If you’ve ever watched “Finding Nemo” (and who hasn’t?) you won’t be able to get this song out of your head for the next hour or so: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…” Often, this has been a life motto for me. Except for one small change: “Just keep smiling.” God has opened my eyes to the importance of perspective and gratitude.
Many of us at Point University have experienced so many changes over the past few years. I remember when I first came to Point and it felt like everyone must have been there for years – they were either a student before they started working here or had been here longer than I had been alive! Being a newbie who went to a secular college was quite a rarity. Now I feel like a veteran (five years) and I have seen a lot of changes, and I am so incredibly proud to have been a part of what Point University has become. I have seen departments expand. I have seen our student population grow by leaps and bounds. I have seen Point multiply into five beautiful locations and continue to reach further for the Kingdom. I have seen my own job become a ministry and my co-workers become some of my best friends.
What’s best is I have seen God moving, taking us places we never thought we would go and keeping some of us much longer than we ever thought we would stay. When I came to Point, I thought I would stay 10 months and leave for the rest of my life, but God has a plan, and it is often much different than ours! At times, with all of these changes, I was tired and wanted to leave or just slow down but God opened my eyes to the fact that I was looking at things the wrong way. I was focused on me and my strength (or lack thereof), and I wasn’t choosing to see the awesomeness of what I was getting to be a part of. That’s when I started my motto: Just keep smiling. Looking at things through a positive lens makes life so much more exciting! It reminds us to trust God and His plan and makes each day brighter and more exciting.
At the beginning of this year, I found out my husband and I are going to have a baby (I’ll be in labor on Labor Day!) and, as it turns out, pregnancy can be uncomfortable and I’ve heard labor is even less “fun”. But it has a purpose and I haven’t met a mother yet that didn’t think that their labor and discomfort wasn’t worthwhile.
Romans 8 helped me to better understand that this is true about life too. Sometimes the changes and tougher times can seem painful or can make you weary like a mother in labor, but God has a plan and a purpose, and it is worthwhile if we are willing to see it!
“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:22-28 (The Message)