Today I’m flying back to Texas as my winter break wraps up. Leaving home again is emotionally difficult, even though I’m excited to be back with my friends at a school that I love so much. Isn’t it strange that I am simultaneously pumped to have coffee from the shop across the street from my dorm and sad that I can’t have coffee from my favorite place at home again until May? Going to college, especially at a school far away, is weird like that. It’s almost like I live in two worlds, and as happy as I am in each of them, I will always miss the other when I’m away.
This break has been restful and full of time spent with people at home who I love and missed so much throughout the fall semester. It consisted of catch-ups with my old Bible Study group at Spill the Beans, Campaigners with my home Young Life group, long drives and sleepovers with my high school best friend, lots of Cook Out milkshakes, twenty-four hours with my Young Life leader, and watching Wizards of Waverly Place with my siblings. As I prepare to begin another semester 885 miles from home, it’s so important to remember that the same God that made this time at home so sweet is coming back to Waco with me — and He wouldn’t send me back if He didn’t have something even sweeter in store. This sweeter thing might be learning big lessons in class or at church in Waco, it might be new friendships or growth within the friendships I began last semester, it might be talking all of my high school friends into going to camp this summer — it might even be all of those things! Isn’t that exciting? God is sovereign, and because of that I know that my trip back to school is the result of His plan, not the purchase of my plane ticket or the first day of class quickly approaching.
Something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately is the thought that my life is so spread out geographically. Home is far from school, my school friends are far from home and my home friends and family are far from school. After my Young Life leader came to visit me, it really hit me that I will most likely never be able to see her as frequently as I saw her in high school ever again. I spent some time wondering if I would be happier with all of the people I love being closer to me — maybe if I went to school closer to home and had never done Work Crew, I would not be so attached to so many people far away. My overly-sentimental heart breaks when I remember good things that I no longer have, so if I didn’t know what I was missing, would life be better? While it might be easier, life would absolutely not be better in the absence of these experiences, because not only would I be missing out on lots of good things, I would be missing out on God’s plan for me. The pang in my heart when I remember the distance between me and those that I love is a small price to pay for the relationships I have and the ways I’ve grown from knowing these people.
There’s this quote I read recently that said, “a moment may be magic, but if you stay in that moment, you’ll miss out on even more magical things ahead.” I’m holding this thought closely right now as I struggle to leave people and places I love. I will come home for the summer in May, and I need to cling to the truth that God has some magical things planned for me between now and then. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,” so, while I may want now to be the time to stay home with my little brother and home Campaigners group for a couple more weeks, I trust that God’s plan for this time is better than my own.
If you, like me, are struggling with distance as you go back to school this semester, I pray that you would be encouraged by the truth that God has something magical planned for you in the leap of faith that you’re taking. Trust that He will take care of you as you return to the familiar discomfort of college and embrace the opportunities He sends your way! Go to the Lord for comfort, because He is the only thing in this world and in your life that will never ever change. He is one prayer away, He will never miss your calls because of the time difference. You get to take Him, the God of the universe, with you everywhere you go, and that’s pretty cool if you ask me.