The professor who taught one of my favorite Bible classes––Jesus’ Life and Ministry–– at Biola, Dr. Lunde, repeated this statement throughout his class: “Having been graced by the servant, the disciple follows the King, inevitably emulating the servant.” He always asked us to look at Jesus’ life as a servant and ask how we can live in light of God’s grace in our lives today. I’m not sure about my peers, but this definitely resonated with my heart because I experienced immense grace from God this past semester.
I was about 94 pounds back in May this year when I went home for the summer. At that point, I had to meet a strict list of requirements from the student care department if I wanted to return for the fall 2017 semester. If you asked me then, I couldn’t truthfully say I would return for my last semester of undergrad. Only two weeks later, however, I already gained about five pounds––thanks to my mom’s home cooking and my constantly sleeping from depletion after all I endured that semester. Within a month, I was already 105 pounds and started swimming again. When I stepped on campus in August, I was 115 pounds. That’s a 20-pound difference over three months. Wow. God is so good. As of this month, I’ve finally gained back all 35 pounds I lost.
In light of my overcommitment last year, I decreased this year’s commitments, at first: fewer work hours, only editing and writing for Marked Ministry Magazine, playing for Symphonic Winds and maintaining this blog. Well, ambition took over and I committed to much more: 30 or more hours of work a week, an internship, freelance writing for the student magazine, serving with my church, videotaping senior presentations for my department, and becoming a PRSSA member. On top of all the aforementioned.
I’m actually surprised I didn’t go insane. Although I lost motivation for work and didn’t sleep much some nights, I still pulled off great grades, had a pretty good energy level, and spent time with friends. I think I only lost my sanity once or twice, so I’m still amazed that I got through this semester far easier than last semester, albeit I didn’t have the same health struggles.
I used to eat a gluten-free, low-starch, low-acid, and simple protein diet. I gave up coffee for a while, anything with tomatoes, citrus, chocolate, etc; Now? I can eat anything––donuts, bagels, pizza, salads with lots of raw vegetables, nuts, and everything that was difficult to digest before. Plus, I can eat full-sized meals. Before, I could barely eat a small chicken breast, a small side of rice, and broccoli.
God is awesome.
I not only graduated with great grades this semester (even though I was disappointed with the one B plus I had because I tried very hard in that particular class), but I was inducted into Epsilon Kappa Epsilon––Biola’s baccalaureate honor society. I told the professor who inducted me that I wanted to cry at that moment. I felt like I didn’t deserve it––and then God said, Child. I’m proud. Receive my peace and grace. I’m forever grateful for this award.
I’ll admit, I was disappointed at first when I found out I only graduated magna cum laude––I had a 3.88 GPA, just barely short of the 3.90 I needed for summa cum laude status. I kept replaying last semester––I only needed a B plus instead of a B in my Theology II class. Then I thought, well, I can beat myself up over this, or I can thank God I made it through last semester with decent grades and still graduated. I still graduated with honors cords and, as my dad reminded me, most students in my place would have dropped out. They wouldn’t have bounced back from such a devastating health crisis.
I thank my department chair, Dr. Welter, my fellow journalism friend, Alyssa, and my parents for convincing me to stay. Without them, graduation would remain a distant dream.
God’s covenant reminder
Dr. Lunde taught us about the New Covenant and reminded us that we experience his unending grace each day––but we must remain conscious of his blessings. This observation made me ponder how God has remained faithful to me amid the chaos I’ve endured.
If you know me well or have kept up with my blog, you’ve probably noticed my gray hairstreak. People always ask me if I’ll dye it, but I won’t. One reason is it’ll just grow back gray, the other is because it’s God’s little covenant reminder to me.
Someone once told me, It’s like God kissed your head. It’s God’s little gift to you. Indeed. At 92 pounds, I should have been hospitalized last year. Yet, somehow, I endured 18 units (although I later switched an elective to an audit), walked around campus, went to three or four different doctors appointments and met with the student care director each week, and worked 25 hours a week. It should have been humanly impossible. I honestly give God all the credit. I know these accomplishments were not a result of my own strength.
Even better, I applied to the Talbot School of Theology last April and received my acceptance letter in June. Not only did I graduate, I’m going to grad school next month for an MA in Pastoral Care and Counseling! Woohoo! So, how does this degree connect to journalism?
First, I can write about theological topics and publish them in magazines like Relevant or Christianity Today, but more specifically I’d like to become a part-time worship leader and church counselor. I’m most interested in marital counseling because I’m an empath and have an odd ability to get inside people’s heads––so I’m great at seeing both sides of an argument. On the note of covenant, marriage is a covenant God emphasizes because it helps us understand Christ’s relationship with his bride––the church, us. It breaks my heart to see so many Christians and non-Christians alike separate because their partner doesn’t make them happy. That’s an indication of an even greater problem––soul sickness.
Caring for souls is another reason I want to become a counselor. I see so many people carrying burdens by themselves and falling away from God because their hearts are so broken. Until someone guides them back to God, who can heal their soul, they’ll keep experiencing that numbness. I want to point these people back to God and care for their souls––who they are, their emotions, their inner person. Who God created them as.
I look forward to places God will take me this upcoming year and the incredible doors he’ll open. I hope my life emulates the servant king’s and points people back to Christ. He’s remained faithful and I know if I trust him, he always has my back.