I’ve seen a lot of hope emerge from difficulty. My parents got divorced when I was 10. It was a really hopeless situation. I felt alone and like the Lord had abandoned us. As a 10 year old I remember picturing the Lord watching our family crumble as he sat with his feet on a desk watching from above. However, I got to see the Lord put my family back together. My mom, brother and I became so close. I developed a deep connection and close relationship with my mom. I was able to open up to her about my anger and helplessness I felt towards the Lord and she helped point me back to Him. Divorce is never in God’s design, but He taught me about Himself and made us closer as a family and closer to Him. Having divorced parents is hard. I started dating Taylor in September 2019. I began to realize that I had buried a lot of emotions and pain to “survive”. I was taking out hurts and pain on Taylor because of the deep wounds I had. Add clinical anxiety on top of that for a great mix....I began to open up about these things to Meleena James and then determined the Lord was leading me to pursue biblical counseling. I had never taken time to unravel all of that hurt and misalignment I believed about myself and about God. I never have believed I was capable of living a life without anxiety. I learned an important lesson, the Lord did not design me to live this way. I was able to fight against mental illness instead of lay down and let it run my life (depends on the day still- again, learning and growing!) Taylor stayed next to me through it all. He sat patiently, letting me hear the Lord on my own time, reminding me of who I was in the Lord, and speaking truth and life over me. That persistence, love, and grace from Taylor was one of the most tangible ways I have ever seen the grace of the Lord in a tangible way. I’m still in a process of healing, I probably always will be. However, for the first time in my life I have hope. I have hope of healing.
Meleena!!! Again, what patience. The grace, patience, and awareness it takes for someone to take their own spiritual journey is hard. She knew truths I needed to hear but she let me learn, know, and begin to believe those on my own. Not to keep truths from me, but so I would believe them. She waited for the Lord to grab ahold of my heart, she knew that was not something she could do for me. Her constant mentor ship in my time in college has changed my life. Taylor was definitely unexpected. He began pursuing me in the middle of my first year as an AB (welcome week - I was the busiest I had ever been) and in the middle of directing a retreat for SFA students. I was in no position to date! I’m so glad I said yes though! (I mean, I’m marrying the dude). Him coming into my life has lead me closer to the Lord. Again, he sat patiently and gracefully until I was able to come to terms with truth he knew all along. Patience and resistance to put someone on your definition of their “spiritual walk” can be detrimental. The Lord gets our attention when He wants it. Taylor and Meleena modeled that so well by letting me learn things, never preaching at me.
I think we’re seeing the importance of unity. I think we are seeing how we our differences make us one beautiful body of Christ. Not what we think it should look like. I believe we are making great moves towards what the Lord desires for us and I expect it won’t look like anything we picture!
I think the Lord is bringing college students into community. I’ve seen it and heard the testimonies. People long for community and I think we are providing a place for that. Our community is saturated with churches and Christian community (I mean we have two Christian coffee shops). But I think we are beginning to SEE people, hear their stories, and connect them to the Lord. People that don’t sit at Christian coffee shops, don’t attend church, and have never been loved by a believer. I think we’re seeing how pursuit of people can look different than we are used to.