When God Has Other Plans

When God Has Other Plans

It'll Be Okay, I Promise.

When I first embarked on the college application process, I remember this one particular college really spoke to me: it had exactly what I wanted as a major, it was small, private, and it was far away enough that I would have to dorm, but close enough that I could come home for holidays. After touring the school for the first time during an open house, I remember telling myself, “this is where I want to be."

After that day, I was in love with the school. I really did my homework on what it would be like to attend it, and I applied to the school as soon as I could. In fact, the application to that school was the first one I did; ironically, the application for Merrimack was the one that I did last. The day that I got that acceptance letter, I was ecstatic. I told literally everybody who would listen, and I was already imagining myself going there and having the time of my life. Everything seemed right in the world, and I felt like I had my life going the exact way that I wanted it to.

However, I couldn’t afford to go there. Deep in my mind, I knew this, and I just didn’t want to admit it. As previously mentioned, I would need to dorm there for all four years because it's not close enough to commute to, which would be an extra couple grand that I wouldn’t be able to cut. Tuition was already extremely expensive there, and I would be saddled with debt for most likely my whole life if I chose to go there. After a long, depressing talk with my parents, we agreed that I would be financially better off going elsewhere.

It hurt knowing I wouldn't be going to my top school. I loved that school so much, and I truly felt that I would be an alum from there one day. I know now that not going was the right choice for me financially, but at the time it really sucked. Although I was really good at hiding it, I was hurt.

In the end, I committed to Merrimack for a whole host of reasons, including the reasons that I liked the other college, and looking back on it I definitely feel that God wanted me here all along. I absolutely love my college, the friends I’ve made, and I honestly wouldn’t go to my former favorite school if I was given the financial option to.

If God seems to have other plans than what you wanted, don’t worry. Sure, it might suck for a bit, but at the end of the day, he truly has a greater plan for all of us, whether it be academic or personal. Basically, if things don’t go your way, that’s okay. It happens to all of us.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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For The First Time In Years, I Went To Church

I finally came back home.

My mom made me promise her one thing when I went off to college, to keep going to church. I rolled my eyes and mumbled "yeah, yeah, yeah." I had always heard about people losing their way in college and never understood it or thought it would happen to me. But it did.

Well, coming to a new city and leaving behind the familiar community of your home church was what did for me.

I couldn't bring myself to go somewhere new all by myself, it just wasn't the same. I tried a few times, but it never really stuck. So, somewhere along the way, Sundays became my sleep-in days. I felt guilty about it for a while and then there were weeks that I forgot Sundays were meant to be the Lord's day.

So, I found myself around people who were a good time, but faith was never a topic and I honestly to this day I don't know what they believe. I went through the typical college phase of partying. Most people from back home probably think I went off the rails, which looking back I kinda did. It was a shock for me coming to college and the fact that I no longer had a strong relationship with God definitely impacted me.

In the midst of it all, I lost my dad. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through.

He was there one day and gone the next. My dad was a man of God. He served in the church, read his Bible regularly and never missed a Sunday morning service. I know he's in Heaven and is still here with me, but at the time, I hated everything. It was felt like a really bad dream and I would wake up with him still here. I didn't blame God, but I did get angry. I pushed a lot of people away and broke down almost every day. There are still days that it hits me HARD, especially with my graduation in a few months.

Since then, I've been more lost than ever before.

I've struggled more than I ever imagined that I would. But, recently I've been working on myself and bringing myself back to someone that I'm proud to be. I wanted to be the kind of person that my mom and dad wanted me to be and raised me to be - God was a part of that.

This past weekend I completely broke down. I started sobbing.

I knew it was time to go back to church. I've felt God tugging at me for weeks and I finally faced it. I called my mom crying and she encouraged me to reach out to a friend. So, I texted a close friend who has been trying to get me to go with her to church and she was so excited to have me come with her on Sunday.

Sunday morning came and I was SO nervous. I was scared, I hadn't been to church for almost 4 years and I didn't know what to do with myself. It was weird at first, driving into the parking lot, but there was so much familiarity with it. I had so many flashbacks to memories of my church back home, of my dad and of the life that I used to be a part of. As I walked up to the entrance, I got more and more nervous and I honestly felt out of place. It was so weird to feel the distance from God and not knowing what to do.

I made it through the whole service until the very end when I just completely lost it.

I started crying. Everything that was said hit home with me and I felt God for the first time in a long time. I was home.

It's the start of a new chapter in my life and I'm so excited. I've never felt so motivated to grow in my faith and have a strong relationship with God. I'm so grateful to have this second chance with Him and I know my dad is up in Heaven smiling down on me that I've come back home. My mom is so happy that I've decided to get in touch with my faith, sending me passages and devotionals.

God has a plan and he's been working on mine.

The last couple of months I've grown close to the most amazing and kind ladies that have opened up my heart and brought me back to the Lord. I'm so thankful that He put them in my life and I can't wait to see what He's got in store for me.

Cover Image Credit: Marcos Luiz

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The Challenge Of Christian Practice

It's the responsibility of the Christian to be respectful, kind, and loving to all people regardless of their beliefs.

I believe that the biggest challenge in the life of a Christian is not in knowing what they are supposed to do, but how they do it. Christians know they are supposed to stand against wrong and uphold what is right. This often places the Christian in an unsettling position opposing many people in the culture around them. While Christians are called to oppose what is against their worldview, many of them choose not to because they will be deemed uncivilized, perhaps racist or intolerant. Many Christians just simply back down and ignore what they believe, while others make deplorable attempts to stand up against those same things. In the society we live in, if we want genuine equality, freedom to practice what we believe, and liberty to express ourselves how we would like to, we must acknowledge that there will be people that oppose how we believe. There will always be people who don’t like us, and we [society as a whole] should respect that.

This is something that I believe that many of the Christian people have failed to recognize. It is the responsibility of the Christian to be respectful, kind, and loving to all people regardless of their beliefs or lack thereof. Likewise, the rest of society must acknowledge that the Christian people have their own convictions and should not be forced to go against what their conscience dictates. We must all be tolerant of each other without compromising our beliefs or asking others to compromise their beliefs. I, as a Christian, find it very disheartening when I am watching the news, surfing Twitter, or happen to overhear how people mistreat each other. The maliciousness from person to person is absurd. I believe the worst part is perhaps the way that many blatant Christians are portrayed through their spiteful and thoughtless words.

Christians take a lot of flak for being “hypocrites.” I have noticed, from working in a non-Christian environment for 8 years, that this is a very common thought. It happens that I work in the town of the largest Christian University in the world, and even I, a fellow Christ follower, have fallen subject to this thinking. Obviously, it does not help the case when an individual wearing school paraphernalia walks in and curses and swears because you are not allowed to help how he wants you to help. This just happens to be one instance in the last few weeks that I have dealt with.

This goes without saying for both sides, we should be respectful, regardless of perspectives, and Christians must take a step further and be respectful even in disagreement. This article isn’t necessarily written for changing anyone, (if it does, so be it,) if not, perhaps next time you are tempted to cuss out that employee across the counter at Home-Depot, send a disrespectful message, or publish a hateful tweet, you might rethink and redevelop what you are about to say.

I think that we should always remember what the philosopher Plato said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”(BrainyQuotes, 2018)

So, no matter what your affiliations may be, keep in mind that you should take a minute, even five minutes, to rethink what you might’ve said in the heat of the moment. If you feel that what you have to say is wise and beneficial for other readers, find a respectful and heartfelt way to articulate your perspective. We all have opinions and need to learn how to better express them.

Cover Image Credit: Samuel Ryan King

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