I remember so clearly walking around campus on a beautiful November day in 2011, when I wasn’t even a student yet. I asked a God I didn’t really know yet, “Can I do this?” He instantly spoke, “You will do this and we are going to do it together.” I held on to that voice for the rest of my college career.
I moved to Waco, Tx. in January 2012. I was brand new to following Jesus. I was scared, yet full of wonder. I was in a really fragile state, but I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that God had called me to Baylor University.
I remember it like it was yesterday. The excitement as I moved in with my brother, as I decorated my new room and prepared for my first day of school. It was such a change of pace, but oh so exciting!
The first few months were really great with all it’s newness, but then the reality that I was in this brand new chapter and home was several hours away began to hit me. The reality that I didn’t live on campus, wasn’t in a sorority, was a year behind the kids my age, and didn’t have community of any kind was becoming evident. It also didn’t help that I transferred in the middle of the school year, so it already felt awkward. All that I had to look forward to was school, going to study at coffee shops, and Vertical every Monday night. It was lonely, but bearable. I wrapped up my first semester and went back home for the summer and kept myself busy. I convinced myself that it was a fluke of a semester and that surely things would turn around in the fall when everything is new for everyone again.
It wasn’t a fluke. Life was different and insanely lonely after the newness settled again.
If I didn’t have my brother/roommate, Casan, I truly think I would’ve thrown in the towel and came home. I also didn’t want to transfer back to my old college, because I knew God had called me to Baylor.. I had to dig in and hang on, but how?
I remember so clearly feeling invisible. Feeling unbelievably lonely. Forgotten. Hopeless. Insignificant. Yearning to make an impact for the kingdom, but having nothing to work with. The best word I can use to describe that period of time is that it was my season of Stillness.
I remember dreading the weekends because it meant more stillness. More time to be reminded that I didn’t have community, friends, hobbies, etc. It was heart wrenching. I tried on my end to grasp on to things and force community and friends, but it never worked. I tried probably 20 different churches all by myself (which is so scary) and left all of them crying because I knew it wasn’t a fit. I tried volunteering and joining different campus organizations, but it was not where I was supposed to serve and that was apparent.
It was clear that Jesus wanted my full attention and heart postured to him. I remember journaling 2 or 3 times daily because I had no one to talk to, just pouring out my pain and fears to Him.
I looked in the mirror with the lowest self confidence of my life and asking the girl in the mirror who she was. I remember walking around campus with headphones in and my head down, because of the hope I had seemed to lose in this being where God called me.
I finally, because I was exhausted from trying so hard, started to trust Him and hang on to His promises. Over time, I started to dream specifically with Jesus and tell Him about what I wanted Baylor to be for me. I remember dreaming deeply about my future husband with Jesus, writing down specific characteristics I longed for in a partner. I remember building an incredible relationship with my parents after years of my pride and selfishness had kept them at a distance. I remember praying about the community I needed and laid what I wanted down. I wanted to be a part of a movement. Together, we dreamed, prayed & I slowly began believing it was my portion. I remember Jesus so clearly breaking me down, laying Himself down as my foundation, and building who He wanted to me to be on top of that.
After a year and a half, Jesus provided breakthrough and slowly gave me community, friendships, showed me what it was to risk, showed me how to be pursued and loved by people with no strings attached, showed me what it was like to be intentional and think of others first, and how to fall in love with the church. His church that was a perfect fit for me. He brought so much breakthrough with Vertical, too. I started giving back to the ministry that poured into my aching heart and Jesus gave me wonderful friends and a phenomenal pastor to trust and look up to. The intentionality of this new found community absolutely rocked my world. My discipler and the girl who first took me to church became one of my best friends and maid of honor, this super nice and cute guy from life group became my husband, and my life group and friends from church became my forever friends.
Looking back on my college years, it definitely was an adventure, filled with so many ups and downs. It was humbling, refining and growing. We are all waiting for something. We are all in seasons of stillness at some point in time. My heart for you is to know that Jesus IS breaking through. He IS near. He SEES you and walks WITH you. I know it seems endless. I know it feels hopeless sometimes (or a lot of the time). Hang on to the hope that He has anchored for your soul and press deeply into the stillness and seek Him. His intimacy is enough. I promise you that.
Would I change my long, hard, season of stillness? Not for the world. You know why? Because Jesus was always there and that season made me, me. He was with me every step of the way. And that is worth it all.
And all along, I was praying for God to change my circumstances. Little did I know He was in the process of changing me.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17
“We have this Hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest Forever.” -Hebrews 6:19-20
“May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” -Psalm 33:22