a Mountaintop Experience

“Times, whether brief or extended, where the power and presence of God was so palpable that it felt as if the veil between heaven and earth was very, very thin.”

As a responsible and motivated college student, naturally I decided to skip class one day last week.

I wish I could give you a justified reason for it, but in reality I just couldn’t do it anymore.

The last few weeks I have done a really good job of walking away from God, even though I am facing situations where I need Him most. After spending the whole summer with my friends and having everyone only a text away,  the start of the school year was a rude awakening. Frankly, I just feel lonely – when I am around others and when I am alone in my room. It is a constant ache and I haven’t figured out how to heal.

It is in those situations that you are supposed to turn to God, to put more prayer into our daily lives and to turn to Him in our loneliness, but for me that was easier said than done.

Finally, I drove to a nature center close to my house, searching for someplace where I could find God. I walked as fast as I could up the hill to the top, and out of breath I cried out to Him.

There is something very surreal and beautiful in these kind of moments. You see what is around you with very different eyes than you might normally, but I still wasn’t finding the comfort that I was seeking.

Two hours and more tears than I could count later, I felt a lot different. It wasn’t the mountaintop experience I was desperately searching for, but somehow it was better.

The reality was that I learned a lesson from this.

The Christian life is no smooth ride.

That being said, it also isn’t going to be some amazing experience every day where you feel God in every moment and you just know that He is there. You won’t always be “on the mountaintop”.

The truth is in the pursuit, are you willing to search each day for a reason to believe? Nothing can separate us from God except ourselves, so the question is why we manage to do so constantly.

God is in the tears. He is in the quiet moments; when you are studying or reading or simply just experiencing the silence. He is in the loud and overwhelming. He is there in the laughter and he rejoices when there is a smile on your face.

Just let that sink in for a minute. 

He is with you, alongside you, right now.

Whoa, man.

Why are we willing to talk ourselves out of something so beautiful?

The Lord of my life has pulled me into an eternal embrace, holding onto my feeble heart each and every day. I do not have to feel alone, ever. What’s more? He wants that with you too, even when you do not feel close to Him – even when those “mountaintop experiences” are over.

 

 

Adulting?

Guess what!

I am officially a college student of three days!

After being in the same school district for 13 years and seeing mostly the same people every single day for just as long, it is mind-blowing to be in a place where I am surrounded by different people and generally don’t know anyone in any of my classes.. The first few days of class, no one talked to each other and I was starting to feel uncomfortable and regret my college choice.

There are 26 University of Wisconsin colleges, half two year commuter colleges that transfer automatically to the larger 4 year colleges (ie. UW-Madison). I attend one of those two-year colleges. This means that I live at home and drive to school each day, rather than the traditional college experience involving dorms and food plans. When everyone in my graduating class was applying for school and planning where they wanted to go, and I decided to apply at Fox, most of the students I encountered acted like it was beneath them to attend there and live at home. When people would ask me where I was going, I began to tell them “just UW Fox .” JUST, because at that point I believed it wasn’t quite as good as one of the four year schools too, and it certainly wasn’t as impressive as heading off to some obscure private school out of state that, let’s be real, no one can afford anyway.

But I am learning day by day that UW Fox is EXACTLY where I am meant to be.

I can pay for my first two years easily without loans and only one scholarship, so joke’s on everyone else! But anyway, the point of this post isn’t to dis other schools or brag about my somewhat savvy financial planning. It’s to talk about how I believe I made the right choice and followed the Lord’s plan.

Like I said, after my final class on Wednesday still no one was really talking to one another. I get it, it is a new experience and everyone was uncomfortable, but I was feeling lonely and doubting if I would make any friends. I am a drama queen, so I kept telling myself I should have just gone to Green Bay (the school I am planning to transfer to) right away. But, I was holding on, because Wednesday after class, I had my first Cru Live. Cru is a Christian organization that exists on a lot of different campuses, and I was holding onto the fact that this would make me feel like I could make friends with other people.

There was pizza (selling point right there!) and some announcements, and then we split up into groups to share about ourselves and play ‘two Truths and a Lie’. Before we even began, the leader of our small group turned to me and asked, “Are you Mariah?”

This is a big deal for me!

I am not an outgoing person, people do not just know who I am. By confirming my identity, she made me feel so important and so comfortable. In high school I was always, someone’s friend, Chris’ sister – never just me.

I know it isn’t a big deal to most people, I get that. But I truly believe that God used her to bring me confidence in joining the group and about the school in general.

This is a new place for me. I know there will be some challenges, I know there will be some situations that are’t fun – even some that I will really hate. But I also know that through the people I will meet and through Cru, I will grow in my faith and this college experience will be about finding myself and who I am in God.