Wow. In a non-dramatic way, this was the fastest year of my life. I distinctly remember moving back to Biola back in August for my third year of living in Horton and on my floor, Jedidiah, like it was yesterday. I feel as though every aspect of this year has been a surprise, and everything, both good and bad, of how I planned things going, did not happen the way I had anticipated. There was so much good in this year and the thought of being a college senior in a few months is absolutely mind boggling to me— so let us ignore that fact for a quick second and reflect on what junior year was.
I moved into Biola earlier than everyone else due to the fact that I am on the Dance Team. I had just come back from Rwanda, Africa on a mission trip days before, and I spent a lot of the summer traveling around Europe, both for pleasure with my family, and to study in Cambridge. My experiences during the summer continued to teach me the fact that we are called to carry the name of God everywhere we go and we are called to do this well. This is what mission is. I came into Biola for my third year with a mindset of wanting every class I stepped into, every dance practice I had, every interaction I would have on my floor, to be one where I carried the name of God into it, for that is where fruit comes from. This honestly changed the way I saw my year and time at Biola. It was not as a time for me, but for the Lord.
And I needed that, for right when I moved back to Biola and dance team started I was instantly flooded with the same insecurities and fears I always have that are accompanied by dancing, and I saw that others felt the same way. As captain, I knew that the main point of this team needed to be the reflection of Christ and a reminder of the value of who these girls were, and I wanted to bring the Lord into everything we did. Dance dominated a significant amount of my fall semester between practices multiple days a week, huge performances at Biola’s Torrey Conference, Midnight Madness, and weekly fundraisers. It was a very challenging season of dance, not just with the time commitment, but there were also a significant amount of changes that led to many girls feeling frustrated and discouraged a lot of the time. I went through a season of discouragement pretty early on in the semester, one that I was not expecting to have, especially through dance as I was the captain and it was my third year on the team. I thought to myself ‘you have been through this before, why are you discouraged and beaten down?’ However, the Lord showed to me during this time that in seasons where I cannot depend on the strength of others or even the strength of myself, He is truly the only strength I can rely on. I had felt devalued, yet the Lord reminded me that my value was not determined by the words of individuals but who He has called me to be. I never stopped living out of that message I learned over the summer of carrying the name of God wherever I went, but once that message of the value that the Lord has for me reset in, I was able to carry His name with a joy and a hope within me back into practice. Dance played a huge role in my life this year, both in the lessons that it taught me through its highs and lows and the way I grew as an individual. And I will always love an opportunity to do something I am passionate about and perform in front of Biola.
While an unexpected season of discouragement is what started off my school year, a season of pure joy and excitement came from my new job as a Biola Ambassador! I wanted to be an ambassador since I was in high school, and my first two years at Biola I would always see them around and dream about the fact that I wanted to be one. When I was in high school, I felt pretty broken and worthless. I felt as though I was defined by my looks and level of popularity and that I was never going to measure up or be enough. However, in the four days that I stayed at Biola during a Biola Bound my senior year of high school, I felt a more genuine and Christlike love from a community of people than I ever have felt before. From Ambassadors, current Biola students, and fellow prospective ones, I was loved for innately who I was as a sister in Christ. I thought that if these individuals could love me for just who I was as a person, then maybe I could as well. And that has exactly been what this job has allowed me to do. It has allowed us to come alongside families who are questioning their future, their worth, and if they have what it takes, and we get to meet them and love them for innately who they are. And through that, we also formed a team that loved and challenged one another as well. I knew that this brokenness I had felt earlier in my life had shaped me for this desire to come alongside others who were in that same thought during the college decision process. I wanted to remind and serve students and show them that God has a plan for you, He sees you, and He values you for just who you are. All of this reigns true for you too, friend. When we carry the name of God into all of those conversations with prospective students and their families, we are able to remind them of the value that God already sees them with. AND I LOVE MY JOB. It has been such a blessing to go to work and have it not feel like work because I love it.
This year I was also on a Mock Rock team for my third year in a row and I choreographed and coached it for the second year. All of fall semester I worked alongside the other individuals on my storyboard team and we created a Mock Rock story after many, many, many late nights of brainstorming. And when I say late nights I mean 4am. All of spring semester, my choreographer partner and I choreographed multiple dances for the team and we had practices a couple of times a week. Mock Rock is the love of my life— not because it is a lip syncing and dance competition, but because it is so much more. Mock Rock brings a group of people together to grow in genuine community with one another, to do something challenging and new and scary, to grow in confidence, to learn how to love and encourage one another, and to remind and show the love of Christ to each other. As a leader during this, I am able to challenge people, but also remind them that they are capable of doing new things, all while striving to remind them of their value in Christ. We can carry the name of God well into things such as a Mock Rock practice. It absolutely broke my heart that our season was cut short and did not come through to fruition, but I know that Mock Rock still served its purpose. It was still a blessing.
These are some of the big things that made this year what it was, but there were also so many prominent smaller moments. Since I am a junior, I really feel as though my friends and I became more solidified and I had my people who were essentially ‘my people’. Yet I also made a lot of new relationships which was a blessing. Being able to go deeper with your friends after over two years of experiencing life with them allows you to love them fuller and for you to be loved fuller as well. I have lived on the same floor in Horton for all three years and that has allowed me to greatly grow in relationship with my friends there, but also serve and encourage the new freshmen as well. This year consisted of so many beach and surfing trips, Disneyland outings, late night dance parties, late night screaming, honest and growing conversations, and growth with the Lord. Some of my favorite memories of this year include just the times where my friends and I would do absolutely nothing, but we would be dying of laughter and loving one another. I also got a boyfriend this year! Big surprise, big blessing. The Lord has been so good and present through it all.
This year brought a lot. But the Lord brought so much good through the hardship and consistently showed me how He was fighting for my worth to be known and for me to feel loved. He reminded me everyday how all things I do need to be ministry to Him and to carry Him into everything I walk into. He has us both during this time as well. I have continued to learn this year how God’s ways are always higher.
While I know that this year for both you and I did not end the way we wanted to or anticipated, we can still look back and reflect on the ways that the Lord has been faithful. Sometimes we cannot even see the ways that the Lord has been working in our lives until we pause and reflect back. I would challenge you to sit and reflect on the ways that the Lord has been faithful to you! I promise you will see it.
It has been an absolute joy to serve you friends. Always praying for you.