433 Miles. Six hours and twenty-four minutes. That’s all that separates me from my front door.
When I first committed to Hope, distance didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. Sure, Pittsburgh is a long way from Holland, but in my naive, eighteen-year-old mind, I thought it would be easy.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that college is ridiculously hard and that I’m homesick. However, I will tell you one thing; it has not been easy.
Leading up to my arrival here at Hope, I had a list of things that would make the transition easier. It went something like this:
1. Soccer. Soccer has always been my escape, and my best coping mechanism. Whenever things off the field aren’t going well, I use my time on the field to forget about them.
2. Friendships. I came to Hope with the intention of building life-long and life-altering friendships. I wasn’t sure what exactly those were going to look like, but I knew they were coming.
3. FaceTime. As silly as it may sound, I knew I would be depending on FaceTime to get me through some tough times. After all, my best friend is now at Arizona State, my girlfriend and family are both still in Pittsburgh, and my closest girlfriends are at Penn State and Notre Dame respectively.
I was extremely confident that if I could keep those three things working in my favor, then I would be perfectly fine. Unlike my last blog, I wasn’t completely wrong. Soccer is a HUGE part of my life here at Hope and I love every single one of my teammates like brothers. In addition, I’ve met the most amazing, Christ-centered people in the past month. I have friends here that are challenging me to become a better brother, son, servant, etc. more than I’ve ever been challenged to do so before! Finally, my FaceTime sessions with my girlfriend, parents, or friends are usually the biggest highlight of my day. Again, my plan wasn’t a complete failure!
However, as always, God has been working in my life in ways I never expected he would. Frankly, God has been throwing things, (great things mind you), I did not intend to be handling during Fall semester. God’s list looked a little bit more like this:
1. Haiti. Shockingly enough, God has decided it’s a good idea for me to lead a missions trip to Cap Haitien, Haiti in May of 2016.
2. The Keppel House. In preparation for the missions trip, God lead me to the Keppel House. For those of you who don’t know, the Keppel House is the Hope College campus ministries office. It’s also where I have had the privilege of working the past three weeks or so, and hopefully the on-campus job I will maintain over the next four years.
3. Surprise visits. I left Pittsburgh on August 18th not knowing when I would next see my family and friends. Yet, just when I thought I wasn’t going to see them until Thanksgiving break, my Mom and girlfriend showed up at my door this weekend.
The point is that we may have plans, and they may be good plans, but God’s plans are always greater than our own. They may seem frightening at first, but they’re perfect, flawless blueprints that are designed to turn us into whatever God intends us to be. So cast your cares on the creator of the universe. Trust that whether you’re five miles from “home”, or four-hundred and thirty-three like me, God knows exactly what he’s doing (Jeremiah 29:11).
Praying you all have an incredible week!