Saturday, September 6, 2008

...I'm a big girl now?

On August 29th I woke up at 4 in the morning, wide awake. I hadn't been able to fall asleep until approximately 1:30 AM. I had butterflies in my stomach, my legs were restless and my mind was racing.

I was leaving for college in 4 hours.

Yes, that's right. College. 4 hours. Me, Eliza Ray Jarvis. I was actually going to college.

After a very long, draining, difficult summer, I was finally on my way to start a new chapter--heck, a whole new plot--in my life. Since May I had been waiting for this day anxiously, counting down the days and preparing. I was excited for a few reasons. I was going to start working on doing what I feel I'm called to do, I was going to be taught invaluable lessons by professors, friends, RAs, and God. I was going to meet knew people, make new friends. And one of the scariest, yet most exhilirating things:

I was starting fresh.

It's not that I wouldn't be able to learn things in Rochester. It's not that I don't love my friends and family there, and it's most definitely not that God isn't there. That's not why I was leaving, that's not why I needed this new start. At home I felt as if my past had me bound and gagged. I couldn't break free from it. If I started, I had so many chains wrapped around my feet that I could never walk very far away from it. It was frustrating, to say the very least. Because I really and truly do want to change, I want to break free of that part of my life because it is exactly what I called it. My past.

And so I arrived at my college campus. I met my roommates (who are simply wonderful), I met my RA (again, simply wonderful) and I met amazing friends within the first day. I am so unbelievably thankful I am here, and I am so, so happy. Yet there was still one thing I didn't count on.

My past? It's still there. It's still a part of me. It's almost as if it's sitting on the sidelines, shouting at me, reminding me of why I can't do this, why I shouldn't, why I'm worthless and a failure. When I realized this, I was pretty bummed about it. I knew I would still have to work hard at getting over problems from my past, but I thought it would be so much easier than this. Looking at my friends, they make it seem as though they have it all worked out, it's all effortless.

Then last night I was coloring with three of my friends (yes, college students color. ...Even on a friday night, hahaha) when a friend came excitedly out of another friends dorm, telling us that we had to listen to something amazing. So the three of us dropped what we were doing and walked down to the dorm room. Sitting there were to boys that I had met previously but really didn't know anything about other than their faces and their names. One was sitting at a keyboard, the other on a chair holding his electric guitar. The piano player began to explain how he came to Houghton to grow closer to God, to move away from his past...and basically just started speaking MY story...but in his translation. Yet there was a key difference. He spoke about how he knew only God could change things, how he couldn't do anything...I on the other hand, wanted to do it all by myself. How? By simply pushing it out of my memory.

Yeah, smart, I know.

After the little opening explanation, they began to play a song they had just written a few minutes before...and it was simply beautiful. Tears were welling up in my eyes as I listened to the heartfelt lyrics about letting go, and handing everything over to God. I looked around the dorm we had all squished into, and to my surprise, everyone was having the same reaction. That's when I realized that I'm not the only one who has things they need to let go of. Each one of us has a wound that needs to be healed, or something we need to hand over to God. It was such a powerful moment for me to realize that I wasn't alone in the struggle I was facing. Not only did I have these amazing people...I have an even more amazing God. And with Him, I can leave those things of my past behind me. I can walk away.

The lyrics:

I come before You now, With no words to say.
Nothing left to speak. Just bringing me
I’m pouring out my heart. I’m emptying myself
Make me a vessel, Ready to be used by you.

Come and fill me up with your Holy Spirit
I want to be used by you
I give my life into Your hands.

My life has been a wreck. I’ve been selfish and self-serving
But I ask You to take this mess. Though I am undeserving make me new Lord.
I am pouring out my heart. I’m emptying myself
I want to be used by You

Come and fill me up with your Holy Spirit
I want to be used by You
I give my life into your hands
Come and fill my life with your grace and mercy
Cleanse be from my sin
I give my life into your hands

I come before the cross. To lay down my burdens
Dying to myself, living for Your name.
I’m taking up my cross. I sacrifice myself
I want to live a life bringing glory to your name

Come and fill me up with your Holy Spirit
I want to be used by You
I give my life into your hands
Come and fill my life with your grace and mercy
Cleanse me from my sin
I give my life into Your hands

-By Jordan Barnum

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