Man, it's been a long time since I've posted anything. When I started blogging I had hoped to write a monthly post. But alas, life happened and prevented me.
A couple big changes are coming my way. First, I'm almost ready to receive my baccalaureate in English studies!!! I've finished all my English courses so now I'm taking a philosophy course (Religion and the Meaning of Life) and a weightlifting course to make up the four extra hours I need to graduate.
After these summer classes I plan to jump right into the Master's of Clinical Counseling program at Grace College. To do this, I have to take the GRE, and also meet other requirements for admission, such as a phone interview with the head of the department, submission of transcripts and a photo, etc.
I am registered to take the GRE on June 11. Near the end of June I will be moving to Wisconsin to live with my step-dad, Mom and stepbrother. Near the beginning of August (provided I get in) I will start online classes at Grace. The program is three years long, with the first two years online and the third residential. So, for the first two years I will live in Wisconsin, and try hard to find a good job so I can begin paying back loans.
Moving to Wisconsin has been a somewhat difficult pill for me to swallow. Lately I've been reflecting on my time here at ISU, since August 2009 to the present. I realize more and more as I interact with my friends in Cornerstone Christian Fellowship how very much I will miss them when I leave in August. I have met confidants, friends, and a mentor who have all helped me grow tremendously, more than I ever have before. The culture of community the leaders have fostered here is so inspiring; I feel that I can talk to anyone and we all get along so incredibly well. Of course there are personality differences and disagreements (we're all human after all) but I have been so incredibly blessed to be part of such an awe-inspiring community.
One of my friends started a campus group called "Stuff for the Poor" that provides shoes for the poor in Africa. His heart for the underprivileged is awesome. Another friend leads a small group with Christians, agnostics, and Jews, and facilitates discussion for the whole group. Her heart for God and others as well as her leadership ability are extremely inspiring. I've walked around the campus numerous times with one friend, sharing what's on my heart and mind and realizing that there are other men out there who fight the same battles. He has the fantastic ability to be both hilarious and deep. We've had awesome times that are unforgettable (such as renting the B-movie Assault Girls-it's not as bad as it sounds!!!) And finally, I've drawn a lot of strength and ideas on what it takes to be a godly man from my mentor. Our talks have been eye-opening, and I've really appreciated the affirmation he's given me, as well as the constant generosity he and his wife have shown in letting me stay at their house, giving me rides to homegroup events, and on and on it goes.
Bottom line: I've realized how VERY much I'm going to miss this group. As I continue to reflect though, I've realized that God has been with me in a powerful way through all of this craziness, and he's not going to let me go just because I change locations. The very day that I moved in to my apartment in Normal, God brought Rob Bergman into my path, and he introduced me to Cornerstone. Reflecting on this helps me realize that he will also provide community for me in Wisconsin, so I don't need to fret about what's ahead.
There is a dojo up there that teaches both Aikido and boxing. I've visited once before and really liked it. I hope to join provided I find a job...I would love to get back into martial arts again!
In terms of my spiritual walk, God is teaching me a lot about suffering, loneliness, as well as strength and perseverance. A verse that I have meditated on frequently is 1 Corinthians 16:13, "Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." This verse has helped me to persevere through temptation, loneliness, stress, and every other thing that has come my way. As I seek God on a daily basis, petitioning Him for his strength and interceding for friends and situations, I'm amazed to see how much He provides for me.
God has been gracious in allowing me a new perspective on being alone. Relient K has a great line in their song "Therapy", off of the album Forget and Not Slow Down: "Loneliness and solitude are two things not to get confused, because I spend my solitude with You." Amen, God! Now that I am the sole occupant of my apartment for a time, I've finally begun to face what it means to not be surrounded by people. My typical response to being alone has been a sense of despair. However, the past few weeks have shown me that I'm truly never alone when I'm in God's presence, and that I can accomplish different things and take time to reflect and think in solitude. In other words, I can change what I used to perceive as a negative into a positive.
While the transition out of state is somewhat saddening, it's also exciting. I'm anticipating much growth and change while I'm there, and praying that God will prepare me practically, mentally, and spiritually for the challenges that lie ahead. God is good, and I know that he will provide for me.