I am writing this post from my couch at home, where I finally arrived about two hours ago. It hasn’t really hit me yet that I have finished a whole year of college. I know a lot of this is probably going to sound cliché, but it’s all so true. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was moving into my dorm room with no idea who I would become friends with, what my classes would be like, how I would adjust, or what I would become involved in. I was nervous about making friends, stressed about how to fit my ridiculous amount of belongings into the little room I was sharing with someone I had never actually met, completely self-conscious for approximately 100% of every day, and super excited for this new phase in my life. I knew that a lot of things would change and that I would do likewise, but, for the most part, I had no idea in what ways.
One thing that I can say definitely stayed constant is God’s patient pursuit of me. As I learned about myself and others and how to love people, I began to understand more and more what God’s love is really like. He pours it out on us so extravagantly each day, and while the love I have to give is but a fraction of his, I have spent the last 8 months learning how to give it away. Love is one thing we have in this world that doesn’t run out; The more you give, the more you want to keep giving (and often the more you get in return!).
I have started learning to spot God’s love in the small things he gives us daily: The early wake-up call so we can see the sunrise, the song someone suggests to us that fits our life perfectly, the impeccably-timed chocolate bar in your mailbox, the new friend just when you really needed one, and even the fresh snow he gives us in March and April that we all lament, but fail to realize that it serves to cover up the old, dirty, ugly snow! I have learned that so much of my attitude is largely dependent upon my perspective. I have learned to trust that God’s plan WILL be absolutely incredible if I do what he’s calling me to, even if I don’t necessarily want to do it at the time.
I have learned what a gamelan is and how to calculate the amount of money which enters the economy when the government conducts open-market operations. I have learned what it looks like to create a musical environment that is glorifying to God and truly helps to foster an environment where others can worship him fully. I have started to learn that sometimes when we’re sitting back and asking God why he’s letting things happen that we don’t like, He’s saying, “I already did something about it. I sent you.” I have learned that although we as humans consistently fail to keep our promises, God’s are true. He promises to make us new, and that’s something that I have seen him working on in my life throughout this year. I have learned the value of a late-night conversation with a friend about school, their struggles, their story, their faith, their dreams, or just what they had for lunch. I have memorized basically every word spoken or sung in Frozen. I have met 8th graders far wiser than I am who have impacted me in such huge ways (who I already miss dearly!). I have learned how to say “mononucleosis” in German (Pfeiffersches Drüsenfieber!) and how to resolve a secondary dominant chord. I have learned how to better use the gifts that God has given me and gained more of a desire to use those for his glory (still something I’m working on!). I have realized that what matters in this life isn’t how I dress or what my grades are or how many activities I can be involved in or what my reputation is or how many Italian arias I have memorized, but what truly matters is what I can do for the Kingdom of God and finding how I can serve him and others to the best of my ability. I have realized that the sentence, “I’m proud of you,” is one of the most powerful things you can say. I have learned that sometimes you just need to make several cups of coffee and get things done… Even if it’s 3 in the morning. I have also learned that it’s possible to get through a year of college without pulling an all-nighter (WAHOO! I love to sleep!). I have come to realize how different the world would be if we all pursued the things that God lays on our hearts instead of just doing what we think we “can” do. I have learned that God will strengthen us to do whatever he is calling us to. I have learned that my worth doesn’t lie in how many likes I get on Instagram, but in the fact that I am a daughter of the King. I have learned that life is incredibly short and that I truly can’t let a day go by that I don’t make valuable in some way. I have realized that the smallest words can have the biggest impact. I have come to understand further how powerful prayer truly is. I have come to realize that sometimes crying is actually necessary, and that’s okay. I discovered that I can live without Dr. Pepper, frozen yogurt, and secular music. I realized that I don’t really want to live without Dr. Pepper. I started to believe that I don’t have to do things just because other people expect me to. I changed my major about 58 times. I contemplated adding about every single minor that Hope College offers. I learned that you can have a good time without having to post about it on social media. I learned that sometimes my first impressions of people are 1000000% wrong, and that that is truly a gift, because otherwise I would never have built relationships with some of the people that are now some of my closest friends. I saw God at work in so many different ways. It has truly been an incredible year.
Here are some photos from this year. Making this was very time consuming, but it’s been such a cool way for me to look back at what an incredible year I had. I put music in this video as well, but it’s not working, so if you guys want, you can look up “Scandal of Grace” by Hillsong United and listen to it while you watch this. That is completely acceptable. Here it is!
What has God been doing in your life this school year? Leave a comment, tweet @hopekathryn17, or email firstname.lastname@example.org! Thank you so much for reading! Have a great summer! 🙂
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
– Proverbs 16:9