Volleyball was over. My last semester would be filled with people and memories. The beautiful culmination also meant the end. Excited, expectant, yet nervous, I embarked. My once distant future was near. This was my first time without a sport in my life. This I could prepare for. Jesus was teaching me new things here, new slowness, new peace, new passions.

And just when I thought, I was done learning these things, Jesus took me further. No stranger to heartbreak. I know the piecesmust fall, but it still shatters just as much. My final semester of college rapidly was slipping through my fingers. Spring break was a nice escape to enjoyment. Unknown to the imminent pain right around the corner. I thought I had more time. More moments, more room for growth here. But I didn’t. 

College was over, and I had to accept that. Except it was not completely over, I still had schoolwork which was always my least favorite part. Coming home was not as sweet as normal. The hugs still just as warm, but I was not supposed to be here yet. I was not done. So much unfinished. I thought Jesus was setting up a beautiful ending to this time as a road to all that was next. There was no ending, just a slow fade.

My old life became more distant as the work demanded all of me. Not just the schoolwork, but the work to smile and laugh each day, work to enjoy the change instead of resenting it. Jesus was close, but I was still hurting. Simultaneously no space and way too much of it. I thought I was lonely before. My pain drifted into anger. I did not like it, but I had to be honest. 

My writing and loved ones met me here and picked me up. This slowness Jesus had been calling me to led to simplicity. I was never a big fan, but I trusted Him. There was peace. The more I released my need for quick answers and solutions, the more peace I found. Staying in the moment allowed me to see the fullness of the moment.

Then, this simplicity led to a restored celebration.

I could cherish my family, my environment, and my learning. This semester, instead of leaving wishing I had invested more in my studies, I maximized my studies. I left with fuller classroom relationships and the best academic semester of my life. Jesus kept bringing me back.

Prior to the world being turned upside down I committed to traveling the world for the sake of Jesus. 11 countries in 11 months starting in October with the World Race. Somehow, God sustained and elevated my confidence through this all. I somewhat expected to have come to find out that I had misunderstood Jesus’ leading me here and even asked Him. I am so grateful He responded with a depth of conviction. This world has been unified in heartbreak even more now. Jesus met me with open arms again reminding me how to Love through my heartbreak. This continual embrace I get to carry all along the World Race.

—Today’s blog is by Stephanie Hardy. She was a wonderful student athlete at Emmanuel College. Here is the link to her blog as well as the place to donate for her upcoming adventure: