My Freshman Year

I’ve always wanted to be honest with people. I think it’s very important as a Christian that I can be open about my struggles. While I don’t want to make any assumptions, my freshman year of college was probably different than most of my classmates and their experiences. I would not say it has a picture-perfect ending and I’m not completely satisfied. But I have grown and God has taught me more than I ever thought he would.

To be honest with you, my freshman year has been a struggle. Throughout the course of the year I probably would have told you it wasn’t going very well. Now that I’ve reached the end and seen the big picture, I understand why it all happened. The school year did not go how I thought it would, nor how I wanted it to, but it was perfectly in sync with what God wanted for me.

I knew coming to college would be tough, because I have never been one to enjoy growing up, and this marks a huge part of that process. I came into this world too soon, meaning I needed more attention than the average baby. I’m the youngest of four, which also means that I’ve grown up very dependent upon other people. When I was little, I remember I would go to basketball games with my family because my dad was a coach, and I couldn’t even go to the concessions stand alone, because I needed my mom with me. College means stepping out into the world as an individual and taking care of myself, and that has not been the easiest thing.

As this was my first year being away from home, I think it’s important that God has shown me many of my weaknesses. He has shed a light on sins I wasn’t willing to admit to before and he has shown me where I honestly need help. The first semester was rough because of the drastic transition and I cried so often. After doing work crew over the summer, which was life-changing, I think I figured my life was pretty great as it was and I was on a smooth path with my faith. God clearly has said no, I’m far from perfect, and I need Him every step of the way.

Like I said before, I started going to counseling this year for the first time. I had to admit to myself that I struggle with anxiety and now I don’t mind talking about my mental health at all.

God has helped me realize that I am very insecure about myself and my self-esteem is not where I want it to be. I have talked to my counselor about learning to tell people when I’m not okay with comments they make about me. My counselor told me about a situation where she was treated differently at a job because of her size. Sometimes it honestly does seem like petite people are treated differently in our society, and I hope I can become a voice for those who are petite someday.

I’m also not super close to many people here at school, which has been very challenging. Don’t get me wrong—I know so many lovely people. But oftentimes I find myself alone. I’ve eaten alone many times, I’ve gone to chapel alone a few times, and I’ve been to events by myself. It’s easy to look at these situations and think that they’re unfortunate. But it was necessary for me and I know God will provide in due time. He has already started to. I need to be confident in myself as an individual and my relationship with God first and foremost. These moments of solitude have been a good time to do that.

There have been many wonderful moments throughout the year as well. But overall it has not been easy, and I’m not going to pretend it was. My intention is not to make people feel sorry for me, but to be straightforward and vulnerable. I am thankful for what has happened. These challenges have helped me grow in ways I never thought imaginable.

That dependent little girl is becoming an independent woman in Christ. I’m just progressing at my own pace.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ~2 Corinthians 12:9

This was not an easy post to write—this was an emotional post to write. But it’s something I felt obligated to write. I’ve always wanted to be a transparent writer.

~Annah

“Because God is graceful, I am Brave.”

My sister sent me a wooden plaque with these words on it and I am so thankful she did. It’s a great reminder.

For those of you who don’t know, I struggle with anxiety and am a bit of a hypochondriac. There is only a handful of people who actually knows this about me. But I want to be honest and share a little bit about my struggle with you.

I started going to counseling this semester because it was really starting to seep into many aspects of my life, especially with the huge transition to college. I have honestly cried more times this school year than ever before and my parents are wonderful for handling me during all of these tough times. But I am blessed to have my counselor, Daryn. She has been great at comforting me and letting me know that everything will be okay.

My case is not super severe, but my family and I agreed that it would be best to start taking care of it now, before it gets any worse. Your mental health is important.

The first time I noticed something abnormal was my sophomore year of high school. It was a rough year for me, with many issues piling on top of each other until one morning I woke up late for school and broke down. I started crying and hyperventilating, and it took me a long time to settle down.

Daryn told me that was a panic attack. I had two similar incidents after that, one while writing an English paper and the other after my baptism–the latter I found a bit odd. But Daryn informed me that they can occur during emotional moments too. Since my baptism a year and a half ago, I have not experienced any and I am incredibly thankful.

I am doing much better than I was last semester. However I am sure there will be tough days ahead of me. Anxiety is not something that just goes away, but it is a continual battle. There will be days when I overthink everything. There will be days when I have to convince myself I’m not dying or have a terminal illness. There will be days when going to bed is scary because it leaves too much room for my anxious thoughts.

BUT…

There is joy to be found.

Not a day will go by without the Lord by my side. I may fall prey to my anxiety sometimes, but God is good and He is graceful. God is jealous for me. He has me in the palm of His hand and He knows my inward parts. I am guaranteed victory in Christ.

“And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:7

I am willing to take on this challenge with God directing me. I will be brave for Him.

~Annah

While I Weep

I sit here crying
Because they don’t know any better.

A ten year old girl
Standing on the brink of a full life
Never saw it coming
That her mother would trade her
For a few pieces of silver

She is used
Abused
And broken

And she knows nothing else.

A thirteen year old boy
Playing star on the basketball team
Was unaware that when he missed
The winning shot
His dad would make sure he never saw victory again

He is beaten
Ashamed
And blamed

And he knows nothing else.

A twenty year old woman
Walking through her campus
Had never imagined
That others would comment “too skinny”
And it would break her

She is stressed
Depressed
And self-harms

And she knows nothing else.

A thirty year old man
Radiating passion in his work
Could not have predicted
That his business would fail
And he had no means to regain composure

He is lost
Powerless
And homeless

And he knows nothing else.

All the while
I sit here crying
For my children
Deserve
But don’t know
Any better.