Thoughts as my first year at App draws to a close…

I love Appalachian State.

My views of it have changed greatly since the first day I moved here, but my affection has not diminished.

Lynne told me when I moved here last August that I should look for something beautiful every day, even if it’s only something small.

Joanna told me to pray every morning for peace and joy.

Susanna told me to get involved and just do things.

So I followed their advice.

My very first day on campus I sat beneath one of those lovely, old trees on Sanford Mall with a journal in one hand and a pen in the other and simply wrote. I wrote about all the beauty of these mountains. I wrote about the soft breezes that whisper as they pull at your hair and clothing. I wrote about the sun sinking behind the tall mountains. I wrote about that wonderful bell that is slightly off-key and rings out every hour. I wrote about people walking barefoot, those colonies of hammockers, the walkway between Rankin and the library, the school by the bus stop where the children play, the white house with the green shutters, and that magical pathway in my neighborhood.

I prayed every day when I first arrived for peace and joy, and He gave me more than that–He gave me Himself.

And I did things. One of the seniors at CRU gave advice to us younger students at his end of year send off. He told us to throw ourselves into one thing that makes us uncomfortable and see how God works through you in it. I’m pretty sure this has been the story of my life the last few months. I joined a club in the Communication department called AppSpeaks in January. Intellectually, the things we talk about are so often beyond my depth. It was also awkward walking into the club at first because the group was already like a family. But here I am–alive at the end, loving it, and feeling like the long-lost sister in that family. I applied for an officer position with the IJM chapter (http://www.ijm.org/) that just started at App this semester. I had applied to be a Committee Coordinator, but instead they asked me to be in charge of fundraising. Really?! This kid? I accepted, and I am so excited to see how God will work through the amazing group of people that make up our team next semester! There is a lot next semester I am uncertain of concerning extracurricular activities, and just life in general, but I am excited by the challenge and–can you believe it–the uncertainty of it all.

You discover so much about yourself when you leave all that’s familiar behind you. Some good. Some not so good. You find you’re stronger than you think you are, and weaker all the same. You find new passions and desires, and find you’ve lost a few along the way. You see sin rear its ugly head in ways it never has before, and you yet find Grace greater than you could imagine.

The story of my first year of college is full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, humor, fear, change, beauty, and anything else that makes up a normal life. Yet what is written all over its pages is Christ. Any part of my life story must begin and end with Him. He has begun a process to change me from the inside out. He has taken my heart of stone and is
giving me a heart of flesh. I have seen His beauty shine brighter than I ever have before. I am His and He is mine. 

A final note:[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyPBtExE4W0]

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