I just completed my undergraduate degree at SPU and I'm in a weird place. Last year I decided to apply for a position within CIS. I've worked in CIS since I was a freshman in 2004 and during my senior year, while I was hesitant about working full-time and taking a full-load of classes, I decided to become staff. Who'd have thought this last year would be so hard and yet so fullfulling at the same time.
I certainly had my low points. Winter quarter was always the hardest quarter for me because it was hard to get motivated and be happy when the weather stayed so grey. It also seemed to be the time of the year that I took the hardest courses for the year and felt like I really needed to focus on studying. This year it was extremely difficult to be cheery. I felt like I was floundering and couldn't keep my head above water. I talked to my mom about it and she said something to the effect of, "Karen, if you feel like you're ahead of the game, then something isn't quite right. None of us ever feel like we're doing great. If we are, it's because we've not taken into account something important or we've stopped caring and trying to do our best." While that makes sense, it was difficult to see how that would help my situation. I honestly felt like I had nowhere to go. I was in a crowd and I was lost. I didn't know which direction to go or who to turn to. Now, I do believe in Jesus and I suppose the Christian response would be, pray and turn to Jesus. While I believe that's true and effective, I also believe that we're given brains and are capable of making choices. It meant that I couldn't just sit and wait to hear something or feel something. I needed to make decisions and keep going. It was a constant struggle and in the end, I certainly felt a sense of accomplishment. God gave me the fortitude to keep going when things didn't look pretty.
I pulled off one of the best quarters (GPA-wise) I've ever had during my four years at SPU. A great accomplishment for me considering my freshman year as an epic failure for me. Work-wise, things started falling into place during spring quarter and while things aren't perfect, they're not bad and I am grateful for the people around me in CIS. They're all encouraging in their own way and each member brings something different to the table.
However, as much as I love the job I do and the people I work with, there are times that I wonder if I should be doing something more or something different. It's hard because all of the friends I've made at SPU are going off to do amazing things and are leaving Seattle. It's a bittersweet feeling because you know these people are going to be great and do amazing things, but at the same time, they're moving on and away....away from me. It's a little lonely when I think about it. I'm all for meeting new people and making friends, but these are the people who supported me through some of the toughest situations in my life and have seen me at my best and worst. I'm staying put and they're traveling the world. There's a part of me that feels like I'm not really moving on. The reason that's not true though, is because I have so many challenges in being a staff member. My patience is put to the test daily and sometimes, I think I don't respond in the way I should; full of grace, mercy and justice. Micah 6:8 comes to mind. It's a difficult verse to live up to but you can't argue with these words:
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" - Micah 6:8 NIV
So, I have learned a multitude of things about who I am, what I believe, who I want to be and much more. I do not want my past to dictate who I become, but it will always be there. I can't totally get rid of it, but I can use everything I've learned to become someone better. I'm a work in progess. I hope and pray that the people who meet me realize I am just human. I want to be better, but that there will be times when I don't or can't meet people's expectations. I am me. I am Karen. I am someone who doesn't know where the end is and someone who struggles. Life isn't always beautiful. There is a darker side to life, but that doesn't mean I've lost hope and think that things can change and will be better. After all, check out my last year of college. I have a diploma and the doors are wide open. There's nothing I can't do and I can be who I want to be and most importantly, I can be the woman God intended me to be without embarassment. I am proud of my accomplishments and whatever the future holds, let it come. I'm ready to face the unknown.