It seems bizarre to me that there’s only one semester left of my undergrad. It seems like just yesterday I was a scared freshman in a little mountain town with no earthly idea who I wanted to be when I grew up. Technically, I’m graduating a year early so it actually wasn’t that long ago that I was a freshman, but still. Time seems to be rushing by faster and faster, like a ferris wheel that never stops turning.
I can’t help but remember when, in my first year of college, I felt so alone and worthless that I headed to the shower on my hall and just cried. Some guy had just called me ugly, I was simultaneously dealing with another guy who wouldn’t leave me alone, and I didn’t have many friends. I thought the steam and my music blaring could drown out the sorrow, bury my pain, but someone inevitably heard me. All of a sudden, a package of Reese’s peanut butter cups was slid under my door with a little note of encouragement. That small gesture was a whisper, you’re not alone. This town may be small and it’s freezing and unfamiliar, but you aren’t alone.
In that moment, shame and worthlessness and loneliness had seeped its way into my skin. I didn’t know if I would ever feel better. I worried that life would always seem this muddy and dark. But a complete stranger showed me light. A complete stranger showed me love. And she didn’t have to, that’s for sure.
I had completely forgotten that incident until yesterday. When I realized that the same girl who was depressed, shivering on a mountain was about to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and pursue grad school. The same girl who was felt so alone is now surrounded by an uplifting community in a completely new city.
If you are the girl shivering in the shower, mascara streaming down your cheeks, body racked with sobs, please know that I see you. I know you. And it gets better. Time is a curious thing. It heals wounds, it always moves forward. You aren’t alone.
There’s no wound so deep, so consuming that Jesus can’t heal. There’s no season so dark that light can’t break through. There’s no walk of life that is so hopeless that one can’t move forward.
If I could go back, tell the girl in the shower one thing, it would be this: stop looking to other people for reassurance that you’re okay. You are okay. You have been given grace. You are redeemed. You are chosen. You are loved. Because someone died for you-not the you that has it all together-the you that’s in the shower consumed with pain. That’s how great Jesus’ love is for us. That’s how mighty. That’s how wonderful.
To whoever shoved that Reese’s under my stall door-thank you. Thank you for showing me Jesus in that moment (even if you didn’t mean to) because Jesus is love. Thank you for giving me the strength to keep going. I promise to pay it forward.