You may read the title of this blog and think, this is a little late — we are past Thanksgiving! While this may be true, I think it is so important to meditate on what we are thankful for as the year 2020 comes to an end. I wanted to take the opportunity to share my thoughts with you as you also reflect on this year and think of how you are going to approach next year. Especially as you consider coming to Cedarville next year!
I think everyone can agree that 2020 was a year full of surprises, and often they were disappointments. Many people experienced a new reality that was different from anything anyone had ever experienced. I know for me, I was sent home from Cedarville to a home that was not often the most encouraging place to be. My campus jobs ended, and I was faced with the reality of a lot of hard decisions. I know I was not the only one. I spoke with countless friends and family members who also shared in this heavy burden of life.
It was so easy to be upset and discontent with every new disappointment. When people asked me how I was feeling I would answer, “I don’t know. And I am tired of not knowing.” As I approached the fall semester, everything at Cedarville felt different. I was in my senior year, and two of my classes were online, with many large events canceled. My favorite event, homecoming, was even canceled. We wore masks during class and chapel was online.
My friends and I had countless conversations of frustration in our workload, in the restrictions, in the change, and in the unknown. There were so many points of defeat throughout the semester and wishing for it to all be over. I found myself in a place of constantly rolling my eyes and heavily sighing because I felt that everything was not normal, and everyone else felt the same way.
This is the point of my story where thankfulness came into play. It was through conversations with God-fearing friends, mentors, professors, and other individuals at Cedarville that I was challenged to foster a heart of thankfulness. This didn’t mean always looking on the bright side or ignoring the sadness I felt toward the disappointment. This meant looking at the world through the lens of all the many things that the Lord had blessed me with.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Paul encourages believers to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Such a simple verse with powerful truth that I have heard my whole life. I never understood the true impact that thankfulness could have on one’s perspective until this year.
The last month of my senior year, I took the opportunity to work to change my language. I was so humbled to see the many ways that God had provided and loved me. One large example of provision was through my Cedarville adoptive family. In high school and coming into college, I prayed for a family to adopt me into their home during my college years. I didn’t know what this would look like, but I wanted to be a part of a family that I could learn from. Little did I know that God would provide above and beyond through my involvement in my church and my connection as a Cedarville student. My adoptive family has seen me in my worst and in my best. They constantly welcome me into their home, fill up my gas tank, listen to me, laugh with me, provide a constant supply of coffee, challenge me, love on me, and so much more. They have shown me what unconditional love looks like through the way that they have poured into my life. They are one specific blessing that I know God provided for me to grow and flourish in my college years. This is evident in the way that they helped me over several hard hurdles this year.
Cedarville University is also a blessing that I will forever be thankful for. The experiences, lessons, conversations, and so much more have shaped me into a person that wants to serve God by loving others for the rest of her life. Cedarville has been a special place where I have had really great moments and really hard moments. It was through all these moments that I have learned about myself and the person God wants me to be. This is what I focus on when I foster a heart of thankfulness. When I began truly thinking of all the people and opportunities that God had placed in my life, I feel that 2020 was a strong year. God has used this year to shape me and mold me to be more like Him.
Being thankful is powerful. I challenge you and myself to reflect on all the ways that God has provided for you. I challenge you to pray for God to be a part of your college decision. Be faithful, brothers and sisters! God is going to bless you in ways that you may never see, and I am hoping that is at Cedarville next year! 🙂
Majoring in Strategic Communications, Class of 2020
Favorite Animal: Cow
Favorite Number: 5
Favorite Sweatshirt: Cleveland Browns Thrift Store Find
Favorite Age Group: Middle School Students:)
Favorite Vegetable: Onion
Favorite Breakfast Food: Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
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