I’ve been at my new school (TWU in Denton) for two weeks. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but i already feel like I’m learning a lot about myself, my God, and statistics. God has been so faithful to me in this new season, and I want to share a bit of that with you today.
Something I think about a lot is how God is writing incredible stories for us. I feel like right now, I’m at the end of my first chapter in this new book and things are about to get good. Like, the boring first chapter of the book is over and now the plot is picking up and more characters are being introduced. I think my story is about to become a real page turner. I’m on the cusp of something great. I can feel it.
But let me go back and explain things a bit:
Y’all, it’s been a lonely little season. Who moves eight hours away and immediately has friends? Not me. (Maybe there are some people who are like that? good for them. I’m mildly jealous).
A few months ago, a dear friend and I were on the beach at sunrise having some real talk and I told her how nervous I was about making friends in Denton. She straight up told me,”Annika, it’s not too early to start praying for community. Start praying for it.” And I was mind blown (@ Anna, you’re the best and I’ve missed you a ton). So from that moment on, I’ve been praying bold and big prayers for community and blessings in Denton. I was blessed so greatly here at Texas A&M Corpus with amazing friends who led me closer to Jesus; in the back of my mind, I was scared that maybe I exhausted the supply of good friends that I get in college. Like whoops, I had too many that first year of college and now I’m fresh out of friends. But how silly of me. That’s not in God’s character. He delights in providing for us. And He never disappoints.
So I move to Denton and the first week passes. I fell in the routine of going to class in the morning and working on homework in my dorm at night. And y’all, that got old real quick. By the third night of me doing that, I was texting my mom about how I was never going to make friends. I live in the middle of a sorority floor in my hall, and I kept hearing them laughing and talking all the time and it almost felt like they were rubbing it my face. Like they all had their friends the first week of school and the rest of us losers were all doomed. And at times, that’s how I felt: doomed. I started wondering why I didn’t have community yet. I’d been praying for months. Were friends coming my way? I wondered if I was about to endure a lonely season.
Now, let me tell you about God’s faithfulness to me:
Friends, those first few days were hard.
But here I am. I survived. And looking back, I’m proud of how I handled myself. There were moments when I felt doomed and like God was ignoring my prayers. But when I felt like that, I didn’t let myself dwell there. I didn’t set up camp in those feelings. And that’s exactly why: because they’re feelings. I know enough about feelings to know that they’re fickle and that Jesus is bigger. When the negative feelings and thoughts came, I remembered who my God is and I turned to my Bible and to my prayer journal. The first place I flipped was Psalm 46. God has totally been speaking this into my life that first week of school. In the beginning of that first week, I was spending time with Jesus before class and I went to my bible and it randomly opened to Psalm 46. I read through it and was struck by the relevancy. Then it started showing up in my life. For example, on social media. I would see people that I follow posting a verse from Psalm 46 and that happened multiple times. I felt like God was pointing me to that passage. I’m gonna copy and paste it here for anyone who wants to read it:
God Is Our Fortress
To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.
46 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
After coming across that psalm, whenever I had a moment of loneliness or sadness, I flipped to Psalm 46 and read through it and prayed. God is our greatest Comforter and Friend and those are things I’m learning a lot about right now.
And then Psalm 46 helped me make a friend. Like, okay Jesus, I see you.
So the story is that on my last day of classes the first week of school, I had Psalm 46:5 written on my hand. I like to write the first letter of each word of the verse because it helps me memorize it and keep it front of mind throughout the day. So I had, “G I I T M O H; S S N B M; G W H H W M D.” written by my left thumb.
I went to my honors statistics class and I got there early to get a good seat. Shortly after I got there, this girl walks into class and sits on the row behind me. Out of the corner of my eye, I see that she has a bible in her hands. She plopped it down on the table and I see that on her hand, she had a bible verse written in the same style that I have mine. In that moment, I knew that I wanted to be friends with her. The loneliness I had been feeling made me brave so after class I walked up to her and said, “Hey! What’s your verse?” Hers was James 1:2-3, one of my favorites (“Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”). Then we struck up a conversation and she invited me to a campus ministry, called Overflow, where she was a leader. So the next week, on Tuesday night, I went with her to Overflow and the only way I can describe it is that it felt like coming home. At that ministry, with hands lifted during worship and surrounded by people who love Jesus, I felt at home. This was my first time truly feeling like I fit in at TWU.
Overflow was a few days ago, but I still feel so encouraged. I signed up for a small group and I met so many nice people. Friends, it feels like I’m on the cusp of something amazing. I feel like I’m almost there; that next week I’ll go back to TWU and that things are going to be so right. My schedule is starting to fill up with bible studies and different social things. And I know that things won’t be perfect and inevitably, I’ll still have moments of loneliness. But God has shown His faithfulness to me. I just know that I’m on the cusp of something great.
Friends, it’s happening for me. Pray big. Pray bold. It’ll happen for you, too.