In transition…

 

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Transitions are tough

I was talking to a friend recently who graduated at the same time as me and we both have come to realize that the transition is where the learning is. Since I’ve graduated college I have started working a full time job and I have taken on a new role in a community I have been part of for 4 years. Each comes with its own challenges, but in each challenge I am learning so much.

Graduating from college almost felt like I was taking part in some sort of coming of age ceremony where after I walk across a stage and change my tassel from left to right I would suddenly have everything figured out and things would be fine. Though I did have some things figured out and things seemed fine, walking across that stage only signified me walking boldly into a new season of life. This new season is a season of immense change and a season of tremendous courage. It’s a season where I am already needing to learn to trust more and love more, but also I am learning what it is to be a leader and what it looks like to love Jesus. I am learning true compassion and what it looks like to be merciful yet just.

Transitioning into a new season of life is difficult and terrifying. There have been many a moment when I have thought “Jesus, only because of you can I get through this season of my life” and I feel like at this moment, in this time that is a good place to be. I am learning as time passes that transitions are truly about how we react to them and how well we do or do not adapt, but it’s also about knowing how much you can handle on your own and knowing when to ask for help.

This new season of my life is one of the hardest and most beautiful seasons of my life thus far. It’s hard because I’m learning what it means to be an adult in a strange world, but it’s beautiful because I am learning more and more about who I am and who I want to be. I am also realizing that who I am now and what I go through now will only grow me in to the woman I will be in three or four years. My experiences in this season of my life will be the stories I tell my sisters and friends about for years to come. These are stories I hope and pray will be stories of how I conquered this season, only by the grace of God, and how I overcame the obstacles of being an adult. I also hope these are stories of how I learned to trust more, how I learned more grace and more compassion. Mostly I hope these stories will be stories that will encourage the people around me to trust God and to trust others to help them out when they’re struggling. I also hope this season is full of more love and laughter than it is with tears and struggle.

“Transitions themselves are not the issue, but how well you respond to their challenges” — Jim George

Hello 2015 || Grateful Days 325 – 365

IMG_548550 days in to the new year and I’m finally able to fully welcome it

Since the beginning of the year, I feel like I’ve had little time to actually think about that last year and this is one of those few moments I get to actually think. The last year was a good year. 2014 treated me kindly and I learned so much about myself and about the people around me.

As I think about all of the posts from the last year, I realize how amazingly blessed I am to be surrounded by the people I have in my life. I realize how greatly God has blessed me and how much God has provided for me. I’ve also come to be grateful for different seasons in my life, because in each season God has taught me how to trust Him more and He has taught me how to rely on the people He placed in my life.

Even though it’s still the beginning of the year, I can see how much grace God has had for me as I transition into adulthood. Its been so crazy and so stressful at times, but I am learning so much more about who God is and who He is in my life and for me.

Even though it’s a bit late, here’s to 2014 and all the things I’ve learned and here’s to hoping 2015 is more than I could have ever imagined.

End of College Musings (Things I’ve Learned in Four and a Half Years)|| Grateful Days 312-324

IMG_5358the last day of classes this semester means my last day as an undergraduate student.

Today marked the last day of classes for University of Arizona students for the fall semester, and for me and many others it marked the end of our careers as undergraduate students. I know I’ve written many a post about how crazy it is to be graduating, but with graduation only 10 days away the realness of it is finally hitting me. The reality of it all should have sunk in when I got a job (woo hoo oh yeah thank you Jesus!!), but it didn’t. The reality of my graduating hit when I realized that I didn’t have to register for classes for next semester. When I realized when other students are enjoying their 3-4 week long Christmas break I’ll be starting work. When I realized that next semester I will no longer be a student of Chi Alpha instead I’ll be on staff. I’ve learned a lot over the past four and a half years and trying to write it all out just becomes a huge rambling so here are a few things I’ve learned in my years at University.

1) Your parents transition with you:
I realized that as I was transitioning from being a teenager to becoming an adult, my parents were becoming parents of a college student and now they are going to become parents of a college graduate.

2) Friends are blessings when you move out at the ripe age of 18:
I was fortunate enough to gain a group of friends who helped my become an adult and who helped me become the woman I am today. Having a group of friends who can help you transition and who are able and willing to listen to you complain about life or help you figure out what to do with your life makes being in college a lot easier.

3) Talking to people about your worries/problems is important:
I came to college not really wanting to let people know when things were truly bothering me because I got through high school without having to tell people what was really going on in my life. Going through most of my Freshman year of college like that was pretty exhausting and I realized I needed to tell people when I was stressed out because if I didn’t I usually ended up crying somewhere. Telling people also gave my family and friends the opportunity to pray for me and give me encouragement through it all.

4) Talking to people about the good things in life is also important:
It’s a lot easier to tell people what’s bothering you but it’s equally important to let people know when good things happen in your life because it’s way more fun to celebrate good things with other people than celebrating alone! I used to think telling people about something good happening in my life meant I was rubbing something in their face, but telling people about exciting things means there are more people who can celebrate the good things in your life.

5) You learn a lot about yourself during college:
In the past four and a half years I have learned more about myself than I could have ever known four years ago. In nine semesters I have learned what annoys me, what makes me angry, and what makes me happy. I have learned what I want in friendships and my future husband. I have learned what kind of daughter, sister, aunty and friend I want to be. I have learned who I am as a woman of God and who I am as a leader. I am still learning more about myself, but college has helped me learn things about myself I couldn’t have known had I not gone through four and a half years of studying, crying, talking, laughing and praying.

6) God doesn’t stop working in your life just because you’re going to graduate from college:
This semester was a lot of preparation and a lot of praying about what to do for the next year of my life. In Chi Alpha each student is encouraged to give a year and pray about a lifetime and basically that means we are all encouraged to give a year to missions and pray about whether or not that would be for a season or for our lifetime. I knew I wanted to give a year for the past couple of years and with graduation slowly approaching I began praying about where to go and what I was going to do before I left. I decided I would get a job and support raise for wherever I was going to go. After praying for a job my supervisor from my internship emailed a few of us telling us of a job opening where I was an intern and I applied. Then I got to take a test. Then I went to an interview. Then another. Then I got the job! The crazy thing about all this is that I prayed God would give me a sign of whether I should stay and give my year with Chi Alpha here or if I should go because I didn’t want to get the job then leave because the job is in my field and it’s one that I wanted. Then I prayed if I got the job it would be God’s way of telling me to stay, but if I didn’t I would find somewhere to give my year then support raise and by getting the job God answered a prayer and answered a question. That’s when I realized God doesn’t just let people go once they have graduated from college, if anything He prepares them more for what He has in store for them. God helped prepare me for what He would have in store for me as I work and give my year with Chi Alpha because what He has in store is better than what I had originally planned.

7) Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness:
I always had this strange idea that asking people for help meant I was being weak, but it isn’t. I’ve realized asking people for help is a sign of strength because it’s a persons acknowledgement of the fact that they can’t do it alone; they need help. There have been many a time when I needed people’s help, whether it was homework or life, asking people for help is beneficial.

8) Seasons of life come and go:
In four and a half years I went from a teenager to an adult. Now as I transition from college student to a full functioning adult, and as I go from student to staff I am realizing more now than I did before that seasons come and go. In the time it took for the weather to go from hot to warm, from warm to cool and for the leaves to begin changing colour I became an adult. In the time it will take for the leaves to fall and for the air to grow colder I will be a college graduate. By the time Christmas lights are going to be taken down and calendars change from 2014 to 2015 I will be a working adult. Seasons come and go and there will be days when it feels like you should have taken a picture of a specific moment so you could have a memento of that day, but the truth is the best memories cannot be captured in a photo. Nor can you put a filter on it and share it with the world. The best memories are those that you can take with you in your memory for eternity. Enjoying each season is difficult at the time, but with each season comes new lessons and new opportunities of growth so enjoy each season as it comes because who knows how long you’ll be in that moment. Even though there were times when I wished it would be over quicker, I am glad for my years at University. I have learned so much and I have become a different person than who I was all those years ago when I first set foot on campus.

College has been the most difficult four and a half years of my life, but at the same time these have been some of the most wonderful years of my life. All the things I have learned while I’ve been a student will be with me for years to come. The friends I have made will be in my heart for many more years. The past nine semesters have had many challenges, but they have all prepared me for what God is calling me to do and they are all shaping me into the woman I will be tomorrow. As I say goodbye to the past four and a half years I say hello to a new season of life and await the new lessons I will soon be learning.

goodbye college. hello world.

A Wonderful Day of Thanks || Grateful Days 257-311

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetHappy Thanksgiving!!

I truly have so much to be thankful for this year. I have been blessed with a loving family. I have wonderful friends and a wonderful community. God has been so gracious and so kind to me as I transition in to a new season of life. He has shown me so much mercy and dished out so much grace. He has given me the freedom to be obedient to Him and given me more freedom in my life in general.

As I have tried to do this whole 365 Days Grateful thing, I have come to realize that being grateful is a state of mind. It’s a constant state of thanks. I’m not going to lie, being in a constant state of thanks isn’t easy. I’ve found it’s extremely difficult, not because I’m an ungrateful person but because some days are harder than others. Some days just don’t go the way you want. Some days it’s difficult to even be kind to people. Those days it isn’t easy to be grateful for things. But then there are those days that are absolute bliss. All the things are falling in to place and all the things are going as they should and it’s easy to be grateful for something. But I’ve learned that even on the difficult days there is something to be grateful for. Even if you’re grateful for the simple fact that you got to live life that day. Some days I’m just grateful I got to live a new day, even if it was an awful day I’ve found I was simply grateful to be alive.

On days like today, a day wholly dedicated to being thankful I’m reminded that I always have something to be grateful for. I have a loving family, a wonderful group of friends and a Saviour and Father that have been so kind to me. Today on this wonderful day of thanks I am thankful for life, for love, for the difficult days and the good days, for laughter, for family, for friends, for community and countless other things. I hope today and every other day you too can always find something to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

also, now the whole world can listen to Christmas music all the time!!

Here’s to the Future|| Grateful Days 225-256

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It’s finally hitting me that I am going to be graduating from college and moving on to a new season of life. I mean, obviously I’ve known I’m going to graduate this semester and I’ve thought about it, but it’s finally starting to sink in. It’s kind of a frightening thought, but at the same time it’s also a very exciting thought.

It’s strange, now that school is in full swing and I have more and more assignments I need to get done the thought of graduating is starting to excite me a little more. I’m excited because I’m graduating one, but I’m also excited because I’ll be entering a new season of my life.

I feel strongly that the current season I find myself in has taught me a lot, and is still teaching me a lot. I’m glad for where I am in life and I’m happy about all the things I have gained through all of these experiences, but I’m excited to see where I’ll be going. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous as well.

Graduating from university, or at least thinking of it, is way different than thinking of graduating from high school. When I graduated high school I knew what I was going to do. I had a plan for after graduation, but the plans I have for post-graduation aren’t plans I have set in stone just yet. At this point they are only dreams and I’m learning to trust more and have more faith.

As I see the end of this season coming to an end (this sounds a smidge melodramatic but oh well) I find myself learning more and more what it means to trust God with my future and have faith that everything will work out the way it should! I know who holds my future and I’m not scared of what’s going to happen. Yes I do get anxious about my future, but I’m not scared the way I used to be. I’m learning to trust God more and more, and I’m also learning so much about my heart in this season.

I’m extremely grateful for the things I’ve learned in my life thus far. I’m glad for where God has brought me from and where He is going to take me. Though I feel anxious about it many times, I’m glad to know that my future is in the hands of a Father who loves me deeply and tenderly.

So, here’s to the future and all the times ahead!

Goodbye Summer, Hello School || Grateful Days 196-224

IMG_4952Alas, another summer has passed and another semester of school has started.

I walked on campus this week knowing that the end of my school days is soon coming to an end. One day I may find myself back in school, but my undergrad years are soon coming to an end and honestly I don’t really know how to feel.Of course I’m happy that I’ll finally be done with school, but I’m also sad to be saying goodbye to this season of my life soon.

For the past four and a half years I have been at the U of A I have learned and grown so much. I’m happy to be leaving behind school and walking in to a new season because it means more growth and more experiences. But I’m sad to leave behind this season because this season of my life saw much growth.

I came to the U as a Freshman who had a lot to learn and in the past 4 years I have learned more than I could imagine. Obviously I learned a lot academically, but more than that I learned a lot personally. I shed many tears on campus and I can point out every place I’ve cried. In my 4 years as a university student I have felt anxious, sad, happy, scared and a plethora of other emotions. But I wouldn’t take back a single tear or a single moment as a student.

I wouldn’t take back any moment of doubt or anxiety because through all of those experiences I learned to trust God. In 4 years I have been challenged and in the moments when I was challenged most I learned to trust people, I learned to trust Jesus and I learned a lot about myself.

It’s crazy to think that my years at the U are almost over and now in my last semester I’m determined to end this season in the best way I can. Before the semester started I met with a friend for coffee to talk about life and the semester and she said “Steffanie, this is your semester” and I couldn’t help but smile at this thought. Now, I don’t think this is going to be my semester in an ‘Oh yeah I’m so going to own this semester’ way, but in a ‘Lets make this semester the best one yet’ way. I don’t know what this semester holds, but I’m so thankful for the past 4 years at the U and I’ve learned and done so much in that time that I’m excited for what this semester holds.

So here’s to my last semester as an undergrad and for all that’s to come!

22 Things I’ve Learned In 22 Years Of Life|| Grateful Days 187-195

WaterI’m 22.

Before my 22nd birthday I thought about all the things I’ve learned in my life and I’ve learned a lot. Some of these things I’ve learned the hard way and other things I’ve learned from watching people. I’ve also learned a lot from listening to my friends and family. I know I still have so much to learn, but there are a few things I’ve learned in 22 years of life!

1) Laughing is good for the soul
especially when one is super stressed out

2) Procrastinating is not a good idea
it may be great motivation to getting that 5 page paper written, but it is not worth it

3) It’s okay to have an opinion and then voice it
sometimes it’s scary to tell people what you think but how are people going to know what you think otherwise

4) The most unlikely people can surprise you the most
people can surprise you; in good and bad ways

5) Coffee was made for late nights and early mornings
i have gained a greater appreciation for coffee since being in college, it tastes good, it smells good and it keeps you awake

6) You parents are getting older too
you’re not the only person in your life getting older, your parents are too

7) People change and that’s okay
everyone changes, it’s part of growing up

8) Ice Cream is always a good idea
especially when there is a buy one get one free coupon

9) Being bad at something doesn’t make you a failure
just because you aren’t good at something doesn’t make you a failure; it just means you get to learn something new

10) It’s okay to be embarrassed
embarrassing moments make the best stories

11) Try new foods
you never know if you like something if you never try it

12) Jesus loves everyone
yes even the people you can’t stand

13) Be nice to your siblings
they’re your first friends and they’ve seen you at your lowest and smelliest but they still love you

14)  Dad can fix anything
if you can’t fix it call dad, the chances of him knowing how to fix the broken thing is very high

15) Thunderstorms aren’t as scary as you thought
especially when it means you can sit in your jammies all day

16) It’s not okay to be a mean
just don’t do it, it isn’t okay

17) Honesty is the best policy
but telling the truth doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk

19) There is music for every mood
whether you’re happy, sad or annoyed there’s a song for that

20) You’ll never know where your bobby pins disappear to
it’s just a fact of life that bobby pins find a new home after a while and they’re never coming back

21) Getting mail is still better than getting an email or text
it may take forever, but getting packages and letters in the mail is still a great feeling

22) Twenty-two is no different than twenty-one
it just means you’ve gone around the sun 22 times, experienced 4 or 5 leap years (depending on what month you were born) and have been on the earth for 8,034 or 8,035 days