My sister, Stacy Christiansen, wrote a letter to the college kids from her church. It’s beautiful, and so much can be applied to our lives. Enjoy!
Guess what? It’s me again. Stacy C. When Pastor Amy asked if I would mind writing letters two months in a row to the Good Shepherd college students, I said no. But I secretly wondered what I could possibly write to you about.
Last month, I had the audacity to talk about “the relief that comes from a much-needed break from classes.” Let me be abundantly clear – I was talking about a week. Spring Break. A chance to unwind. I was NOT talking about all of us hunkering down and trying to remember to sing happy birthday twice while staring at ourselves in the bathroom mirror. Oh, and wondering about toilet paper and bread.
But our family has been struggling this past week or so, and I’m betting yours has too. While there may be guides on how to get through this pandemic (handwashing, social distancing, and a lot more handwashing), I haven’t found anything that adequately covers how to get through the wide range of emotions that we are all feeling. And I think that college students, maybe more so than any other age group, are being uniquely affected.
Colleges are shut down. Friends scattered with little to no warning. Your daily routine has been more than disrupted – everything has altered: from where you sleep, to where you go, to who you see. And when it will be back to normal is completely undetermined.
Fear. Gratefulness. Anger. Sorrow. Happiness. Frustration. Dread.
I’m betting you’re cycling through them so rapidly that you can’t even process them all.
So, let me reassure you – it’s perfectly normal to be feeling both relieved and resentful if you are suddenly back at your parents’ house when you were expecting not to be there until at least the first week of May. It’s okay to miss your friends. Your freedom. The opportunities. The what-ifs. And if you’re still at school, trying to adapt to a new way of learning and studying, the same is true. It’s okay to be relieved that you still have a bit of a routine but resentful that you are NOT back at home when so many others are.
Speaking solely as a Christian mom here (and not a Biblical scholar), I have a couple of thoughts that might help you during this crazy crazy time:
1) Jesus showed emotion. And I’m not just talking the obvious – the big one – LOVE. Jesus also cried and got angry. (Hint: John 11 and Matthew 21). For me, I take comfort in the fact that we are created in God’s image. And if His son got angry or showed grief? Maybe it’s okay – NORMAL – for us, too.
2) Although “Thou Shall Not Fear” is not technically one of the commandments – it’s in the Bible so often, maybe it should have been. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God said it so much. He knew that we were going to struggle with fear – He knew that I was going to struggle with it – so he covered it early and often.
So, I’ll close with my latest God sighting. Several weeks ago, Pastor Amy had a “stress buster” weekend for the current FLY kids. Late that Saturday night, my youngest texted me one phrase “Isaiah 43:2” with no explanation or context. (Some would say a teenage boy texting his Mom for something other than money or a ride is ALSO a God sighting). After I googled it, I’ve kept the verse open on my phone. How awesome that I’ve had this reminder; I hope you like/remember it:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;the flames will not set you ablaze.
(Okay, so maybe I needed that more than you did.)
Please know that you have a community of people who care about you. We may be giving you virtual elbow bumps from a distance – but know that you and the struggles you are facing – and the emotions you are feeling – are important. We’re keeping you in our prayers.