Sunday, January 23, 2011

Before I left to make the trek back up to school I found myself in a very comforting place, my grandparent's living room. As I quietly came up the steps to go through the dreaded "so long for now..." routine yet again, the television was immediately turned off and all attention was on me. After a bit of small talk we stood, hands clasped in a little love triangle as my grandfather prayed so sincerely for me. His wise old words fell graciously on my soul, my soul so eternally grateful for the presence of my grandparents in my life. My little cold hands fit perfectly into his - strong and worn with years of hard work - and hers - delicate and soft.. and my ears listened intently as my grandfather reminded me that God was going with me- that he wasn't going to stay behind in Lancaster while I went on my way back up to school. God promised to never leave us or forsake us... a simple yet life-altering truth and promise that I often forget.  But it's true:

God is here,
and He's caring for me.
(and I'm thankful for this reminder from my grandfather.)

it would be a lie to say that coming back to school has been the most wonderful transition, that my soul is so happy and at peace and my heart is so ready to love everyone here again. because it's been harder than i anticipated. this semester is not last semester, and that alone is something i'm being reminded of every day. some dear friends are not here, (and some new ones are.) the classes i loved so much are not the ones i am attending this time, the weather is cold and the grass is hidden. (just to name a few...) but at the very same time there is so much joy and great anticipation in the newness of this semester. there are new things to do because of the snow. there are new people to meet - as well as old friendships to continue and delve into. new books sit on my shelf to read, new professors will i hear from - and new ideas will be presented to me. and through all this newness, though at first it seemed odd, i am seeing God's caring presence right here - i am seeing his love being poured out in little and big ways. in just these two days of classes and now this weekend, i know God is here, that he's here loving me and preparing me for another semester full of life i cannot even imagine. He never ever ever leaves us, and if I really believe that - if I believe that God is here and that God is good, why should I not rejoice?

I'm coming to trust that he is here with me, and I'm sensing it in real ways:

He's answering prayers so evidently (and quickly!) and encouraging me through my school work already. He placed some dear friends in just the right places last night when I needed them in the biggest and most unsettling RA task yet. He knew I needed to hang out with him this morning so he enabled me to sleep through my alarm so that I could have an oatmeal date with him, and then walk around the pond in awe of his glory in all of this snow. He's giving me a really awesome winter, a winter with SNOW, so much snow! (something I've been longing for...for quite some time.)

This semester I'm trying to learn to be present to God's presence.

... so sometimes I like to open my journal from last year and see what I wrote exactly on this day last year. I did that the other day and found this silly little thing I wrote about going into a new semester. My feelings toward this new semester are similar and so I'm trying to face it with this attitude. So here you go, a little sample of how my heart feels about the upcoming months. : )

Second Semester, sometimes those words, when squished together, feel more like an intimidating monster than a welcoming adventure with arms wide open. But I know this monster can be tamed, and in fact- it's not even a monster at all. Really, it's just a whole bunch of days and months stacked up on top of each other hiding under a dark and hairy costume. All we have to do is find the zipper and unleash those days so that they can run free- free to be filled with the beauty of life, not weighed down by the load of other days. Days are meant to be lived one at a time, and this semester- we shall learn that in a new way. 


  1. Ashley
    Please know that your mom is praying for you as you transition into a new semester. I know that transitions can be difficult but without them, I am afraid our lives would become static and mundane. Transitions mean new opportunities, new connections, new growth, new happiness, new difficulties, . . . you get the picture. One thing for sure, with an adventurous spirit like yours, you had better get used to them because I do not see you finding a niche and staying there for the rest of your life. It will be fun to see where God leads you. Please know that we are here - through all the transitions, the ups and downs, the ins and outs . . . we love you - now and for always!!