#thankful (Laura)

I had my alarm set for 7 a.m. this morning but at 6 a.m. I shot straight up in bed, wide-awake.  This took me by complete surprise considering I typically snooze my alarm for 15 minutes every morning. I am so thankful though. I got out of bed and went for a run as the sun was coming up. It was a beautiful morning! Though the hustle and bustle of lots of people gives me energy, there is also something so peaceful about my footsteps echoing in the middle of the streets in a quiet downtown.
So though I may have enjoyed an extra hour of sleep, I found myself giving praise to God for waking me early to see the beauty of the sunrise and to spend time praising Him. I’m thankful for the beautiful weather and the reminder of new life in spring flowers. I’m grateful for visitors and people filling my apartment while my husband is gone. I’m grateful for being in a new city and I am learning to choose to praise God for the situations that take me out of my comfort. In everything, God is good. How often though I go through the busyness of life and do not slow down to remember all the reasons I have to be thankful?
If you are like me, Monday can sometimes determine the tone for my entire week. So why not start this week by giving thanks in all circumstances. After all, as my husband always reminds me, our greatest prayer has already been answered—Jesus paid for the consequence of all our sin so that we can know our Creator personally. So, what are you thankful for today? What will keep you singing His praises as the evening comes?
“The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes”

–10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman

A Saturday {Senior} Story- Corinne, CNU

Over the next 4 Saturdays you will be hearing from 4 different graduating Tidewater Cru senior girls! We are so excited for them to share their heart & thoughts on life in college!  
  

 Hi Tidewater Cru Ladies! My name is Corinne Beale and I am a senior at CNU this year. Brooke asked me to write a quick little blog post to share some thoughts on my college experience with you all. I could probably write a short novel on this about things that have been great and mistakes that I have made. However, I am going to try to keep it brief! I thought I would just share with you three practical tips that I have learned from experience and hopefully they will challenge and encourage you:

  Keep God first. I know this may sound cliché and typical, but it is seriously so important. If I have learned anything through my college experience, it is that keeping God the absolute, number one priority in your life is the most important thing anyone can do. Make time for Him. Better yet, rather than trying to squeeze Him in to your schedule, let Him be a part of all that you do. Be consistent in spending time in the Word and listening to the Lord. Let all that you do be honoring and glorify to the Lord, and I can promise you that all of your stress, anxiety, and worry will be lifted.

    Reach out to non-believers.  Again, I know this may sound cliché, but this is something that I wish I had taken more advantage of during my time in college. While Christian community is so incredibly important, it is equally important that we reach out to the students, and even professors, on our campuses that don’t know the joy of having a relationship with the Lord. We are constantly surrounded by so many people throughout the day, so why not take a chance and ask someone about their spiritual journey? I know it can be awkward and uncomfortable, but when we think about all that Christ has done for us, this is the least we can do to show Him how grateful we are for His love and sacrifice.

  HAVE FUN!! It is so easy to get caught up in the stress of school, work, and other daily hassles. I can promise you, however, that before you know it, your four years will be almost gone and you may wish that you had really taken time to invest in the lives of those around you. I’m not saying skip class and don’t do your homework, although, I may have done that a time or two (whoops!), but definitely make time for friends, be spontaneous, and really enjoy your college experience. This is such a unique time in your life, so definitely take advantage of the community that you are surrounded with.
I hope that in some way, shape or form, this has encouraged you or motivated you to love others more. Know that I speak from a place of experience. In no way am I an expert at any of these things, but ultimately, my challenge to you is to let your life and all that you do be fully captivated by the love of Christ, and many of these things will come naturally alongside of that. Lastly, I wanted to share one of my favorite Bible verses with you, hoping that it will encourage and inspire you more than own my words can:

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

Lessons Learned Since Graduating College, Part One of Three (Meg)

Lessons Learned Since Graduating College, Part One
also known as Hopping Off the Hamster Wheel and Landing in a Trash Can.

{Meg’s note: A few years ago, I graduated college and moved to a new city and had a pretty hard time adjusting to life. As the end of the semester/year/college experience for some of you approaches, I thought this might be applicable. This was originally posted on my friend’s blog who gathered thoughts from many different people in this stage of life. Feel free to check it out!}
I went to grad school immediately after undergrad. As in, the day that I graduated I got an email from a professor notifying me of homework I had due the next Monday.  My friends were moving out of the house we had lived in for two years and getting big kid jobs in new cities or new husbands whose big kid jobs were taking them to new cities.
I spent the year of grad school in a state of transition.  I was running really fast but not getting anywhere. My friends? Most of them had moved on; they were running on roads and arriving in actual destinations.  I was on a hamster wheel and they were on solid ground. Both of us were moving but one of us (me) wasn’t getting anywhere.
So as I graduated and got my first “big girl” job in a big city, I thought for sure my state of transition was coming to a close.  Finally, I thought, it’s my turn to get out there in the real world and really start my life.  Sure, I had heard people struggle during their first year out. But I had been out of undergrad for a year already and I had already struggled a little in my transition. So I would be fine, right?
Wrong.
It seems as though I had jumped off my hamster wheel and landed right into a pile of trash.  All the sudden, all the stability I had ever known was gone. It made me so delirious and so confused with reality, that I began asking myself all of the same questions that I thought I had already answered in college. Who am I? What am I doing here? Does this ever get better?
Along the way, I learned a few things. And I’m on the other side now. In an attempt to help you land more steadily on solid ground and less in a trash can, I’ve shared a few of my lessons learned below. Take them or leave them, but regardless of if your post-college life has been similar to mine or radically different, I hope you take hope in one thing: life goes on. For better or for worse. 
Lesson One: No One Warns You.
I don’t know about you, but when I was hitting my junior year of high school, everyone warned me about it. “It’s so hard!” “Good luck!” Even going to college I heard about how some college freshmen have a hard time with being away from home. I have come to realize that my freshman year was pretty unique and I was thrust into a bubble of bliss in a land where nothing ever seemed to go wrong. College was simply fun for me. My life changed and I became so much more of me than I thought was possible. I look back on my college years with fondness, imagining that every day was filled with sweet laughter and good friends. Everyone was just happy. All the time.  Of course, that’s not the reality, but my college experience is jaded with rose-colored glasses because, quite honestly, I loved being there. I loved that phase of life. I loved that chapter.
And as I inched closer and closer towards moving on, I cannot remember hearing anyone mention how hard it was afterwards. I had heard that some people had a hard year after graduation, but I thought that was due to not getting a job or having personal issues come up.  I thought I was in the clear.
And then August hit and I moved to a major US city and was thrown into the hustle and bustle of parking fees and toll roads, with a tight budget and no friends… and I realized: no one really warned me about this.  No one told me that I might hate my life. That I would long to be back with my friends, who were now sprawled all across the East Coast.  That I would have no idea what I was doing, ever, and that I would grow to even hate my GPS for needing to use it all the time.  That I was totally normal for having a hard time and for crying over getting lost… again.
In my first few days at my job, my boss kindly stated that the first few weeks don’t count. I agree. Maybe the first few months. Culture shock can do wonders, and looking back on that first month… it’s all a blur.  It was hard – in ways that I can’t even verbalize. I was grieving moving on and having to start a new life.  I was trying to navigate budgeting my new paycheck, learning my way around a new city, adjusting to new roommates and friends, and moving on, all at the same time.
Everything I knew was stripped away and I felt lonely. I kept thinking, Why did no one warn me? I really did feel like I had landed in a pile of trash. Everything stunk. I didn’t like my life, I didn’t like myself, and I really didn’t like that no one had warned me.  Maybe they did and I was too blissfully unaware of reality that I didn’t pay attention.  But regardless, I wasn’t prepared. 
Lesson Two: It Gets Better.
Not so quickly after learning lesson one, I eventually learned lesson two.  It gets better.  About a year (I know… yikes) after I moved to the new, big city, I felt like I was in a rhythm. I was in a routine.  Yes, other things outside of “Major Life Transition” were not going so well. But I was getting used to being on my own and to not particularly enjoying anything that was going on.  I was getting used to going to work every day, 40+ hours a week (man, how I missed having Fridays off… every semester… for like three years), and I had realized that keeping in touch with people who did know me and understood me helped me feel less alone.  And I prayed. A lot.
About a year in I realized I had real friends here. Friends who had grown to understand and get me.  I knew where the restaurants were that I liked, and I had explored and made fun memories with new people.  I took pictures, and learned back roads and short cuts places, and life was feeling more normal.  I still often longed for one night back together with my best friends in my college house where those walls held so many deep conversations and a lot of laughter.  But the reality was that I had come to see, and really love, my life post-college.
That initial shock has worn off now, and still my life is definitely far from bliss and gold-hued perfection.  But being honest about it being hard was helpful (so were the tissues that always needed to accompany the tears that came with the honesty), and eventually I began to hate my GPS less (because I didn’t need it), and things began to feel normal.
I’m not entirely sure how. It just did. It does get better – maybe in more or less time for you than it did for me, but it does.  There is hope.