It’s amazing how my life has come together in these last four years. And I thought I had it together after high school. These last four years have been a whirlwind of learning, grieving, growing, praying, and bonding. I started this blog on January 20, 2012, one semester into my college career. I wanted a place where I could share college with people and write down some memories. Little did I know I’d be recording quite a journey…
Freshman year I remember moving into Milton Daniel and being so excited to start my college career. Except, that went away when my mom actually left campus and left me there. That first weekend, I thought, what am I going to do? What do you do on weekends in college? I didn’t know hardly anybody at TCU. I’d gone through frog camp only and the few things I knew were that TCU’s campus was beautiful, I was a nursing major, and I felt very far away from home. It didn’t take me long to find some great friends and start out my adventures with classes, with eating in a big, scary dining hall called the BLUU, figuring out how to maneuver around in my small dorm, and be a part of HIS, the Christian sorority on campus. It was quite the task. God was there for me when everything started happening. I started feeling upset about things in my family. I missed Colorado. I worried about my family members. I remember going into a friend’s room second semester and just crying my eyes out after a certain event as my heart broke because somebody had broken my sister, and I didn’t know how to respond. God knew exactly what was coming for me. I remember finding a relationship that came into my life at just the right time. Like I said, God knew what was coming. He put people in all the right places around me. When I failed my Anatomy class, I thought, “Well, gee, if I can’t pass the basic nursing class at TCU, how in the world am I ever going to be a nurse?!” I overestimated my studying abilities (thanks high school…). But I didn’t let that stop me. That next summer I took A&P 1 and 2 at UNT and got As in both. Now how does that work out exactly…still trying to figure that one out. Needless to say, I didn’t fail a class ever again. Swimming was not a part of my life as I had originally thought it would be. That was a difficult transition. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Turns out I probably should have been studying. I learned how to two-step this year. I made some great memories with great friends. I entered into a relationship that would end up saving a part of me I would’ve otherwise have lost. That summer I had to find a new endocrinologist who labeled me as a non-compliant diabetic when really, I’m the most compliant diabetic you will ever meet. Sure, my A1c was a bit high, but it’s hard treating your blood sugars, especially when I was under so much stress. It wasn’t exactly my first priority.
Sophomore year was a hard year. I was consistently frustrated with my dad. I was consistently frustrated with things going on in my family. I sat down and cried many a time because I felt bits and pieces of my heart falling away around me. I felt so alone at times. But God sustained me. He put people near me who I needed and He gave me the opportunity to have some of the best roommates ever. My grandpa died in 2012. That was a hard day. I sat at work trying to cheerfully greet people who walked through the door and I couldn’t hold a smile because I just wanted to cry. I remember struggling and struggling to find my place in what was going on at home. I had a hard time separating that from my nursing life. Nursing school got more complicated as I started my first semester of clinicals and my first really long hours of studying. God was there in those moments too. My mom moved to Texas this year. I struggled with that decision because I lost the house I had grown up in. It was nice having my mom so close, but boy, I missed that house. At the same time my dad called to tell me he was engaged to his girlfriend. That I didn’t like hearing very much. In conclusion, I didn’t have my house left in Colorado, I heard from my dad maybe every few weeks, I couldn’t connect with my sister, my mom had been through so much and we were left to support each other, and school was hard. I was tired and emotionally exhausted. I felt like my life was falling apart.
Junior year started. This was also a very difficult year. Again, I struggled to find my place and purpose in supporting my family when they needed me. My grandma now lived with my mom. She had Alzheimer’s and this started a whole new set of difficulties in my mom’s house in Texas. We had caregivers there 24/7, I couldn’t go home without staying at my Aunt’s house. Not that I minded, but I couldn’t go home all the same. Seeing my grandma every day with her variable health was hard on my family and especially hard on my mom. It was hard to see her like that. School was even more difficult and I was about to go through my maternity rotation. My sister now lived in Texas. We then discovered, the day my mom picked me up for Christmas break, that I was going to be an aunt. This all now took quite a bit of adjustment. Madison made the brave decision to adopt her baby out. It was a hard decision for all of us. Madison and I are adopted but it is quite another story when you’re on the other end of it. I was there for everything when the baby came into the world. It was such a wonderful miracle to see a healthy baby and I knew everything I needed to know about pregnancy because of my very recent maternity rotation. I remember thinking, “Haha, God, you’re super funny, I get it!” But thanks be to God, my sister and I both learned some very valuable life lessons. We started to connect again. Life still went on and I was emotionally spent. I had friends back at school who were constantly there for me and I would not have gotten through all of this without them. I again struggled with bitterness towards my dad for a multitude of reasons. In fact, I felt he was the one who left me to pick up the pieces and put together what he had left behind. God has helped me work through some of my bitterness and anger in these situations. There were times during these last two years that all I could do was sit down and cry.
**Disclaimer: My dad is a good man and I will always love him, he loves me and my sister and would do anything for us, but we are all human and I speak from my perspective here. It is hard for a child to see the father want to leave their family at any age.**
Senior year finally began! Here I was, already a senior in college never dreaming what I would’ve gone through. The summer before this year I cared for my grandma for a weekend. That was quite an interesting experience. It’s different when you take care of patients in the hospital, but this was my grandma. My grandma passed away a couple weeks ago, right before I was going to graduate, and I remember going to a long twelve/thirteen hour clinical that same day and wishing I could just go home to my family and be with my mom and sister. I hardly had time to let the news sink in. God had stripped down my life until I had nothing left in me to fight back. My false idols like swimming, good grades, and façade of having it all together were gone. I had to rely on Christ alone. That was the only way I got through college. Every time I felt that I was alone, God showed me that I wasn’t. It’s completely amazing how God works. So, this year was hard but I went into this year with a new outlook. God takes care of His children. God took care of me. He provided for me when I needed it. And, this year, yet again, I would need to rely on Him. To graduate TCU with honors, you need a 3.5 GPA. Well, with nursing, that is super hard, and I had to add another class and get all As in my final classes in order to achieve that. Well, God pulled me through and gave me that honor! I wrote a thesis on Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy (let me know if you want to read it!), partially inspired by my sister, my maternity rotation, and my own struggle of having diabetes. It is absolutely amazing how God came full circle in my college career. And, I know both my grandparents will watch me receive my nursing degree as I walk across the stage on Saturday.
I think overall, I have learned so much about myself, about my family, and about what it means to truly follow Christ. I have come through these four years of intense internal struggle with a smile. God put that smile there because I would not be anything today if I didn’t have Christ carrying me through these last four years. God kept that smile on my face. God pulled me through every heartbreak and held together every piece of my shattered heart. My sister has the biggest heart out of anybody and cares about everyone around her despite some of the treatment she has received from people. My mom has been through a lot, but has been a stronghold through everything. My family is coming together to see me graduate. This upcoming graduation day signifies more than just the completion of a nursing degree and spanish minor in four years. God has helped me persevere through the impossible. Without some of the people in my life that God blessed me with, I would be in a much worse place. If I did not have my faith, I would be in a much worse place. The countless tears I cried, the priceless hugs from friends, the countless hours of studying, the sleepless nights of worry, the fun times I had, the humbling of my heart…God pulled me through it all. And I smile because I know God will never forsake me. God will never leave me alone, and there were reasons for all the hardship. It is not all over by any means, but this was a transformation like I have never experienced before. Let me know if you’d like to talk about life. I will tell you again and again how God is the one who pulled me through and how He will also pull you through the tough times. I’ll still struggle with things about my parents’ relationship, I’ll still struggle with my health, I’ll still struggle with finding my place in the nursing world, but I know God has a plan. And I am willing to go through it. As my sister so eloquently puts it:
“…your past and your present is what shapes your future. What you do now, with the life you have, is so important to become the person you envision [or that God envisions]. Never let life or people bring you down, when it’s you and those who support you who matter. You truly find where you stand in times like these. I just pray that God will allow me to follow His guidance through all of this and that despite the hardships, He will turn me into the beacon He desires me to become.”
“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.”
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”