However, I am hoping to get things back on track! THIS WEEK. (Lord, help me.)
I graduated from college on May 7th, which was a pretty terrific feeling. Actually, it still doesn't even seem real. It's strange to think that I won't be heading back to Bourbonnais for school in the fall. And it's been a bit sad to say goodbye to friends for who-knows how long. But I am looking forward to the future. I am planning on spending the next three years getting my Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Peoria. At present, I am job-hunting. This is no easy task, let me tell you. But I am confident and hopeful that the Lord will open a door. I just have to put my big girl pants on and wait on His timing.
I really enjoyed my time at Olivet. I matured in many ways, developed meaningful friendships, received an excellent education, and most of all I have fallen more in love with Jesus. Things did not always go exactly as planned, and there were definitely some extremely rough times. In fact, during the last week of school, as I was having a real heart-to-heart with my roommates Angela and Emily, I was finally able to recognize and express something that God had been working in me over the last few years. In high school, I was on fire for the Lord. I was part of a thriving youth group and really became a spiritual leader. During that time, everything about God was new, fresh, and exciting. But throughout college, His presence was not as obvious to me. I often felt distant from God, not able to feel His Spirit, and often frustrated because I couldn't feel Him. It's not that I never experienced the Lord's presence in my life during this time, but it was certainly a "dry season," if that makes sense. However, on one of those last nights in my apartment with my close friends, as I poured my heart out, I finally understood how God had been at work in me.
It was a bit like the Lord's conversation with Peter in John 21:15-12.
I sensed Him asking me:
"Do you truly love Me? Or do you love the way I make you feel?"
It was as if a light turned on inside of me. It was an "A-HA" moment of pure insight.
During high school, the Lord was so kind in allowing me to feel and sense His presence constantly. But in college, that became more uncommon. Instead, I had to constantly remind myself of His consistency, His faithfulness, His unchanging character. I had to keep telling myself, "God is with me, even though I cannot feel Him."
And that night, I knew it to be true. 100%.
He showed me that, even through dry seasons, He is who He is. He is the same God that I worship when I am on a mountaintop of emotions, when His presence is obvious and richly dwelling in me and spilling over.
He is the same. And He had been with me the whole time.
This lesson gives me hope and assurance for the future. No matter how I'm feeling, I know who He is - His true character. No matter where I am, I know that He is with me. No matter what I'm doing, I know that He is leading me.
Praise the Lord.