|photo: Zoey Orlans|
“You lead me beside still waters….”
My senior year of high school. What a roller coaster of thoughts, emotions and events. At times my heart would be bursting with all of the blessings and joyful moments that the Lord brought in that special year. However, at other times the tears would come. That’s the thing about senior year. There are so many unknowns and change is racing towards you. Some of my classmates were extremely excited to go to college and leave our hometown behind. I, however, was not one of those. The Lord greatly blessed me with friends, teachers and mentors who poured in to me and encouraged me. I loved my life and was not ready for it to change.
|Photo: Zoey Orlans|
(Rebecca, thank you for having such a huge impact in my life. The three of us were so blessed to have you as a teacher, mentor and friend!)
(“The Fabulous Five", Thanks for loving me unconditionally!)
But the Lord had different plans for me. He gave me that strong foundation of community and encouragement so that I could be launched in to a new phase of life. College was new and crazy, scary yet exciting. The one word that keeps coming to mind when I think of my first year in college is trust. It is clear now that trust is what the Lord taught me through all of the transition and change. I learned that the hard way and through many tearful nights, but the Lord was faithful through it all and kept saying to me – Zoey trust me. I have you in the palm of my hand. God blessed me with a new community at UGA and I had a deeper sense of community than ever before. I am forever thankful for the people He placed in my life.
|photo: Zoey Orlans|
(The most amazing group of people. They represent every sense of true community.)
My relationship with Jesus changed my first semester of college. He became the only one who could satisfy me and the only one who was there every moment of every day. It’s a hard but beautiful thing to be in that place of full reliance on the Lord. Your beliefs and faith really must become your own once you move out and make decisions for yourself. It’s a new time in life that comes with a lot of fun and excitement, but also makes you think about what you believe and who or what you are going to believe in.
Through all of the different lessons and growth in my relationship with the Lord that first semester of college, He was constantly changing my heart and teaching me to fully trust in His word. Little did I know that He was preparing me for one of the biggest tests of my life. One morning, towards the end of my freshman year of college, I woke up and the world was spinning. I could not maintain my balance and could barely even open my eyes. This strange vertigo spell was the first sign of what was coming my way. About three months later I found out that there was definitely something wrong. One doctor diagnosed me with Lyme Disease. Another said I had absolutely nothing wrong with me. Still another said that I had fibromyalgia and the list went on and on. While doctors could not decide and diagnose what I was dealing with, I continued to feel worse and worse and became a shell of myself.
Fast forward two years and I’m taking a trip to Baltimore to see a team of experts. Still no answers. And now, almost three and a half years later I still don’t have answers. However, there has been a constant theme; the fact that trusting the Lord was and is the only thing that I could do and can do now. He gave me joy in that. I was never worried about what would happen during this time. I knew that God was sovereign and He would take care of all of the details. I just had to trust that He would bring me through it. Now it wasn’t easy, and every doctor appointment brought along anxiety, some fear, and sometimes anger that American doctors could not figure out the problem. But I was consistently reminded that doctors are human beings and they can’t have all of the answers. Only God knows all.
I share all of this to say, how did God teach me to trust? By giving me hard things. By turning my world upside down. All while consistently leading me and guiding me and loving me. When I had answers and when I didn’t have answers. I could have decided not to trust at all. To believe that God was not sovereign. However, Psalm 46 became my constant encouragement and came to my mind over and over again.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within HER, she WILL NOT FALL; God will help her at break of day. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Friends, the Lord is good all of the time. He is good when we are hurting. He is good when we are excited for what’s to come. He is good when we are doubtful about the future. I encourage you to take a leap of faith in whatever circumstance you might find yourself in right now. Trust in Him. The one who knows your heart, is full of grace and who is sovereign above all.