As a child and teenager, I was always reminded of the Fourth Commandment: Honor your father and your mother.
Obviously, I should have been doing that anyway … but I was too busy talking back and rolling my eyes to remember.
Once I moved out and lived on my own—first at college, then as a working adult—I thought my days of obeying my parents were over. After all, I didn’t live under their roof anymore, so I got to make my own rules in my own home!
“I want to do something that matters,” Jack said as we were having coffee at the local shop. Jack is a twenty-year-old college student who began to attend our church recently. I hosted a college meet-up in our local coffee shop, and we were talking about what we were looking forward to in the coming year. Our group almost collectively, as if on cue, lowered their gaze and nodded almost imperceptibly in acknowledgment of Jack’s comment. I asked the small group if they felt like they had done something meaningful in their lives so far. At first, there was silence, which rang so loudly in my head. Then, Corinne said the classes she was taking were somewhat meaningful, but she felt an itch to do something deeper that excited her.
As our group talked through their hopes and dreams for the new year, it was tough to let go of Jack’s comment. Each of the young adults agreed on some level—almost as though each of them was hoping for a significance that they felt they lacked. I prayed a quiet prayer.
Friday, January 24, 2020, marked the 47th annual March for Life in Washington, DC. Each year, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children walk in protest through Capitol Hill on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions across America. This year’s march theme focused on the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920.
The year is coming to an end. At the beginning of 2019, many of us set resolutions or goals for ourselves. You may have chosen to try and lose those extra pounds or to put more money away to save up for something big. Continuing to work toward a goal for 365 days is a big task. Lots of people (including myself) have trouble executing this. Throughout the year, things come up that you may not expect. Your life may alter a bit, and your attention can’t always be focused on that goal you set for yourself in January. By the time you get to December, you see your resolution fading. You may be asking, “Why didn’t I try harder?” or “Am I weak?”
Autumn is my favorite time of year. Looking outside, you can see the trees changing colors and the leaves falling. It is almost therapeutic. You see the landscape around you change year after year. Change is imminent. Change can also bring a new chapter of your life. This chapter may be exciting but also completely terrifying. Not knowing what will happen can make life that much more stressful.
Arnav is a student at a state university. He was involved in youth group in high school, and he attended church regularly—at least twice a month. As he entered college, however, he found himself unsure and out of his element. Friendships he had known since middle school were now spread out across the country, and, according to what he saw on Instagram, all of them seemed to be happily settling in. Arnav, though, was not happily settling in. Since starting college, he has felt sad and upset. If he were honest, he would he would have to admit that he is lonely. He feels an awful lot like he did at the beginning of middle school, except he can’t go home and the stakes seem so much higher now.
This post is the third in a three-part series about ministering to those who are walking with Jesus in their post-high school and pre-family-of-their-own years.
After I graduated high school and went to college, I didn’t stop going to my home church. Since I lived in the same town as I had before, I didn’t feel the need to leave. Rather, I avoided my campus ministry at first because I thought that there was no point in going to a new ministry when I already had one. I eventually found my way to the campus ministry in town; my brother, on the other hand, traveled two and a half hours south to go to school in St. Louis, and found a church home far away. Since he now had a new congregation for the next four years, there wasn’t really a reason for his first church home to keep in contact with him, right?