So here is the cliche 2017 reflection blog post. 2017 was a mixed year but here I am going to focus on some of the positive aspects of the year. So… here we go!
- I changed my major.
This was a decision that was incredibly hard for me. It took a lot of prayer and trusting God but also trusting myself and what I wanted for my future. I ultimately ended up incredibly happy with this change. I feel like my new major is a much more fitting place for me and I was only able to recognize that through growth and maturation.
- I had a kinda crappy summer job.
This was something I originally thought would not be something that I would look back on with gratefulness. I worked in a warehouse job that was incredibly repetitive and tedious. The work itself was really boring but I met a lot of people. Through these people, I began to see the world in a new way. A couple people I was able to have really good conversations with and I began to see the world differently because they shared their experiences with me.
- Sophomore year…
Sophomore is known for being kind of the worst. A lot of things change and get harder. This was definitely the case for me. I cried more this semester than I think I did my entire freshman year. However, through all this I found people who truly care for me even when I am not my normal upbeat self that I want to be. So here is a shout out to my people (if you are reading this, you probably know who you are)! Thank you for praying for me, crying with me, hugging me, reminding me why I do this crazy thing called college, and just being my support system. I love you all and I have no clue what I would do without you.
- Anti-Human Trafficking
This year I was able to get more involved in the fight against human trafficking than I ever thought possible. I have prayed with and for people and I have grown so much through this. I have seen God do cool things and heard countless stories of how God is moving through this fight. I’m not sure exactly how this will fit into my future but I know that God has given me this passion for a reason and he will bring it to fruition.
- (Last and probably the biggest highlight of my entire year) Sophomore Field
In the sophomore level field experience for non-ECE majors, you are placed in a school and you have to teach four lessons and stay engaged in the classroom for 35 hours in your semester. Going into this semester, I was very nervous about this. I knew it would be a lot of work and I wasn’t sure what to expect from a middle school. This placement ended up being amazing! The teacher and I ended up getting along incredibly well and I was able to teach my lessons and connect with the students. I was incredibly blessed in my time at this school, in this classroom.
These are only some of the really cool experiences I had this year. As I reflect, I realize how much I have grown and matured this year. It has not always been easy, but I have made it through (by the grace of God and the support of a LOT of people). I am looking forward to 2018 both with excitement and nervous anticipation. I don’t know what next year will bring me, but I know that God will be with me through it all!
This evening my roommate took this lovely picture of my arm featuring my tattoo and coffee cup. She sent it to me and the first thing I noticed about the picture was that my nail polish is chipped and I have a lipstick stain on my coffee cup. Both of these “imperfections” made the picture somehow seem more like me. I am not and will never be a perfect person. That got me thinking about how we perceive “imperfections” and try to hide them. A lot of things that I see as imperfections or things I don’t like about myself are things that make me uniquely me. In addition, the things I’m ashamed of can be a point of connection with someone else or can show how God has impacted my life. I need to be better about showing my imperfections but also how God has redeemed them and made them beautiful in ways that only he can.
For those of you who don’t know, I did something big this week. After debating the decision for over 6 months, I got a tattoo! The tattoo I got is (in my opinion) very tasteful. It is on my wrist and small enough to be easily covered up. It is two simple words: be still.
This tattoo idea started as a doodle. I was bored in class and started lettering different phrases in my notebook. This phrase was simple and easy to embellish or keep simple. I especially liked it because I do struggle to “be still” and trust God sometimes. I like to be in control and don’t like to let others (and especially God at times) have control. By January, I wanted the tattoo, but I decided to wait a while before making a final decision.
A few weeks into the summer I heard a sermon on Psalm 46. (I have linked the sermon here if you want to listen to it.) It was an especially good sermon and talked about the context of the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” The pastor spoke about how sometimes in life there are bullies (whether they be people or circumstances) who try to attack us but God is still with us and fights for us. Psalm 46 illustrates this and reminds us to trust God by being still and remembering him, even in the midst of chaos raging around us.
Because of that sermon, I wanted the tattoo even more than I already did. One afternoon I decided to look up where else in the Bible the phrase “be still” appeared. The other passage that stood out to me was Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” The context of this verse is right after the Israelites have left Egypt. They see the Red Sea in front of them, and the Egyptians behind them and they want to give up. They forget to trust God and would rather have stayed and died in Egypt than be in the middle of an uncertain future. Moses reminds them that God is still fighting for them and they need to simply “be still.” In the midst of their chaos, they need to slow down and trust that the situation is in God’s control.
After seeing these passages, I knew I really wanted to get this tattoo. The last thing I found that made me want the tattoo a little more was a song based on Psalm 46. I found this song (and album) by accident. I wanted to have some time in scripture, but I didn’t feel like reading that evening. I looked up “Psalm 46” on YouTube and found a song based on the Psalm. (I have linked the song here.) This is a powerful anthem that speaks very clearly about God’s power and might and how he is with us and fights for us. It has become one of my favorite Christian songs this summer.
After seeing God’s message through these things and wanting the tattoo even more, I made my final decision to get the tattoo. I asked my best friend to go with me and I had the tattoo done. I am excited about it and the significance it has for me. I hope that it is a useful reminder to “be still and know that [he is] God.”
The picture on the left is my tattoo and the picture on the right is my wonderful tattoo artist at Castle of Color in Nicholasville, KY doing the tattoo.