Thursday, May 1, 2008

Catching up on this past semester

So today was my first financial deadline for my Australia summer project. My personal goal was around $1850. I sent in around $2300. God is so amazing! Now, I am almost halfway to my total goal...halfway!

So school has been over with for almost a week and I have about another week before I start my three summer classes. Yeah, three, I'm crazy. Anyway, I'm not enjoying my "vacation" too much. I feel like I have sooooo much to do, and I already have homework. That's right, I already have homework! I can't believe it. Well, I guess I'll tell the long it is from the "beginning." This past semester has been my most difficult thus far (and hopefully ever).

Emotionally, I felt like I was on a roller coaster. One day or hour I was bounding with happiness and joy, the next I was sulking with gloom. I realized that (and this is hard for me to admit) my battle with depression is not completely over (though there has been some progress, about which I will talk shortly). It mainly reflected whatever was going on with my mom, although there has been a lot more going on with my family, in general, that has been weighing upon my heart. I like to think of it as a line graph - overall a positive slope, but spiking up and down, all over the place. The inconsistency took a toll on me and I became very exhausted. Things seem to have leveled out for a bit. I had a good talk with my mom a few days ago. I got to cry in her arms and let go of so much that I had been holding in. It was such a relief and felt soooo good, even though it was scary at first. I feel like God put some more pieces of my heart back together. I know we are not out of this completely, but I have more hope onto which I can hold, to get me through the tough times ahead. I feel stronger and more ready to handle what comes. So finally, after all these years, God is taking the depression that plagued me and is replacing it with hope. Ahhh, what a good feeling it is!

Spiritually, I feel like I've been living two lives. In one, I got really involved with Crusade and enjoyed doing regular evangelism on campus, as well as some prayer. But at the same time, my own relationship with my Father wasn't doing so well. My quality, quiet times were few and far between. I really struggled to get much from reading His Word, though I found other books to be great resources. I've really enjoyed expanding my desire for reading for "pleasure", but I missed being fed by the Word. And in that same life, I failed to honor God with my school.

Academically, I did not do so well, though my grades may not show all of it (because God is so kind). God opened my eyes as to how lazy I was in regards to school. I struggled to do homework and often turned in assignments late or not done well. I am very disappointed in my behavior.

But God has shown me where I've gone wrong and I pray that I make the necessary changes before summer classes start. I will have three classes and no wiggle room for mistakes, much less anything else. God finally answered a question of mine, today, and told me that I have been keeping school and ministry separated (which is probably why I've done so poorly). Especially this past semester, I viewed school as an obstacle to what I really wanted. My perspective really needs to change before next Monday. He showed me that instead, I need to weave ministry through my everyday life, including school, and that school isn't an obstacle for ministry, but an opportunity. I don't really know where my sights got mixed up, but they definitely did. Slowly, I'm giving it to God. It is harder than I thought, I guess because I've been holding onto it for so long and it's just habit.

So this leads me to this coming semester. Like I said, I will have three classes, that's 24 scheduled hours of class a week, not to mention study time in addition to that. So as you can see I won't have any time for the prayer and evangelism I had hoped to start and continue. It's hard to let go of those desires and embrace the change that God has for me. (Man, where did I go wrong?! I'm realizing more and more how my focus has been all wrong, and usually on me, even though it seemed like it was on God.)

I guess God has been showing me this for a few weeks now. A couple of weeks ago God brought up this passage in Revelation that really spoke to my heart.
Yet I hold this against you; you have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. (Revelation 2:4-5a)
He showed me that I too had forsaken my first love, and instead was driven by different things. I reflected upon the place from which I had come and the things I did "at first." It was so sweet to look back at the beginnings of my relationship with God and how in love I was, and how satisfied I was, with just Him. He was my only desire - innocent and pure.

So that is where I'm headed - to God, to God and to school. I feel like there is a lot of change coming to my life and much of that is simplification. The clutter is beginning to be removed and I pray that all that is left is only what God wants. I don't want any selfish desires of mine on the side because that will only lead to more exhaustion and frustration, not to mention spoiling of the fruit that God is trying to produce in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Well, that was a lot, and it's late now, so I'm off to bed.

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