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Hard as Nails Ministries
Dear Freshman Me

Dear Freshman Me

By:  Anne Marie Schlueter August 17, 2021
#AmazingNation, #Courage, #Live, #Trust

When I got back on campus my sophomore year (with puffy, bruised cheeks from wisdom teeth surgery-- I looked like a green chipmunk), I remember thinking, “Wow, this is so much better than freshman year. I feel like I’m going to spend the rest of my life thankful that I’m not a freshman anymore.”

And, honestly...yeah, that’s kind of real, because freshman year is hard.  But I feel the same way about the beginning of anything, even my relationship with my fiance. The awkwardness and unfamiliarity is striking, when you look back from the comfort of feeling at home.

However, that hard season is necessary for the building of something greater. The beams of a house, the pouring of the concrete, the scribblings of construction people, aren’t aesthetically pleasing, but they are beautiful, because they are laying the foundation of something greater.

Oh, freshman, you’re growing roots. And whether you’re enjoying this year or not yet, it gets so much better. It’s okay when it’s messy, uncomfortable, and hard, and I have no advice for you on how to avoid the feelings that come from being in a new place, trying to figure out a new life rhythm, with new people.

My advice on all of that would be this: press into the discomfort. Because your heart can be formed in the fire and guess what? God is present in the discomfort. Don’t avoid it, and don’t act like it’s not there. Welcome it, and realize that God is moving in it. He has a plan for you, here.

Speaking of that plan, you’re here for such a time as this. I need you to believe that. YOU are at the school you’re at, with the people that you’re with, at this exact moment for a reason that is far bigger than you’ll be able to comprehend. You carry the Presence of God into every conversation you have and into every classroom you sit in. You have a part of Father’s heart that no one else has. Your history with Him is significant.

When you start having ideas for things (if you haven’t already), don’t wait to graduate. Don’t wait until you have it all figured out. I spent my college years getting really messy-- we didn’t have women’s ministry, really, or worship nights when I started, so I started lots of things that had to do with those two things, because that’s what I was super passionate about. I didn’t wait for a leadership position before I started to lead, because my position as a daughter of the King was enough for me to start doing what He had put on my heart.

You can hear His voice. You know His heart.

Don’t over spiritualize the funk. Set a schedule and stick to it. Live ordered; make your bed, don’t drink lots of soda, don’t do a million late night McDonald’s runs. Don’t turn to comfort food, turn to the Consoler, Jesus. If you just feel blegh, check yourself: have you been drinking water? Have you been sleeping enough? Most importantly, have you been prioritizing time for prayer?

Oh, and guess what? You don’t know everything, and it’s okay. It’s okay when you forget people’s names or you don’t know how to print or you feel weird going to the cafeteria by yourself on week four. You are the only person who expects you to know everything. No one else does.

It’s so important to cultivate a spirit of humility, because this is how we bring Jesus to the world. We won’t be able to love well (God, ourselves, or the people around us) if we have this need to appear perfect, or need to prove something.

This flows over into your friendships: approach people with wonder and awe, excited to discover the heart of Father present in them.
Being a good listener and being thoughtful is HUGE.

Be with people who make you feel good about yourself; people who welcome you and steward your worth. But realize: friendships take time, and you’ve got to put that in. If you don’t have plans on a Friday night, you’re not a loser.

These are all things that I wish I would have known as a freshman, and I had to walk through some hard stuff to get ingrained in my heart. But the beauty of that whole year is that the Lord did not abandon me, and I learned to be patient with myself. That year, I really wanted to read a bunch of blog posts and learn everything that way.

But the Lord led me into the depths of my heart and the depths of His heart-- He brought up woundedness that I had been running from for years, and He continued a healing journey I hadn’t even been aware that I’d been on.

So if you take anything away from my words, let it be this: Jesus is with you. He’s with you right now, and He’s proud of you. You’re amazing, and you’re going to learn amazing things this year, and you’re going to do amazing things. The hard and messy aren’t ends in themselves; He’s the Potter, and He’s working the clay that is your heart.

Receive it all as a love letter from Him. I’m so excited for how He’s going to love you this year, and all the years to come! I’m praying for you.


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