I'm home from my second year at TWU, and taking a moment to reflect on who I am and how I am different now than last September.
There is a reason that education is so highly valued for character formation by so many philosophers through the ages. Even though I'm just working toward a degree, each class is shaping me in different ways. My favorites this year included Hebrew, Greek, Linguistics classes (like Phonology, Morphosyntax, and Literacy), Eastern World Religions, New Testament, and more! TWU challenges me to not just pass a class, but to take the knowledge and apply it to my life. After this year, I'm even more convinced of my passion for linguistics, and I love discussing the philosophy behind it, pondering how our languages so significantly affect our culture and worldview. I've decided that Hebrew was my favorite class because there have been so many moments of awe, so many times I've been close to tears as I read and translate the heart of God in Isaiah. Keep your eye out for further life application from the book of Isaiah, coming soon.
There have simply been too many wonderful friendships to name them all. My last post told you about Matt, Chelly, and Remi. Everyone around campus knows that I can hardly ever be found without Claire. I was blessed with the most wonderful roommate I could have asked for, Sharon. And there are so many more from class, from my teams, from working together, or from just constantly running into each other. Our theme for this school year at TWU was "Called to Unity, Committed to Community," and it truly has been a theme for me. I've come to realize just how at home I feel at my university. This community of people stretches me, encourages me, mentors me, and gives me opportunities to do all this for others too. I'm already sad that I will have to graduate in two years.
It feels like most of my time at TWU is honestly spent doing the non-academics. I was part of Intercultural Programs, striving to better understand the cultural experience of international students on campus and find ways to integrate and welcome them. And as I learned about how these international friends of mine had been shaped by their culture, I started to realize just how much I too had been shaped by mine. Something for us each to ponder.
I am so thrilled about how God worked to start more and more prayer on campus. I was sort of an unofficial prayer "coordinator," which meant brainstorming and implementing ideas to help create a culture of prayer at TWU. I am so grateful and blown away by the number of fellow students who jumped in on this vision and made so much happen. We're seeing the Spirit moving; a year ago, there was almost nothing that could be called a "prayer ministry." Now, there are people meeting to pray for the school and the world before chapel every day and in small groups all over campus each week, there is a team every Friday during chapel offering prayer to anyone who needs it, more and more people come seeking prayer, dozens of people on campus participated in prayer workshops in order to learn to pray more like Jesus. We're amazed, but praying for even more!
I wrote in-depth on this topic a few weeks ago, but I am convinced that the biggest way I have grown this year has probably been in my own personal understanding of myself. I've been mentored and guided in this path of inner contemplation by my staff and leaders at TWU, but also through the teachings of Bridgetown Church that I encourage you to listen to. Of all things, perhaps the best summation of what I've learned and am still learning is that the way I relate to people is generally the same way I relate to God. And I believe that may be true of you as well. The way you relate to people is generally the same way I relate to God. In my case, I've always been a very independent, confident, self-sustaining person. While that has set me up for success in so many areas of life, it has caused me to rarely trust people, reserving my deepest emotions and desires within myself. Most significantly, this has flowed over into how I relate to God as well, and I'm realizing that I have struggled with holding back my true heart and feeling like I'm maintaining a relationship that mostly depends on me. I'm still figuring out how to change this, but I am encouraged simply by the revelation.
What a year it has been; I have loved so much about each day. There were hard times, hard conversations, hard realizations, hard assignments, hard decisions. But He is with me still, and He will be with me always. Now to a summer of work, home, family, and friends, here we come.
After finishing writing this post, I looked up the post I wrote at the beginning of the school year: check out all the answered prayers!