As some of you may have guessed from the picture above, it’s Youth Camp time! This year’s topic, Jonah. Very appropriate. A story of running and returning, of correction, of redemption, of learning to trust. All things that I certainly need more of this week.
My close friends and family know that the last year or so, I’ve had a lot of trouble with my school advisers and councilors. I’ve been left hanging many a time, and when I’ve desperately needed them to do something for me, they haven’t responded to my pleas. It’s been very frustrating, and extremely stressful for an academic perfectionist like myself. After losing a year of high school for personal reasons, I’ve been working hard to catch up and get ahead, where I’m cool and in control of the situation. Where I like to be. Where all I have to do is dig in and keep a steady hand on the wheel to keep things moving smoothly. That’s where I would have been right now, if it wasn’t for an apparent conspiracy on both my high school and college councilors’ part. But as the situation has drug on, grown even darker and more desperate, and as I’ve stressed and worried and allowed myself to get strung out about it to the point of loosing sleep and becoming completely horrid company, I’ve realized that there may be more to this conspiracy theory than meets the eye.
You see, because of my councilors’ apparent incompetency (and believe me, I hate to say this about anyone, especially publicly like this, but I’m hard-pressed to find another term for this form of complacency), everything for my college/post secondary application has been very late. I had everything I could do myself done and turned in long before the deadline, but the policy at Akron University is that they will not consider you until all of your application paperwork has been filed. Even though I spoke with my councilor every day for nearly 3 months asking and then begging her to send them her two small sheets of paper, they were not sent in until over a month after the application deadline. Thankfully, after explaining the situation to the lovely people of the University staff, they agreed to still accept my application. But because it was so late, I was unable to do anything but wait with bated breath for news of my acceptance until a week ago, when I finally received my acceptance letter and enrollment packet. At Akron University, you do not get your Orientation date until these two packages have arrived, and you cannot schedule classes until Orientation.
I finally had my orientation this last Tuesday, a mere 3 weeks before school starts. Because of how late it was, many of the better classes were already filled. To add to the day’s difficulties, I woke up that morning with a migraine, and had to be there by 7:30am. After 2 hours sleep, getting lost on the way there, and sitting for 10 minutes with all the other incoming students where we were told we were to check in only to discover they marked our packets wrong and our actual check-in was halfway across campus, I was struggling to keep from breaking down in tears. I hoped that the day could only go up from there… but I couldn’t have been more wrong. At the check in table, he nice young lady asked for my name, and found me quickly on the list. It was right there at check-in, with no prior warning, no time to prepare, no time to study, no sleep the night before, and a horrible migraine to deal with, that I was told I would have to take a college math placement test that day.
“Oh, was that not on your enrollment packet?” She asked.
“No, no it wasn’t.” Was my distressed reply.
“Oh, well, don’t worry. We’ll have plenty of time for you to take it today.” She assured me. Because that’s what I was worried about. That I’d get to take it today. Not that it’s my worst subject, not that I’m entirely unprepared, not that I’m holding back tears from a migraine that pounds my head with an invisible hammer with every beat of my heart. No, I’m not worried about any of that, I’m worried you’ll have time to let me take the test today. I thought bitterly.
Feeling utterly drained and defeated, I shuffled into the classroom where orientation was to start, holding the backpack of information and paperwork all of us needed, and plopped into a chair midway back in the room. My mom came in soon after, carrying a plate of fruit and donuts and a small cup of mediocre coffee. While I couldn’t bring myself to eat for fear of getting sicker to my stomach, I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to see a cup of coffee. I nursed on it, whispering silent prayers as we waited for the dean of admissions to join us. After two long, cheese grater-to-face presentations, we were finally split into 3 groups, each lead by an Akron U student. Here we were supposed to take the all-important tour, the only one offered before classes begin. But for me? It was a long walk to the far side of campus to do 30 minutes of algebra and do my very best not to cry. The group picked me and a second unlucky tester up after the tour, and we had the ultimate privilege of taking the scenic route – also known as “parking garage” – back to the student advisory office.
For the third time that day, I consoled myself with the thought that “well, it’s sucked so far, but at least it can’t get any worse!”… and for the third time that day, I was wrong. I may have been the first student called into the adviser’s offices… but I was the last to leave. My adviser, while a lovely and very nice person, really should not be in this line of work. Rather than advise me as to which classes I could or should take, she repeatedly asked me what classes I was looking at. After I explained to her for the 30th+ time that “I’m looking at getting an English degree and would like to take as many of the first year classes for that major as possible, but the only credit I need to graduate this year is British literature.” she finally began looking at which classes were still available. When I at last left her office, feeling entirely hopeless and dejected, I had only 2 of the classes I’d wanted and was worried I might not be able to graduate because she wouldn’t get me into the one class I needed.
My mom, who’d gone on the tour, then got us lost on campus as we tried to get back to our car from the campus book store, and it was with a heavy heart that I finally crawled out of the heat and slumped into the car, ready for it all to just be over, but knowing that I was ever so far from the end. When I got home, before I finally just broke into tears of anxiety and frustration, I sent an email to my marvelous English teacher from last year, knowing she at least would reply to my email. She might not know the answer, but she’ll reply to me quickly, and even if she can’t help me personally, she will do everything in her power to get me what I need. I thought. After sending her the heavily weighted question on whether or not my high school would accept a different class for that credit, I took a deep breath, and I prayed for God’s peace and strength. But it wasn’t until that night that I finally allowed Him to silence the raging chaos inside me so that I could listen to the still, small whisper of His council.
And that’s when He turned on the lights.
In the length of a breath, He showed me what He was doing, reveled a bit of His ever-perfect plan for me. “My child, my child, why do you fret so?” He seemed to say. “These earthly councilors may not meet your needs or rise to your expectations, but that is just a trial of this fallen world you’re living in, my dear. It is frustrating, yes, but you must never forget that I am always here. The Wonderful Councilor, Prince of Peace, the great I AM. All you face on earth shall fade away. All is vanity, and a striving after wind. But my daughter, I know what is happening to you. I have allowed it. I have allowed it not to try your patience, my dear, but to show you that I am always here, and I always know best. You worry my dear, you worry too much. I’ve got this, remember? I know you always strive to do your best, you want to be in control of the situation. But I’ve let this happen so that you can learn to sit, with a calm and gentle spirit, and let me take care of it. You’ve done well my child, letting go of your life’s reigns and letting me lead you, in many times and places. But you hold tight here, my dear. You hold tight, as though I cannot handle it, or you do not need my help. I do this to show you that you can trust me in all things, and that even if you don’t like what I’m doing in your life, I am always here, your great comforter, your perfect councilor, for you. Rest well, my dear. Leave the heavy lifting to me.” The words resounded in my heart, and while it’s a daily struggles to release my anxieties to my LORD and Savior, my perfect councilor has my life all sorted out. I can trust Him in all things, even those my academic councilors can’t seem to get right.
And so, my dear readers, I must bid you farewell for the week. But I pray you may find comfort in this realization, as I did. I shall end with a song that has been a wonderful peace-bringer these last weeks. And I shall be back next week, most likely with pictures of a crazy week of fellowship, growing deeper into God, and of course, getting down and dirty in whatever insanity the iTeam has come up with for us this year!