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college and coffee shops

Hello! I'm taking a break from cleaning out junk in preparation to hopefully move into a house of our own soon. I (might) have a few minutes of quiet while the girls are (supposed to be) taking naps. Nope, too late, I heard the two year old, but hopefully she can entertain herself for a little while.

As the student minister and wife at our church, we had the privilege this weekend of going to visit some students at Mississippi State University as they participated in a Baptist Student Union welcome event for the school year. We even were able to travel alone because a family at home offered to watch the girls for the entire weekend! Woohoo! It was super nice to be able to visit a coffee shop and sit and drink my coffee and even work on this website without having to chase a child, tame screaming, or fix a problem. Big smile on my face!

Even though the weekend was not for me, I enjoyed just listening and being a part of God's message being spoken. It reminded me of how God worked in my life as a college student and how important He was in leading me where I am today. I am super-strong-willed and if I had not had the parents I had, I wonder of I would have turned out the same way. I was taught God's authority in my life and that He is everything to us. Without Him, life is essentially meaningless. Because I had parents who demonstrated Christ, when college came and I was on my own, and accountable to God more so than my parents, I knew what I believed and had the ability to stand strong for Him and be teachable.

Based on my observations, it is vital to be solely committed to Christ going into college. It is essential as high school seniors to be prepared in the way that they know what they believe, why the believe it, and have the courage to stand for it. College is a place where students can easily be drawn away from Christ or be drawn closer to Him than ever before. The question is their commitment.

It made me think about my commitment to Him. I want to be sure that in my life, I don't just serve Christ because I have always done it, but because I choose to grown in Him daily. I must ask myself the following question: Is Christ everything to me? I will ask you the same. Is Christ everything to you? Is He what you want at the end of the day? It seems to me so many times, working with teenagers that as long as the child has a football scholarship, everything is fine. As long as the child is well-liked at school and made homecoming court, everything is fine. Church can happen as long as nothing else is going on. This is doing nobody any good and certainly is not reaching our lost world, with real people dying and going to hell, for Christ.

I'm certainly not trying to be legalistic here, everyone misses church at times - church attendance isn't the way to measure a person's devotion to Christ. Many people attend church and are really "mean" people who don't represent Christ! What I AM saying is that our priorities will be evidenced by where we choose to spend our time. People who are committed to Christ will naturally spend time where He is working, and hopefully that is their local church.

I understand this is a sensitive subject. Many students have practices on Wednesday nights or travel for games on weekends. Not every coach or every teacher is a Christian or understanding about students' church priorities. This is where it gets real! This is a teaching opportunity for parents! This is where students learn how to stand up for their commitment to Christ. There is no right answer or easy solution for sure. As a parent, I want to do my very best to demonstrate where my devotion is so my children can see it and it can useful for their spiritual training.

I was a cheerleader in high school and college. As I began to prepare for college tryouts, some open gym times were available on Sunday nights. It was important to me because it was with the University of Kentucky cheerleaders where I would receive individual attention! I'll take that. Yes, please! My parents and I discussed it and by the time I was a senior, I already knew where my commitment was but leaned on my parents' wisdom too. I ended up going to church with my family and participating in my student ministry event and worship service and went late to open gym. I don't pretend it's always this easy. I see students who will get cut from a team if they try to compromise with coaches and practice. I have students and parents work with coaches and it work out well and I have seen students and parents saddened because it did not work out the way they had hoped.

I once chose to attend fall revival at my college which took place during cheerleading practice. I told my coach ahead of time. When I returned to practice the next day, the girl and I who had attended revival were punished by having to run what people loving referred to as "hell hill." Yep, that hurt. A lot. I was mad. I thought it was totally unfair. Not to mention embarassing as the whole team watched. Really, though, what a small price to pay for what Christ did for us.

If you are a student, know you are getting a chance to own your faith as these struggles come up. It's not fun but Christ will do great things in your life when you honor Him. Parents, get excited as you get to demonstrate and show how to live what a devoted follower of Christ looks like that will change them forever. And we must remember that as parents we have an awesome responsibility to God to show them God! As nervous as that makes me, we also get to watch them learn to make Godly choices and live Godly lives as they become young men and women! Have a great day, y'all! I know this challenges me and I hope it challenges you as well! Praying for you students and praying for you parents!

Go Gators, by the way! I'm not from Mississippi :)



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