As I sit in my dorm room, with a little HGTV playing in the background, I can’t help but think back over the past 3 semesters and all that they have brought to my life.
I have been blessed in so many ways by the time I have spent at Lipscomb and the opportunities that life in Nashville has brought. But the point of this post is more aimed at reflecting over how thankful I am that God has plans for my life that amaze me everyday. And thankfully, He continues to work in my life even when I harshly oppose HIs help.
Let’s start at the beginning of the story- how I ended up at Lipscomb.
You see, growing up, Lipscomb was never even on my radar. I had heard about it. Knew where it was. And even had some family and friends that had attended, but it was never something I even considered.
Senior year I had decided that I had 2 schools I needed to choose between- ICC to play tennis or Ole Miss. After many heated conversations and emotional debates, I realized neither of these choices were going to gain much favor or support from my parents. Like most teenagers though, I knew that this was ultimately my decision and I could go wherever I wanted to. HA. (For those of you who are thinking like this, I’ll go ahead and warn you: unless you are paying tuition yourself, going “wherever you want to cause it’s your decision blah blah blah” doesn’t actually work.)
Well now that we have established I clearly had to begin considering other schools, I was at a loss of what to do. The only thing I knew was where I didn’t want to go. Incidentally, it was the exact school my dad wanted me to go to. Funny how it always seems to work like that, isn’t it?
So my mom, trying to be the voice of reason, suggested that we could find a middle ground. Somewhere that was a Christian school, which is the only thing my dad would settle for, but would provide the opportunities and busy city life that I wanted. So the week before Thanksgiving of senior year, I begrudgingly agreed to make a campus visit. (The whole time reassuring myself that I could make this visit to appease my parents and then talk them into letting me go where I was clearly destined to be- Ole Miss).
So, throughout this whole process of choosing a college, both before and after my visit to Lipscomb, I was praying for God to show me where He wanted me to be. Before you think, well that seems like a mature decision, my prayers usually went something like this: “God, I pray that you will show me where you want me to be (I know it’s Ole Miss). I pray that I will trust you with this decision (please lead me to Ole Miss). and I ask that you give my parents peace about my decision and let them know that wherever I go is where you are leading me (God, I really need you to convince them to let me go to Ole Miss). I pray that you will give me the strength and courage to serve you wherever I go (Ole Miss has a lot of people that need to hear about you, God). Please help me to see your plans for me, and help me follow them (Again, please let it be Ole Miss).”
So basically, I was telling God where I needed to be, and really only praying about this decision so I could say “But it’s God’s plan. You HAVE to let me go to Ole Miss.” The whole time, I was completely not open to thinking maybe God was leading me somewhere else. So I went on my college visit to Lipscomb. For me, it felt like a typical college visit. Not good or bad. Just average. I loved the idea of being in Nashville, but after growing up in private schools, I felt like I was ready for a break from all the extra rules. And my heart was still in Oxford.
On the ride home as we were all discussing the college visit, it was clear my dad was not in favor of this school either. His heart was clearly set on another school, as well, and he did not want to budge. I’m not sure what it is that seems so appealing about going against your parents’ judgement when you’re a teenager, but once my dad gave negative feedback about Lipscomb, it suddenly became a really attractive option. I had decided that there was no way I was going to win the battle of going to Ole Miss, but I felt like I could win this one. Not only did I feel like I could win this one, but I had decided that this was where I was going to go to school. And I’m fairly certain I told them they could let me go to Lipscomb or I just wouldn’t go to college at all. (Because taking on the mentality of a toddler and saying “It’s that one or nothing” would definitely show them I was mature…)
I was angry that I wasn’t getting to go where all of my friends went, but I had learned that when you take on disappointment with a bad attitude it just makes it worse. So I decided I would make the most of a bad situation and pretend like I was excited about my decision. By the end of senior year, I was genuinely excited about my decision, but probably for the wrong reasons. After a number of things happened senior year, I was just ready to get as far away as I could and just start over. The thought of being able to be at a place where no one knew me or anything about me was a kind of apprehensive excitement that I had never felt before. For this first time in my life, I could start completely over.
The end of summer rolled around and I had all my ducks in a row and was ready to start my new adventure. And then the first major crisis occurred. A week before move-in day, I get a text from my roommate saying she had decided to switch schools. Fantastic. Obviously, this now means that I will be stuck with a psycho roommate and this is going to be the worst year of my life. God, I gave up the fight for Ole Miss to follow where YOU wanted me, and now you let this happen?! I was angry and terrified and disappointed, but I realized there was nothing I could do so I tried not to think about it. Bring on the random roommate.
On move-in day, we found out that I would not have a roommate. I wasn’t sure whether I should be happy or sad about this, and then we saw the room I would be living in. You know it’s a bad sign when the RA checking you in says, “Oh you poor thing you have the smallest room in the whole building.” Wow. Awesome. I am SO glad I didn’t go to Ole Miss…She opened the door, I took one look at the room, and silently said a quick prayer. The room was smaller than any dorm room I had ever seen, and for the first time in my life, I SAW God’s plan play out in my life. I was so angry that God had let the roommate that I was so excited about change schools with only a week before school started. But after I saw this room, I realized what a blessing this was, and how unlikely it was that all of the pieces to this puzzle fell into plan just by coincidence.
You see, me and my roommate had found each other through Lipscomb’s Facebook page. Of all of the people on this page, she was one of the only ones I know who decided to change her mind a week before school started. If I had picked a different roommate, I would have spent freshman year in a shoe box trying to deal with another girl. Or if my roommate would have canceled earlier, it would have given me time to find a new roommate. But because of the person I had chosen and the lack of time she left for me to find someone new, I ended up having this tiny room all to myself. God must have known that I could not handle another girl for a year in such a tight space. What a blessing in disguise this was! So shamefully, as a dog with their tail between their legs, I prayed again. “God, I am so sorry. I’m sorry for being stubborn and for thinking I know how everything should play out. I’m sorry for not trusting that you have my best interests in mind. And I thank you for carrying out your plan even when I have gotten mad and fought against you.”
That rainy day in mid-August changed my life. I have realized to take disappointments when they come, and wait to see how God can use those for His Glory. I have not mastered this idea yet. My first reaction when disappointments come is still to get angry with God. But thankfully, we serve a forgiving and compassionate God who continues to work in our lives even when we resist and accuse Him of being wrong. With every disappointment that has come, I have seen God work. This doesn’t mean that the disappointments don’t still hurt. They absolutely do. But there is a sense of comfort in knowing that life isn’t over, our world hasn’t stopped spinning, and there will always be a silver lining.
So many other things have been a testament to me that Lipscomb is no doubt where God wanted me to be. The church family I have here in Nashville has challenged me and opened my eyes to so many wonderful things. I have formed the friendships I had only heard about. You know those relationships where you can be completely honest about your struggles and know that they will not have even one judgmental thought about you. I have found those friendships. I have seen people truly walk the walk of Jesus and have lovingly challenged me to do the same.
From where I sit now, I am incredibly thankful that I didn’t end up where I thought I should be. I’m thankful that I have parents who told me “No” even when they knew it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I am thankful for a God who doesn’t give up on us, and who has a plan for our lives. And I’m thankful for all of the lessons He has taught me in such a short time. If you made it all the way to the end, kudos to you! Reward yourself with some chocolate, because you deserve it! (: