It feels like I just moved into college yesterday—like my mom and dad just kissed me on the cheek and left me to unpack my life and my dreams in this tiny room. I remember there being nothing but excitement then, and excitement stayed for a long while; other emotions didn’t come until later.

Nearly two whole semesters have passed. I’ve walked the sidewalks, eaten the dining hall meals, and woken up for many an early class.

I’ve cried in loneliness, frustration, and thankfulness.

I’ve prayed in hope, disappointment, and confusion.

I’ve laughed in joy.

But mostly, I’ve been amazed time and time again by a God who is never slow to give me what I desperately need.

I think having a strong capacity and love for interpersonal connection is something I’ve been gifted with, and it’s the instrument God has used to show His provision for me in this year of hard transitions. Even when I felt alone, the groundwork for deep friendships was being laid. I couldn’t see it then, but I can see it now.

It makes me think of how a flower has to establish roots before it can grow and blossom. Nobody can really see the directions the roots are going or how fast they’re spreading, but they’re reaching out and fastening to all the right places.

First semester was root growth.

Second semester was an extravagant explosion of color and life, of friends and memories and grace on top of grace.

I reminisce with my sweet friends about our friendships all the time. It’s cool because they can see the roots now, too, like a slow-motion video someone took of a plant in a transparent pot. We laugh about our first encounters with each other and how we didn’t know just how close we would become.

One thing I’ve noticed about the friends I’ve made at college is that whether I was actively searching for them or not, they were all surprising to me. I guess sometimes you end up being best friends with the tall, funny girl you meet your first day on campus, and sometimes you share chocolate with a girl in your building and become friends that way, too.

And then there are still other times—like when a person you’ve only talked to once decides to come eat breakfast with you. All three turn into some really pretty flowers.

I never thought I’d make the dearest friends of my life in this first year of college, but by the grace of God, I have.

And I think that’s why I’m struggling to imagine my last days of this season, approaching all too quickly.

I really love the beautiful friendships that God has cultivated, yet I’m keenly aware that when seasons end, flowers have a chance of dying out.

I can easily admit I’m afraid of change and I’m afraid of loss. So leaving for the summer and not knowing what I’ll return to is kind of scary to me.

But in His goodness, the One who established beauty in this season will maintain it in the next. The flowers might look a bit different; perhaps some won’t be as big and vibrant, but it might turn out that what I thought were flowers this season were really just buds—just the beginning of deeply moving and abiding friendships.

With that promise as my roots, I’m choosing to finish my days as a college freshman in joy—eagerly awaiting the growth my gardner will bring, and praying I’ll continue to blossom, too.