Tips for Livin’ La Vida Post Grad/Kate/Alumni

It’s been two years since I graduated from CNU, one year being filled with completing my teaching degree and the next year completing a leadership development program called the Raleigh Fellows Program.

I’m getting real here, life after college is daunting. Here’s what I envisioned my life would be like before entering the post college arena: I always imagined that I would meet the man of my dreams in college, get married after we graduated, move to a lovely city with farmer’s markets and festivals, and hang out with the friends we made at our perfect church.

That’s what I believed to be the next step in life, my dream life.  This was not my reality.

As I finished my master’s year, I had heard about the Fellows Program from other CNU folk who had either gone through the program or knew someone who had. After talking with them and praying about it, I committed my next year to one unique and significant year of growth for me personally, professionally, and spiritually. While I could spend copious amounts of time here sharing how the Lord tested me and stretched me, there are three big takeaways I learned, that I hope encourage you, as you begin this “daunting” life after college.

  • Life after college looks different for everyone. Don’t get caught up like I did in what is expected of you or what you think is the “right” step to take after college. Don’t worry about trying to fit whatever mold you think is right. Instead, listen to the Lord. Be in tune to what you believe he is leading you to, whether it is graduate school, marriage, missions, or a job. Don’t feel pressured to choose a path that you think you’re with for the rest of your life. You might not have an ideal job right after college. And that’s ok! God is using all things for your good and His glory. Rejoice in where he has you and don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Find a church. With all of the options and possibilities, you might think, “Is there another church that better fits my needs?” I encourage you to find a Bible believing church, try a couple, choose one, STICK WITH IT, and get involved in a ministry. I’ve heard this method referred to as the Pick-and-Stick. I used to approach finding a church based on fitting my needs rather than serving the Lord in community with God’s people. And sometimes you may find that you are the one to create community. If it’s not there, the Lord can use you to be a catalyst in creating a community that glorifies the Lord, is welcoming, and of course, fun! Instead of asking yourself, “Does this church fit my needs? “, ask, “Does this church bring glory to God?”*
  • Find a mentor. This can be scary when you graduate from college. With awesome accountability found in para-church organizations like Cru, we had it at our fingertips. I even had the luxury of the Fellows Program placing me with a wonderful mentor at the church I attended. Now, we’re out in the world. Once you find a church, I encourage you to seek out a mentor; someone of the same gender, who is older than you. And it may take time. It doesn’t happen often that a woman will approach you and say, “You look like you could use a mentor!” It’s up to you, girl. Pray for the Lord to lead you. He will. It may take time to find the mentor. And even once you do, life might not always allow you to meet weekly, but pursue a relationship with a mentor that can be as consistent as possible. You will find that you can learn so much about God and His grace through each other’s experiences and stories and their insight into yours.

I hope the lessons that I learned will help you as you continue the story of your life that God has perfectly prepared for you. I hope you find grace, peace, and joy in the Lord. I’ll close out with one of my favorite verses.

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” [Zephaniah 3:17]

 

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I graduated from CNU with a bachelor’s in Studio Art and a Master of Arts in Teaching. I will be teaching 2nd grade in the fall in Harrisonburg, VA. My favorite things include discovering new music, playing pick-up volleyball, poorly performing our rendition of Riverdance with my sisters (yes, we still do this when we are together), seeing kids create art, watching BBC mini-series, and eating ample amounts of grapefruit. My talents also include quoting Mulan and The Parent Trap in their entirety.

 

 

 

For Times When Jesus Lets Things Crumble…/Sarah/VCU

ESFJ is my Myers Briggs. For those of you who know about these magical letters and love them, you know what that means. For those of you who do not (**giving you a sassy/shocked look in my mind**), this is what it means- being the personality of “ESFJ”, I love to have control, order, and stability. I enjoy knowing what is going to happen and I feel secure and comfortable in that. Over the last year, the Lord in His loving kindness has graciously tossed that idea out of the window. Life now is not ever what I dreamed it would look like. It’s been a hard year, but a sweet year.

Let me take a poll. How many of you have answered the following or a variation of the following question: “So what are your plans for the future/after graduation/next year/ (any given timeframe)?”

**everyone raises their hand**

I don’t think anyone gets through college without being asked that question a few (billion) times. If you have, God bless you and you are a rarity. A year ago I had a pretty solid answer for that beloved/hated question. I could have confidently told you a loose timeline of the next 2-10 years and how I thought life was going to be like. Now? Girl, I have no idea.

Our culture and even our own personalities thrive on knowing what we’re doing and having a plan. We don’t usually like to be clueless or uncertain. We like to be comfortable. We like to have a plan and usually… we like our plan the most. I know I liked mine. Yet, in this past year the Lord has given and taken away and mixed everything all up in the process. In this year He has left me with more question marks than answers and He has shattered my dreams. My dreams and my plans are totally ruined because of Him. He wrecked my comfort and my confidence in my planning. (Love you though, Jesus. Promise I am getting to the good part, just wait.)

I have learned that sometimes He takes our plans and He lets them crumble. He lets our hearts be broken. He lets our hopes be let down. He lets our bubbles pop. And He lets our dreams be shattered, all because He loves us and He knows what is best for us. When this happens, we are confronted with questions like: Is following Jesus worth it? Is He alone enough? Why would He let ____ happen? Why would He allow ____? Do I really, reaaaaaally have to trust Him with my life?

The answers to the previous questions are- yes, yes and yes. I have asked myself all of those questions in this year and more. I have struggled, really struggled with asking, Is Jesus and His plan better than mine? Again, the answer is yes. He wants what is best for us and He knows that He, Himself is what is best. Most times it takes being out of control to show us Who is in control. Let
me tell you, it is not a fun process. Tears, anger, anxiety and doubt may bubble up when things don’t go as we have planned them. In those times we
either fall to our knees or turn our backs. Through this year I have learned many lessons in this, let me share a few of them…580fb9e43ddb75f59f98ecde1a093c9e

  1. God is good. God is good. God is good. He swaps out our good plans for His better ones. His ways are higher and He remains good no matter the circum
    stances. Psalm 100:5 says, ‘For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.’
  2. He is faithful. He is faithful to keep His promises. He didn’t just start being faithful to us either, it’s not a new thing He just started doing. Look at scripture and see His faithfulness. In Genesis, God calls Abraham out from his country into an unknown land to be the father of a multitude of nations who fears and loves the Lord. God is fa
    ithful to uphold His covenant of blessings and provision. In Exodus, God calls Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and as we read, we see that once again God is faithful. Ultimately we can look to the cross and see He was
    faithful to complete the work of redeeming us and reconciling us to Himself. The list can go on and on. If we trust Him with our salvation, may we trust Him with our future all the more?
  3. The word of God is our sure foundation. Things change, people change and our plans change but God’s word stays the same. Isaiah 40:8 says, ‘The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.’
    Scripture shows us God’s character, His grace, His pursuit of people, His love for us, His wrath, His justice, His goodness. It corrects us and encourages us. It gives us a new outlook and shows us our purpose. We may not know what we are doing 6 months or 6 years from now but God’s word is the same yesterday, today and will be tomorrow.
  4. Jesus is better. We may not be happy with where He’s leading us and there may be emotions that need to be worked through as He’s guiding us, but my sweet friend, there is joy in knowing you are exactly where He wants you to be. Happiness can be so fleeting but true joy comes in knowing you are following after Jesus. He is better, even when it doesn’t always feel like it.
  5. He gives us our daily bread and enough manna to live through the day. What in the world, you may ask? Check out Exodus 16. After Moses led the Israelites into the wilderness, they are hungry and quite grumpy…’hangry’ as some may say. We see God’s provision for them as He provides manna each morning. It was enough to get them through the day, nothing more and nothing less. He provides the same way for us now. Thankfully most of us don’t have to collect our cereal from the streets every morning, but we do need surrender each day to the Lord, asking Him for enough strength, wisdom and grace for the day ahead. Just one day. Not tomorrow or the next year, but just enough for today.

So, we may still awkwardly laugh and say “I don’t know” when people ask of our plans, but we can have confidence in these five things. He takes our dreams and plans, potentially lets them shatter, but only so that He can put the pieces back together to make something more beautiful than we could ever dream. Trust me, He is good. He is faithful. He is better. He is enough. And knowing Him and being more dependent on Him is always worth it.

 

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Hello sweet friends! I am one of the many Sarahs of this world. Next May I will graduate from VCU with my degree in psychology and minor in religious studies. I am thankful for Cru, running, Jesus, cookie dough and YOU! Thanks for letting me share a little bit of my heart with you and how I have learned that Jesus is always better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Me Anything/Corinne/Alumni

I am so honored and so excited that Brooke has asked me to write this post today. I have to admit, I have found myself at a loss for words. I have found myself questioning what in the world do I have to offer? What wisdom do I have? I graduated college two years ago, I’ve been married for just over nine months and most days I feel like my life is a tornado that keeps spinning in circles and I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground. Then I reminded myself that this is not about me or the knowledge I have to share with you. It’s about Jesus and the way that He is using my crazy life to hopefully encourage you today.

I mentioned that I’ve been married for just over nine months. They have been some of the best nine months of my life and I am so grateful for my husband and the way he leads our marriage. That being said, they have also been some of the most challenging months of my life. I have seen the tragedy and horror of the death of a close family friend. I have seen the pure miracle of life being brought into this world, when at times it seemed impossible. I have seen the excitement and joy of new friendships, but I have also felt the pain as old ones have faded away. I guess you could say that I have been made very aware of the reality of being an “adult”.

rain-on-windowI was driving home from work recently after a somewhat stressful day. I had just found out that the family friend I mentioned earlier was living his last days on this earth and my world seemed to be falling to pieces. A song came on the radio at what was probably the perfect time. It’s an older Christian song, but as it played I found myself singing along and I knew every single word. This time hearing it was different somehow. I paid close attention to the words and they hit my heart in a new way. The song is called “Bring the Rain” by Mercy Me. If you have a few minutes, I strongly encourage you to look up the lyrics or listen, but for the sake of time, I’m going to quote the chorus. It says, “Bring me joy, bring peace, bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings you glory. And I know there will be days when this life brings me pain, but if that’s what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain.” Whoa. Bring me anything that brings you glory.

Those words really struck me in a way that is hard to describe, but I began to wonder, what does it look like when I pray for God to bring me any circumstance, as long as it brings Him glory. Then, what does it look like when I allow Him to be glorified through whatever it is He brings me? That’s kind of a scary thing to pray and ask God for, but again, it made me wonder, how is God glorified in the sickness and death of my friend? How is God glorified in my marriage and my friendships? How is God glorified in the time spent in my car commuting almost an hour to and from work each day? The list could go on and on.

There are so many things in my life that I tend to look at as monotonous, time-consuming, and burdensome. There are also things that I find joyful and awesome. But how can I glorify God through ALL of those situations, not just the joyful ones. I don’t have the answer for you, because quite frankly, I’m still figuring it all out myself. The advice I do have for you, however, is to truly seek how you can be glorifying God through every situation in your life, no matter how big or small, stressful or joyful, because I can promise you that it will change your perspective towards your circumstances and the people around you. So whether you are working away your summer at the local mom-and-pop restaurant, or living out all of your wildest dreams, know that God has given you these opportunities to bring Him the glory that He more than deserves.

 

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/sean-and-corinne-wedding

 
Hi! My name is Corinne Robertson and I am a very proud alumni of CNU. I graduated two years ago with a degree in Psychology, but now I run a mobile coffee shop and bakery called The Mix House with two of my three my sisters! It was always our family dream to own a coffee shop/bakery and now we get to live that dream each and every day. I live in the backwoods of Essex County with my husband, Sean. We met through Cru at CNU and were both the Outreach Leader at one point. I went on Summer Mission with Cru to Melbourne, Australia and it was the best summer of my life. I have a big heart for the ministry of Cru and for reaching college students all across the world. Sean and I don’t have any kids or pets, but I cannot wait for the day when we have a pet pig!

P.S. That picture is of me and my mom. I want to be her when I grow up! [photo credit: Katelyn James Photography]