At around 3:45 this afternoon, I submitted my final assignment as an undergraduate student at Mercer University. I'm finished! And what a journey it has been...
Who would have thought, on the day I moved my stuff into a little dorm room in Porter Hall (pictured below) that I would change my major from nursing to psychology, meet great friends who inspired me greatly, develop a heart for people in other nations, meet the love of my life who God would use to further shape that same desire for missions, and lose two other loved ones?
I couldn't have even imagined.
But God did.
A familiar passage that played a huge part in my testimony has come to mind over the last few days. (My father-in-law also quoted this on the eve of our wedding, revealing that it is a passage that has meant a lot to Phil over the years as well.)
"11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord..." -Jeremiah 29:11-14a
As I wrap up a chapter in my life, it is bittersweet.
It is sweet. I am beyond thankful for the lessons I've learned at Mercer, the experiences I've had, the friends I've known, loved, and learned from.
It is a little bitter, too. I get a little teary thinking about my parents at a time like this. I wish they were here, to see me at this point in life. I wish I could look them in the eyes and tell them THANK YOU for the part they played in it. For now, I will simply whisper a word of thanks to God for having wonderful parents like them.
You see, I am more convinced now than ever that God is so loving, so faithful, and so GOOD. All along, He knew what would happen, and all along, He was weaving together a plan for my good and His glory. There was a time about a year ago, right after my mom passed away, that I seriously did not know how I was going to go on. But God has ALWAYS been faithful to me. Through Him and the prayers and support of so many, I've made it to this day.
I am typing this in the home I share with my wonderful husband and I am reminded of how much God has blessed my life just through him. (And that's only ONE example of God's graciousness in my life!) We are excited and hopeful as we look into the future God has for us.
We have only been married less than two months, and we feel blessed beyond measure. We had so much love poured on us in the months leading up to the wedding, during the celebration, and afterwards. God continues to provide and will continue still. We have everything we need.
With that said, I want to share something that has been heavy on my heart lately. I have everything I need, but there are millions around the world who don't. I am free, but there are millions around the world who are not. (For more information, go to www.enditmovement.com). I don't know what it is like to be in literal captivity, but I do know what is like to be in a seemingly hopeless place. I believe God has a heart for the hopeless and oppressed (Psalm 103:6). I believe He is a just God who works out His plan in every situation.
I want to join Him in this work of justice for those who are oppressed. I want to celebrate my graduation from college by doing this. Instead of gifts and money for graduation, I would love to see God use me and others to bring justice and hope for those who have none. The International Justice Mission is an organization that works daily to make this happen. In their core commitments, they make this statement:
In the tradition of heroic Christian leaders like abolitionist William Wilberforce and transformational leaders like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., IJM's staff stand against violent oppression in response to the Bible's call to justice (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. (www.ijm.org)
Would you consider joining me in helping this organization bring justice for the oppressed? I want to celebrate my college graduation with this BECAUSE it is only by the grace of God that I made it through! He is so good and faithful, and I want others to be free and know this God as well!
The link below will take you directly to my campaign page, where you can make a donation for freedom! Be sure to take a look at what IJM does. (Just for one example, they actual raid brothels and rescue girls from slavery! WOW!)
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for joining me in funding and praying for the IJM and organizations like it that seek justice!
All for His glory.