College years will be some of the greatest years of your life. The countless friendships you’ll create, the many late nights, and the many memories you’ll make are just a glimpse of what college has in store. Many of you incoming freshmen have had your senior year cut short. You’ve missed out on last sports seasons, last dances, and in a lot of areas, graduation ceremonies- things you were certain would happen and things you were looking forward to. In the midst of these times, I want you to look forward to the next chapter- a chapter that will be instrumental in your life.
As I mentioned earlier, my college years have been the greatest years of my life. I have created life-long friendships, had many late nights, and have made memories that I will take with me everywhere. However, the greatest thing about my college years is the memories I missed out on. The late nights I missed out on. The memories I didn’t create. Ironic isn’t it? I am not discrediting the memories I did create because I will remember them forever, but my fondest memories occur away from the campus events, occur away from the friends I created, and occur in the memories I have missed.
I could go on about memories I missed, but I wanted to share with you why the missed memories are the fondest. For me, the missed memories are the fondest because they forced me to fall before Jesus. When my relationships ended and when I couldn’t make the memories everyone else had the chance to make, I was helpless. My circumstances at college are different for some but will relate to some as well. I am an out-of-state student, so tuition and expenses are high. In order to cover them, I have had to work a job while being in school. During most of my years at college, I have lived paycheck to paycheck, hoping there was enough money in my account to pay the upcoming bills. This need to work has kept me from creating those memories I missed. Missing my intramural volleyball championship game because I had to work, cutting my spring breaks short because I can’t afford to take a whole week off from work, and being away from my family on Easter because taking off meant I would not be able to pay the bills.
These are all memories I have missed out on, but they are my fondest, because each of these instances left me broken. They left me searching for comfort. Oftentimes, I looked to the wrong things and remained broken and unfulfilled until I turned to the God of the Universe who gives peace and comfort to the broken. God comforted me in the midst of these moments through the creation of new memories. Bittersweet memories that remind me of the hurt I was feeling, but also of the joy and peace that came after. God is near to the brokenhearted. He is near to the lonely and those who are hurt. He hears those who call out to Him. So, come to college ready to make memories. Make memories with new friends, classmates, and the university. Most importantly, come ready to make memories with the God of the Universe, who desires to know you and be part of your life.
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:5