By Erin Stanley
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives to I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” - John 14:27
I’ve lived most of my life among non-Christians. For a while, I felt like the outsider. I felt like people saw me as someone who hadn’t caught up on their perceived deceit that is God. While I continued to walk in my faith, I felt like my friends were waiting for the day that I would stop believing. I remember feeling unstable. Like I was constantly changing myself to fit the situation I was in.
For a long time, I was constantly asking God to give me good, healthy friendships. In August, I felt the overwhelming urge to come to UCM, something that I hadn’t done in about two years. Originally, I had no intention of coming. I have a long commute, and I tried it once and it didn’t work for me. But I decided that if God was telling me to go, it was probably a good idea. I have to be honest, I was really nervous. I am terrible in social situations. So the thought of coming to UCM as a newbie and mingling with people who have known each other for years was horrifying to me.
Fast forward to the first TNT. I walked in, heart pounding, and sat down. I sat far away from any people. I had my phone in my hand to look like I was doing something. I remember saying to God, have someone talk to me or I’m not coming back. And someone did. Actually, I talked to quite a few people that night. I left with a full heart and a positive outlook on the semester.
While that day was so encouraging, God didn’t just give me friendships from UCM. He led me to a tightknit group of people in my program that are some of the most supportive people I know. I feel like for a long time I always thought that I would need Christians in my life to feel supported, but God showed me that I just needed people. People who were there for me, regardless of their religious views.
My life as a Christian has been tumultuous, enduring, and yet so rewarding. Last year left me feeling dejected. I struggled so much because I hid. I hid my feelings from people, and unsuccessfully, I tried to hide from God. I lost myself. It made me nervous to come back to school. I perfected the art of putting on a brave face. But what God has done for me these past three months has completely changed me. I don’t feel like I am hiding anymore. I’m talking to people about my struggles. I am asking for help. I feel more supported than I have ever felt. And I am so grateful.
If there is one take away from this, it would be trust in God and you will find peace. Even if things are rough and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, let God be your eyes. Because there is a light. Even if you can’t see it.