Lately

Happy fall to everyone!

The last month or so has been a flurry of outward changes and inward adjustments as well. My first few weeks at Iowa State have stretched me more than I thought possible, and although it can be discouraging, it is also very exciting!

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel extremely overwhelmed at least once a day here. I knew my major would be difficult, but it has been more challenging to adjust to my load of science classes than I thought it would be. In many moments I have wondered if I will be able to keep up for the next few years. This is mostly due to the fact that I took a minimal amount of science classes in high school and I didn’t take any science classes last year because I was fortunate enough to be studying God’s word! And that year was so valuable. So even though it’s a issue right now, it’s an issue I’m happy to have.

On top of my classes, I want to be involved! I also want to find a job that I enjoy and/or that will help me gain skills for my future profession. However, I have no car. And while it might be possible to attend some activities on campus or find a job within walking distance, I often find myself frustrated by how limited my options are. Also, how will I work during the week when my classes are so demanding? And how am I supposed to stay involved on top of these?

There is more, but I’m sure that’s enough detail for now.

Because I have spent so much precious time being frustrated or worried, I’ll admit that my mind has wandered into some scary places. Places where I question God’s love for me. Where I doubt that he knows what he’s doing. Where I throw away all I know to be true and let myself be carried away by intense, fluctuating emotion.

A few days ago I was writing out a prayer, and I ended one paragraph with:

“Thank you for the gospel, Lord. Lately it is the only thing I know to be sure.”

As I looked at what I wrote, I wondered why I had chosen the word “lately.” Staring at those six letters, I wondered if there had ever been a time in my life where I had known anything other than the gospel to be completely true.

I considered past circumstances, past relationships, and everything else that has fluctuated as I have grown. Every stage of life thus far, I remembered, has now shifted or even ended. Nothing that I have previously thought to be sure has stayed the same. I am not in the same place I was in a year ago or even a week ago.

Christ’s death, resurrection, and love for me, however, have never changed. God used this one word to show me that the gospel has always been the only thing that I could cling to. The promises of Jesus will always be the only sure footing to base my life upon.

This truth seems simple, and if someone has asked me a year ago if I believed it to be true I would have given a confident  “Yes!” in response. However, simple does not always mean easy. God knew that while I professed this to be true in word, I had not made a true change in heart or in deed. So he has made every foothold slippery and scary in order that I would have no option but to cling to Christ. And I am so thankful that he did!

Why? Because having Christ alone is more than enough! While I don’t know what is coming next year, next month, or even tomorrow, I know that Jesus loves me. That he loved me enough to pursue my heart. To die for me. That he wants to help me love God and love others like I was created to. And that one day he will come back for me.

So, heavenly Father, thank you. Thank you for making me uncomfortable. Thank you for stretching me. Thank you for helping me to lean on Christ more and more. Hallelujah, all I have is Christ!

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

Philippians 3:8 ESV

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