During the 30 days leading up to my 30th birthday, I am posting a letter a day expressing thankfulness for someone or something that has played a major role in shaping the first 30 years of my life.
(I have missed a couple of days in the past week,
so some days may have two letters as I get caught up)
I loved the open office doors of the faculty members at JBU. I know I could have made great friends and could have received a decent education at a lot of universities, but one of the things that I believe is a distinctive of JBU is the involvement of faculty in the lives of the students. Thank you for the role you have played at the school for the past 14 years. Thank you for expressing warmth and kindness even though your role often calls on you to act as a disciplinarian.
My years at JBU landed me in your office a number of times, as I sought your guidance on how to handle some tough issues. Being in a student leadership role was always a blessing, but it came with a price. At a university that maintains a few restrictions in order to encourage students to make life-giving choices, it was sometimes very difficult to be in leadership positions. Both as an R.A. my sophomore year, and then in working with student ministries the next two years, I found myself in positions numerous times where I felt I was walking a tightrope. If I fell to one side, I would jeopardize my own integrity and trustworthiness. If I fell to the other side, I would lose friendships. Whether or not you realized it, you helped me walk that line. You helped coach me through some grace AND truth situations, when I could only see how to apply either/or. Thank you for helping students navigate such uncomfortable and vital lessons in discipleship.
Thank you also for speaking encouragement over me. I will never forget a conversation we had my junior year. I was emotionally exhausted and so discouraged from a situation I was dealing with that affected me both personally and in my role with the small group ministry on campus. I remember that after we talked through the action plan of what steps I needed to take, you told me that I reminded you of Lucy, from the Chronicles of Narnia. You said that you saw me as a person God had equipped to come alongside others after the battle to help tend to their wounds. I know the Holy Spirit was speaking through you when you said those words to me, because they resonated so deeply in my heart. Your words helped fortify me during a weary season. They helped shape my identity. When I decided to pursue my Master's degree in counseling, I thought of your words and counseling made sense. I have prayed many times that God might use words of mine to provide the same seeds of truth in the life of others.
Thank you so much for being a faithful steward of the influence God has given you.