was drenched in grace. Finding myself meal prepping, grocery shopping, budgeting, trying to be a full-time student with a part-time job, making new friends, keeping up with old ones and coordinating events and carpools all at once, I felt like I had said goodbye to childhood forever. While grateful for the practical skills I learned through living states away from home, there are some less tangible lessons the Lord has been teaching me that have left their mark.
Throughout my freshman year of college I learned to trust God’s timing in all things. From the initial decision to go to college in Virginia, to finding a church to plug into, to praying for new, godly friendships, I constantly found myself forced to trust God’s timing. It was hard leaving my family with young siblings, but God promised to take care of their needs, so I followed his lead. He has my good in mind, and sometimes I best learn to trust him in what seems like silence. Anxiety and fear follow, and I question his timing, but trusting that my days and times are in his hand offers peace in the midst of difficult situations (Psalm 31:14-15).
Another huge blessing from this year of college was a broader perspective of the church. Having been at Covenant since I was young and forming most of my friendships here, it was strange to be in a church barely knowing anyone. But as I heard Scripture read, worshiped, listened to sermons, prayed, fellowshipped, and ate at church week after week, the Lord reminded me that he is the same God to the church across the globe, and church became a new and exciting gift with much to be discovered. Forced to meet new people, I got to see firsthand how God unifies people who come from different backgrounds and locations under his Word by his Spirit. I found friends and mentors in my new church and marveled that the God who was meeting me back at home was preparing them for me.
Lastly, I experienced God’s goodness afresh through people. God puts people in our lives for a reason, and he graciously allows us to benefit each other. My friends from home stayed true friends, and I learned how the gospel influences long distance friendships and accountability. I met people for the first time with the instant connection that comes with knowing Jesus. I met older people who have been following Jesus for a long time and gleaned from their wisdom. I saw in their stories the battle scars of fighting their sin and the glory of living for Christ. They are the witnesses that will walk before me into Jesus’ arms. I got to just be a kid, in college, with a bunch of other kids, learning and growing into adulthood in this very unique stage of life. We learned how to fit devotions into changing class schedules together and got to speak freely about what God was doing in our lives. We prayed for each other over coffee and lamented at the expenses of car insurance.
God’s grace is sufficient for us and his mercies sustain. He knows us personally, cares about the details of our lives, and orchestrates all things for his glory and our good. Through the transition to college, I learned that God can be trusted and that his timing is perfect. What a faithful God we get to trust!