You graduated high school and you are starting college at Texas A&M University in three short months. You’re packing up to move into a new dorm in College Station where new adventures, new memories, new people await.
When you graduated from high school and walked the stage, you thought you knew. But you didn’t. You didn’t know.
You’re anxious about leaving home, not knowing what it will be like to live three hours away from your family. You’re excited for what is to come, and sad for what is to leave behind.
You’ll watch your family as they drive away, leaving you to start a clean slate as a college freshman. A wave of loneliness, fear, and excitement will wash over you.
You feel like an adult being 18, like the world is in your hands. You’ll want to fit in, in any way you can.
Join a sorority, check.
Make friends, check.
Try to be social while also trying to make good grades while also trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, check.
Drink lots of coffee and energy drinks late at night to keep studying, check.
You will try to impress people with titles, talents, and intelligence. You’re going to put a lot of your worth in what they think of you.
You’ll have nights where everything feels right, and nights where everything feels like it’s falling apart.
You will experience deep sadness and immense joy.
You will meet people who will become lifelong friends, and wonder how you’ve gone your whole life up until now without knowing them.
Four years will go by quickly. At points you’ll wish time would hurry up, at times you’ll wish it would slow down.
Four years later, you’ll look back and see one constant thing.
Through all the change and emotions and late nights and early mornings and tears and laughter, you will see God.
Holding you. Reminding you that you aren’t alone. Wiping the tears from your eyes. Telling you time and time and time again that He loves you, that His opinion of you is the only one that matters.
You’ll notice Him in those nights in the library by yourself with a Starbucks in hand, sitting by you giving you energy and strength.
You’ll see Him on the couch of your house at home. Sprained ankle, broken heart, sleepless eyes, wondering if life would get better, easier soon. He will be there. Sitting beside you, hugging you tightly. Letting you cry, and telling you it will get better.
You’ll find Him when you’re running, when you forget about your worries and embrace the moments. Listening to music, letting your mind roam free.
Meredith, look for Him in people. He will reveal Himself to you through the people He places along your journey. Some will be there at the beginning, but not at the end. Some will be there at the end, but weren’t in the beginning. Some will be there the whole time.
But no matter what, each person will have a purpose, just as you do in their lives. Remember that. Sometimes people leave, sometimes they stay- but He will never leave.
You’re going to have really good days where the sky is blue and the grass is green. You’ll have days that you feel like you’re flying. He’ll celebrate with you.
You’ll have days that are really bad, where you cry a lot and your mascara smears. You’ll desperately cry out to God, not knowing where else to go. He’ll listen.
You’ll have in-between days, that aren’t good or bad, but normal. Where you wake up, live life, and thank God along the way for what He’s given you, and go to sleep.
Four years later, you’ll look back and see your freshman self. Naive to the world around her, innocent to the hard things in life, yearning for love, to love, to be loved.
Big, brown eyes that will crave for more, a pounding heart and wandering soul that won’t be satisfied with what’s in front of her.
During these four years, darling, you’ll realize you weren’t made for this world, but something much greater.
But right now, it feels like everything.
The dark times in these years will feel like storms where you can barely breathe. It will feel like you’re stranded on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean, dark skies, struggling to stay afloat.
Looking back, you will see Jesus walking on the water to rescue you. Calling your name, “Meredith, Meredith,” but you won’t hear. The waves will be too loud, the sounds of the storm and the lies filling your ears.
But when you finally look up and see Him there, you’ll realize that He was there the whole time. Fighting for you every second of every day. You’ll be brought to your knees. He will kneel too, until you’re ready to stand.
Four years later, you will realize you wouldn’t be the woman you are today without those times. That indeed, in the times you were weak, God’s strength shined through.
You’ll have times where you sprint in the other direction from His love. Letting yourself be blown in the wind like a tumbleweed, tossed this way and that way.
God will catch you. Every time, He will catch you.
Here you are, about to graduate college and walk the stage for a second time, embarking on the next adventure. You think you know, but you really don’t.
Someday, you’ll get to a place that when you were younger, you thought you’d finally know.
Perhaps you imagine yourself sitting in a rocking chair, sipping a cup of tea with your husband of however any many years reminiscing on the good ol’ days, but I don’t think you’ll know then either.
I think that’s the point, the root of it all. The point is that we’re not supposed to know.
We’re supposed to take one day at a time, remind those we love that we love them and never let them forget.
Laugh really hard, work the hardest that you can, do our best. Give ourselves grace. Accept God’s grace when we stumble and fall, and do it again the next day.
Each day remembering that our home is not in this world, that home is in eternity. But making the most out of this beautiful, tragic, wonderful, crazy life that we’re living.
I think that’s the point, darling. We’re not supposed to know all the answers.
We’re not supposed to know why heartbreak hurts so bad or love feels so good. Or why we just wanted to be accepted and loved, why humans long for something more.
When you are afraid, or feeling lonely at times during these next four years, remember this:
Matthew 28:20 “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Never forget Whose you are. Always remember that grace abounds, that there is always tomorrow.
Dance a lot. Cherish the people by your side. Live in the moments and breathe in the air.
Work really hard, it will make you feel proud. But don’t do it for people, do it for the glory of God.
It’s okay to laugh if you are really happy, or cry if you are sad. It’s okay to feel confused, and it is okay to feel lonely. It’s okay to not understand.
Four years fly by before you know it. Your life will change all around you, you will change.
God won’t. He will be your Rock, your Foundation, your Shelter, your Healer. Run to Him, and tell others of His unconditional love for them too, of the freedom that comes with the hope of believing.
Take a deep breath. You’re going to make it, you’re going to graduate.
It’s not the beginning or the end that you’ll remember the most. It’s the in-between, spontaneous nights with your roommates at 1 a.m., or staying up late at a coffee shop writing a paper, screaming your lungs out at a football game because that’s what Aggies do. It’s the singing songs of praise at church that bring tears to your eyes, falling in love with Jesus more and more every day you are alive, that will stick with you.
One day, maybe all of it will make sense. Maybe all of the bits and pieces will fall into place and you’ll realize why that thing happened or that thing didn’t.
But for now, roll the windows down, turn up the music, and enjoy the ride.