“What are you writing on yours, Rachel?” Last semester, we were painting flower pots on a Women’s Retreat about growth and were decorating flower pots to fill with words of affirmation. I had written trust because it was something I always came back to in my relationship with the Lord. We need to put our trust in God. We need to trust in His plan for our lives, His goodness, and love for us.
There was no need to ease back into life on campus after spring break. Everyone was faced with an unexpected reality. The rhythm I had been getting into of attending daily mass and holy hour with my friends had shifted. The stress I felt in school doubled when the work hit my desk at home. I had only thrown just enough clothing into a duffle, packed up all my textbooks, and locked the door, when just two weeks at home turned into the rest of the semester. A week later, I cancelled the Zoom call with my Young Life team and wiped away tears. I miss all of my friends. I miss the people I encountered at extracurricular activities. I miss walks to campus in the sun. I miss learning from my professors and classmates twice a week. These are just to name a few.
In all honesty, it took me a while to let this sink in. To realize the end of my semester was not what I expected and that daily life looks different for everyone now. As finals approach, I feel overwhelmed, but I know being glued to my desk and studying isn’t everything. Praying for the unknown future is hard, even when all I have to do is trust Him.
But I think this time has been good for me too, for all of us. It’s allowed us to reconnect with others in new ways. It’s been a while since my whole family sat around the same table together. It has encouraged me to reach out to others I’ve been wanting to call. Most importantly, it’s given me the opportunity to be with Jesus. It has given me the space to focus on my relationship with Him and listen for His voice.
Below is a list of things that have brought me peace over these last few weeks.
My Joy List
1. Prayer has given me hope. Starting my day like at school by reading my devotional and praying has encouraged me to put my trust in Him. After my mission trip, I started to miss holy hour, so sometimes I’ll “go to Adoration” with the Catholify app. Being able to see Jesus in the monstrance (even though it did not look the same as being in a church) gave me something to focus on and be less distracted. Other times, I’ll pray the rosary and set a different prayer intention for each decade. Praying and growing with others in my virtual Bible study has also been a blessing.
2. My family has given me love. Being able to reconnect with each of them in between studying, working out with them, or over dinner has helped me relax. They’re kind, generous, and love me well.
3. Music has taken me back to different adventures I went on with people I can’t connect with in person right now. In hearing those lyrics I’m able to relive the moment and smile. It has also allowed me to hear the way God speaks to us in this time of need.
My Current Favorites:
- Sleep in the Storm by Unspoken
- Abba by John Mark Pantana
- I Will by Citizen Way
- Dancing on the Waves by We The Kingdom
- STILL by Rend Collective
- 17 by Chris Renzema
- You’re the Only One by Chris Renzema
- Run to the Father by Matt Maher
- O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship
- Do it Again by Elevation Worship
- Rescue by Lauren Daigle
- Pieces by Steffany Gretzinger
- Like I Promised by S. Martin
- Scars by S. Martin
- You Will Find Me by Andrew Ripp
4. Video chats with my spring break group and Young Life friends have given me joy. I miss each person on these teams so much. They are caring, hilarious, and show me Christ. Being able to laugh with them again made my mouth sore from smiling. I am so thankful we are still working to serve others together, make disciples, and lead each other to Christ during this time.
5. Reading at night is something I have reserved for home since I started college. As everyone goes to bed, I’ll stay awake for as long as my eyes will allow to sneak in a chapter. Once college began, coming home has always given me moments to relax. So even when I’m in the middle of prepping for finals season, reading helps me rest.
This time is hard, sad, and the future is unknown. But praise God for those fighting on the frontlines and who continue to work for others. Praise Him for the way He has blessed us and those around us. Keep looking for the little ways the Lord is moving throughout your day. In a world of uncertainty, He is forever consistent. We’re going to get through this because our God is bigger than all of it.