I've been doing some real reflecting back on my life the past four years, as a sophomore in high school to now a sophomore in college.
Wow. Can I just say wow?
God has been so good to me and used me in such amazing ways.
I'll be honest, sophomore year in high school pretty much sucked for the most part. I wasn't particularly close with any of my friends, though we did hang out and got along well. I was depressed and stuck listening to depressing music and writing inappropriate fan fiction. I had all these aspirations for where I wanted to go in life with my music and things just weren't happening like I wanted them to. And then I fell in love with Jesus and He rocked my world! I quit being as depressed, though I totally struggled and didn't give up that junk music for awhile. Stuff started happening with Foscott, the acoustic jazz/alternative duo I started with my friend Katherine my freshman year. And I started losing relationship with old friends and gained new ones over the summer. Over the summer, I met Payton, pretty much my best friend and we started jamming. I mentored him and we eventually got Oh Molly, our first band, together.
The band was my focus junior year, which was by far the most rewarding time of my life. Sometimes I wish I could go back to that year and relive the fruits. Ben and Payton gave their lives over to Jesus! As the band got going, my drummer, Adam, gave his life over! My stepbrother/vocalist checked out what a life with Christ would mean. Ben invited Jon to church and he gave his life over! I had opportunity to share Jesus in my AP Language and Composition class through my writing and my teacher encouraged me in that. I played guitar in jazz band and expanded my musical abilities. I started looking at colleges (and made up my mind that Huntington was the place). At the end of the year my then best friend, Ben (bassist of Oh Molly), got caught up in some funky stuff and that sucked a whole bunch, but he came back around and stayed. I also learned a ton about overcoming fear, doing fellowship, and stepping out in leadership. Morning prayer at school was a blast and held us so accountable. Lunch was cool because we talked about Jesus. My friends grew as I helped disciple them. Things ruled.
Senior year was fun as we took our victory lap as a class and people quit hating each other as much. We worked more as a community. Oh Molly had broken up by this point and we started a new Christian band, Me Dead To Me. I learned so incredibly much about humility and being in a ministry band. We got to record with a good friend and talked about touring, though it never happened. We played ridiculously good line-ups and were insanely blessed and mentored. I began dating Ben, having never dated before. It was fun and I learned a ton about myself.
I went off to college and experienced really being away for an extended amount of time, being an adult. I didn't see family, church family, and friends from high school nearly as much as before. My relationship with Ben ended in heartbreak. I experienced depression and for the first time, felt what it was to have no will or ability to hope. I returned to crap music and old habits. For the first time, I learned to be vulnerable and began learning about true intimacy with the Father. I learned about real life and how to handle it in God. I learned time management. I learned my vices and what I had been relying on. I learned, oh I learned! Over the summer, I battled with the tail end of the depression I had been struggling with. I traveled much and spent large amounts of time with my family. I passed up opportunity to love on them, but didn't neglect them altogether. I watched the new Me Dead To Me come into fruition and develop more backbone. I learned more about intimacy.
And now here I am, a sophomore all over again. I came in, having not completely exited depression. I doubted, I feared, I had anxiety about the year. And then all that was shattered as I now see God doing something so amazing in me--developing me. What a relief, to know that God is in me, working out His gifts in me so others can enjoy their fruits! I am being made into closer relationship with Him every day and also relationship with others. I'm learning so much about community and love. I am on a sweet rad campus ministry team that's all about outreach. I have a wonderful co-CMC and beautiful RAs. The girls on my floor are so supportive, understanding, and genuinely good people. My professors blow me away with their knowledge and ability to help me apply what I learn practically in life. My school has amazing athletic teams that love Jesus. My school is so great at serving others. My surroundings are tangible and genuine. I'm continuing to learn intimacy and grace. I'm reflecting on my past and what's made me tick the way I do. I'm learning about my vices still, but also about my strengths and my uniqueness. I'm learning how to best express myself. I'm learning that I am accepted in God's Kingdom and people really do love me and care for me where I am. I'm learning that it's okay to mess up and it's okay to doubt yourself because God has my back. Everything is okay in Him who loves me. It's okay that I lost a best friend last year and that we don't talk at all and things are really awkward between us. It's okay that my friends are miles away, doing awesome stuff with my church family. It's okay that my family is struggling out of arms' reach. It's okay that I'm developing and make mistakes often. It's all okay because God knows what He's doing! Hallelujah to that!!!
You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us