Asbury Musings part 1: Finding Strength in His Spirit

Two weeks ago I walked across a temporary stage in the gymnasium, received my diploma, and got my picture taken with Dr. Gray as a college graduate. I said goodbye to my friends, packed up my car, and left Kentucky. College has been a crazy ride, full of good times and not so great ones, but through it all I learned a lot about myself. Over the past two weeks I have been processing what exactly I learned over the years and how I have changed. So, I thought I’d share my “Asbury Musings” with you.

I first thought about the drastic difference between my underclassmen and upperclassmen years. My freshman and sophomore years were a lot of fun and not that challenging. I hung out with my friends and we made a lot of crazy memories together (Sophomore Musical anyone?). But everything changed when junior year came around. My classes got harder, I was easily overwhelmed, and had to stop hanging out with most of my friends just to get my work done. I knew over half the people on campus but I couldn’t focus on all those friendships and pass my classes (example: I had DFP and Screenwriting that semester). But the worst part was that I started having back problems that forced me to sit on the sidelines more often than I wanted to and watch my friends have fun.

It continued the same way in the following three semesters; less interaction with my friends outside of the classroom while my life gradually spun out of control. Then in the middle of my final semester at Asbury, I realized that I was so run down, physically and emotionally, out that I couldn’t continue, even if I had one month until graduation. I was in the midst of a horrible back spasm and was angrily questioning God why I was in so much pain. I thought He healed me but I hadn’t had any improvement in a long time. I never knew what could trigger a back spasm and so I was scared to do anything that might set it off. Everything I tried to do to heal myself wouldn’t last, a back spasm would always come again and the pain would leave me almost paralyzed for several days. Nothing worked and I began to think there wasn’t any cure for me.

While I was desperately begging God to make the pain stop, He gave me a choice: I could continue living the way I was (stubbornly on my own) and quickly end up with a bad case of depression and anxiety, or I could choose to live in the strength of God’s spirit and trust that He would renew my worn out body, and then give me strength to finish out the semester strong.

Then it hit me: I had been trying to get better by using my strength, not God’s. I did my best to find my own cure, and then push through my semester so it looked like I was fine. I wasn’t “fine,” but I thought I had to be. I realized that if I wanted to live I couldn’t continue in my own strength because I had nothing left and no way of healing my back. But if I chose to live in the strength of His spirit I had a chance to live life to the fullest again.

I chose to trust that He would provide the healing I needed to finish the semester strong; and He did exactly what He promised. He gave me the strength and rest I needed to finish all my projects and finals, and to walk across that stage and jump off the stairs in celebration as an Asbury University graduate with minimal to nonexistent pain. Praise the Lord!

Now that college is over, my back is not 100% (it has yet to happen) and I’m still recovering from college itself. However, I will continue to live in the strength of His spirit everyday because, even though college is over, a new chapter in my life has already begun and I’m not going to miss one bit of it!

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I Recognize Myself in Celebrities

What is there to say that hasn’t been said already? People have already written so responses to the VMAs that my head is spinning. Some I agree with, and some I don’t. But I do know I don’t despise anyone for the choices they made there. Instead, my heart simply breaks for them.

Why would it break? I can promise you it’s not because I think I’m better because I’m in my little corner where I’ve done nothing bad in my life (which isn’t true, just to be clear). My heart breaks for them because I remember. I remember life before Jesus. I remember the need to do my own thing so people respect me. I remember the desire to be loved but not stopping to ask myself how do I let that happen? How do I let down the walls around my heart so I can experience love? I didn’t know and I didn’t care. I was happy to do my own thing while assuring people that I was following Christ.

I remember when I finally found the courage to stop running and ask God and myself the tough questions. Why? Why do I feel this way? I thought everything was supposed to be better after my “conversion” in 8th grade. Why do I care about what people say about me? Why do I always try to impress them? I want to be me. I wanted so desperately to be the “real me,” but I had no clue who the real me was. If I didn’t know who I was, how can I be real?

I remember reaching rock bottom.

Not many people have reached rock bottom. The way you get there is always different, but you know it when you’ve reached it.

Rock bottom is lonely, and you have no sense of direction to know where you should go next, what you should do to get out. Your only thought is how wretched you are. You see yourself, your real self, for the first time.

In my moment of horror of my wretched self, I remember how God immediately came to my side and told me He loved me. He loved me! That’s all He said, and He said it again, and again, and again!

“I love you. I love you. I love you.”

Those three words were the only things that drew me out of rock bottom. I did nothing. I could do nothing to pull myself out from the pit I was in. All I could do was sit and soak in God’s love for me.

When I watch people breakout in anger against celebrities, I can’t join them. How I live my life is all I should focus on, not how they live theirs.

Sometimes, though, I do wonder if there’s anything I can do to help. I’m just a girl from Northern Virginia who’s been living in Kentucky for the past three years, what can I do? And God reminds me that all I can do is pray. And since I already know I can’t do anything, I let the God who can do something act.