Life Update!

I'm sure a lot of you have been wondering what I've been up to over the past year. Some of you know, most of you don't. So, I thought it'd be important to share what's been up! Because MAN... it's been a whirlwind. (That's the understatement of the year.)

Rewind to September 2017: I was starting my freshman year at Oregon State University. I was moving into House of Charis, a Christian women's house in Corvallis. I packed up my stuff and made the hour trek down with my parents and boyfriend, Michael. I was excited to major in Biology and go into the medical field. Mostly, I was excited to live in a house with 50 wonderful gals and my best friend and sister, Annika. 💗**A little background info before we go any farther: Five years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia/amplified pain syndrome. Basically, it's a condition that causes your body to have an abnormal response to pain in your nerves and muscles. It causes extreme muscle pain, fatigue, chronic headaches and migraines. It has been a journey trying different therapies, medications, exercise regimens etc.**

Anyway, the school year started with lots of Welcome Week and house activities. It was a fun, energetic and uplifting atmosphere at the House of Charis. I was making friendships with the girls and also the brother houses, Varsity and Antioch. (My older brother, Lee, lives in Varsity!) I was experiencing all the normal homesickness; I was missing my parents and especially my boyfriend who was now an hour away. Come Week 3, I suddenly got hit with a "flare up" of my fibromyalgia and I was in bed, unable to move and function for a week.All of that being said... The "fibro flare up" prompted these major questions: "Am I supposed to be going to school at OSU? Is this really where God wants me? Am I really supposed to be studying medicine?"After feeling a little better, I went back to school and throughout that week, continued wrestled with God about whether or not I should be there.

In the midst of that, God was putting church ministry on my heart as well. I had never thought about a career/future in ministry. My brother was always the one that everyone thought would be a great pastor! You could say I was say the least.After diligent prayer and seeking the Lord individually and with my family and friends, I came to the conclusion that I needed to step away from this part of my life. This all lead to my withdrawal from OSU and moving back home. Many tears were shed and it hurt every part of my soul to leave the House of Charis, new friends, my best friend and brother. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is what God wanted for my life right now... but it didn't make it any easier or less painful.The adjustment back home after living alone and at college was strange. The next few months were wrought with discouragement, sadness and feelings of failure. I felt like I had failed at college and life. I felt extreme embarrassment to tell anyone that I wasn't at college anymore. I hid away in my room and my sadness. It felt like I was hanging on by a thread with God, constantly having to pray for His help, which I now know is what He wanted.

Yet, with time and pressing into the Lord, things started to get better.I got a job at Nordstrom for the Christmas season and met some wonderful people. (Anyone that knows me, knows that I LOVE fashion and clothes.) I started getting involved in as many ministries at my church, Emmanuel Bible in Pratum. After leaving OSU, I knew that I should pursue what God had laid on my heart -- ministry! Serving Him! Along with trying children's ministry, I also got involved in a two year discipleship training program called ELLS (Equipping Leaders for a Lifetime of Service). God was opening doors and I kept trying as much as I could. There was still so much unknown. But there was also so much comfort in being at home with my loving parents, my boyfriend and many encouraging friends and family. God was providing a lot of opportunities for me.

Fast forward to today. If you've read this far, I commend you! Haha! It's not short! After prayer and meeting with many mentors, the Lord opened the door for me to apply to The Master's University and Seminary Online. Online is a wonderful option for me, considering my physical circumstances. I applied and was accepted a month later for the fall of 2018! I'm also very involved in ministries at my church, and that has been wonderful to be apart of. (Also, every so often, I am picking up shifts at Anthropologie.) Currently, I am three months into Fall 2018. I'm working towards my Bachelors in Biblical Counseling. Why counseling? Well, over the past year, the Holy Spirit has shown me that one of my spiritual gifts is exhortation, or encouragement.

Over my life, God has given me so many opportunities to be a listening ear and a support system for people. Counselors that counsel from the BIBLE are so needed, so it's exciting to see how the Lord is leading. I'm taking one day at a time, trusting God to strengthen my mind and body as I study, learn and most of all, increase my relationship with Him. I have already learned so much and if anything, these classes have just deepened my love and adoration for the Lord.Thank you for following along with this very, very long life update. I just thought it was important to share that with you and be very honest. I wouldn't have been able to tell this story a year ago. It often made me crumble into tears. I felt like a failure. I felt like a loser not going to college. But I felt compelled to tell you this, in as much detail, because I want to remind you all of how the Lord works.

I'm sure many of you can relate to the "messiness" of my story. Maybe some of you have gone through similar struggles and can see how God worked in your life. Or maybe you're in a season of waiting and confusion about your future. I was there. And I still am some days. But I wanted to remind you through my story, that God is still working through the mess. He is still at work through the chaos and confusion in your life. Our plans for our lives are not God's plans. His plans are higher than ours. I've learned that they are better than mine, even if they're confusing. And I wouldn't want anyone else in charge of my life.2017 was a hard year. But honestly... I am extremely thankful for it. I am thankful for God's hand in every circumstance, as He watched over me through both good and bad moments. He has always had a process for my life, and even the not-so-fun moments were apart of His process. He is maturing me, teaching me, loving me, and leading me everyday. And my heart is finally at rest knowing that I am where God wants me. Looking back, I can see my Father's presence in this past year. He was always with me. He still is with me. And He has done immeasurably more than I could ever imagine.