when you ask me “how’s college?”…

…I’ll probably answer any or all of the statements below…

It’s great. It’s awesome. It’s been the best year yet. It’s been bursting at the seams with opportunity and growth. It’s a been a tiring, exciting whirlwind that I’d do all over again and it’s just beginning.

…but not for the typical reasons…the best party I went to was a welcome home party thrown at the  campus ministry retreat and the best drink I had this year was some kombucha tea from Frothy Monkey and the best (only?) “date” I had was to my social club’s formal where we awkwardly danced to rap songs I’d never heard before…

…these, these people and more, are the reasons why I loved my freshman year…

I’ve seen God orchestrate in ways that still leave me in awe. From the very beginning God’s hand was in my decision to go to Lipscomb and as my aunt says, “there couldn’t have been a more perfect place for you!” When I walked into my dorm on move in day I was a little afraid. Definitely nervous excitement. Here I am 1,000 miles away from home moving in with 7 other girls that I’ve only texted. But that suite, suite 212, became home and those girls I didn’t know became like family. They became the people I laughed with and teased. The girls I was the most silly and stupid with (like when I laughed hysterically on Laurel’s bed for at least 5 solid minutes at NOTHING  or stepped on a prized 5 Daughter’s doughnut or talked about my nutrition stuff while they, with permission, pretended to listen), but never got any judgement (okay maybe some, haha). They thoroughly supported my obsession with nut butters and didn’t laugh at my dorky pajamas. We talked about some WEIRD things, but man did I learn a lot from these girls hearts, minds and humors.

I met Jess at a prayer breakfast and we immediately bonded over our passion for food & people & Jesus (what’s a better combination, right?). She taught me about Christ-centered community and gratitude with her faithful presence and prayer, her inclusivity to a girl three years younger (this includes Claire and Jenn too for their welcome in 306 rain or shine – much love), her constant quest for more of HIM by giving thanks in all things. She’s inspired me to go after the things I’m passionate about and showed me what it means to truly have a heart for ALL of God’s people.

Audrey was my mentor and is now also a dear dear friend. She can’t really be summed up, but God sure has shown me intentional friendship through her. He showed me more of Himself through her sacrifice of time to get to know a random girl that campus ministry paired her with. He showed me through Audrey what stepping out in faith looks like, the beauty of praying together and the power that is a young woman who says YES to the Holy Spirit’s leading even when it scares you to death (BOLDNESS!).

God did some fancy footwork to make Olivia and I spill our guts in the student center, but once we did, well, I guess you could say it was instant sisterhood. Our stories parallel each others and have given us a bond that is a serious blessing. God has taught me the power of vulnerability through her. I’ve seen how important openness and honesty are. She has been a constant source of compassion, gentleness and encouragement this past semester.

Allie and Alleah are two that show me how important it is to just be with people and how God can work in the coolest ways when we say yes to people. They both have a knack at finding adventure and humor in all of life. I’d like to be more like them.

Brooke, Brookie-cookie as Instagram knows her, is one strong young woman and my friend. She fights harder than most and teaches me what serious perseverance through the Refiner’s fire looks like. She dances through her mourning to the beat of Jesus’ drum and it’s a truly beautiful sight to behold.

One can’t leave out the one who is both friend, sister, chaplain and mom-away-from-mom. Few people can mother me because I’m the designated “mom figure” in most of my friend groups, but Heather is a different story. She listens and calms me down and doesn’t judge me (pledge week, sorry !) and gives awesome hugs. She loves so expressively you can’t miss it (you can’t really miss someone who’s sitting on your lap hehe). You can’t feel unloved in her presence, because she oozes love. Actually, I think that’s the best description of her, she oozes love and joy and presence and exuberance and that’s all because Jesus has set her free and she lives bravely in that. Don’t ever graduate, okay!

To my pledge class, you guys are the best. I don’t really have any words. I love how much fun we had together and how much fun we will have in the next few years. Lipscomb is a better place for having each of you on its campus.

And Charlotte, she’s a friend I didn’t know I needed. God has shown me what it means to be inclusive and welcoming to people (an area I’m not strong in). She’s showed me what it looks like to take the verse “love your neighbor as yourself” and run with it into all different camps of people. She loves well. She listens well. She sees the people that might be on the sidelines and brings them into the game. She thinks hard and laughs often and she sure is teaching me a lot even if she doesn’t know it.

God worked in my spur of the moment decision to awkwardly introduce myself in the Campus Ministry office, where I met some great people (hey Caroline & Cyrus!) that have encouraged and befriended me. I didn’t know then, but that introduction led to relationships with new friends, opportunities to serve my peers on campus and lead a focus chapel that both greatly challenged and encouraged me.

Everyone who smiled at me, hugged me, laughed with (at?) me, pledged with me, danced with me, ate Jeni’s ice cream with me, partied in the library & played in the snow with me, listened to me & basically was a part of my life, made this year a great start.

So when you ask me “how’s college?” I’ll probably respond with a quick statement, but that’s only because the answer simply can’t be explained  without meeting and knowing the amazingly beautiful, passionate people I was blessed enough to do freshman year with.

p.s. you’re welcome for saving you from having to sit through me talk about every. single. AWESOME person/part of freshman year 😉

 

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