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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finis

I am done. Finals are over, papers are written and handed in, and all that's left is to await my fate (the grades). My first semester in seminary is over. I'm one semester closer to getting my Master's degree. How crazy is that?!

This semester was, in a word, amazing. I wouldn't change a single moment of it, and, as I look back on the memories I've made, I can't wait to see what awaits me next semester! I've made incredible friends. Friends who have made me laugh until tears poured down my face and friends who I've had deep, spiritual conversations with and who have encouraged me greatly. I've made friends for a season and others for a lifetime. Each friend is so special to me in their own way. I love them deeply, not for what they've done for me or how they make me feel, but because God has chosen for that friendship to take root and grow. It is because of Christ that I love them so much.

And in some ways, I don't like to use the word "love" since it has become such an empty word in our culture. But how else am I to explain the depth of what I feel for these wonderful people? How else can I express how much I care for them... how loyal I am to them... that they mean more to me than they could possibly ever know? If they knew, even just a smidgen, of how they've impacted me, I think they'd all be flabbergasted! It's amazing how much influence we can have on someone. This has been heard before, but it's true: even a smile can change someone's outlook, since a smile isn't just a facial contortion of the muscles. It's an expression of the heart. A true smile encompasses caring and encouragement - love and genuineness. No wonder its effect is so strong!

All that said, I genuinely and deeply love the friends God has given me (and I don't mean that as a cliche - at all!).

And now, as I begin to pack (cram) my suitcases full of clothes, gifts, and memories from seminary that will come home with me for the next six weeks, I eagerly look forward to seeing my "old" friends. These friends have deeper roots in my heart, since they have known me for far longer than my current friends. (And, may I point out, they haven't run screaming... yet.) I look forward to catching up for lost time with them over the past five months. I look forward to laughs and great conversations (I'm notorious for four-hour conversations - be warned!). And of course - Christmas, my favorite time of the year.

Switching back to my original topic (very easily distracted, too, as you can see): this semester has been amazing in other ways than just friends. I've grown a lot. Coming here, I thought I knew pretty much everything about myself. I thought I had myself figured out - my personality, character, likes/dislikes, etc. I've found that I didn't know as much as I thought I did. I've uncovered some more "yucky" parts of myself, as well as seeing progress in my life. God has been so good to allow me to see such things, even when I was being pig-headed and pouty about not getting my way. (Very much the "only child" in me!) And all that God has taught me is another post, for another day. It's simply too much to write right now!

Suffice to say, I can't wait to see what next semester will bring. Perhaps more hurts and failures along with deepening friendships? Bring it on! I now know the value in the struggle of the flesh, and I welcome it, since God uses it for growth. Why be scared of pain? If I let myself get scared, then I would be living a shell of a life - and that is no life at all.

3 comments:

Daniel's Mom said...

Ahhh this brings back memories,Stef. It's awesome to see how you are growing! I am so glad you've made some incredible friends there. I miss my college friends dearly! You remind me of myself any many ways,or when I was in college. Enjoy it and cherish it! *hugs* And thanks for your comment it meant a lot. I miss you girls at bloop and our lil' circle there so much!

Anne Marie said...

Stefanie <3 I'm so glad to count myself as one of the "new friends"... I've loved getting to know you. Yeah, I said love! haha.
Have a blast at home, and come back to me soon!!!

Melody said...

*gentle chuckles* I just knew that God had something great planned for you when you first mentioned going to seminary. Reading over this post just brought those thoughts back to my mind.

Blessings my sister and joy to you this Christmas season...