Freshman Year: Home

As my freshman year of college is finishing up, I thought it would be fun to share with y’all a few things I’ve learned. This week I am talking about how I found Home five hundred miles away from the place I’ve call home for the last fifteen years.

The biggest blessing that God has given me this year was an amazing roommate. Going into college I thought, "whatever I’ll just go random on roommates" and really didn’t think any more about it. At the end of July, just after I was told I got a second concussion within two weeks, I got a text saying “Hey this is random but I’m your roommate for next year.” Other than saying what comforters we had, we really didn’t text or talk at all and I forgot to even think about what she would be like. The first night we spent together, I felt God nudge my heart and ask if we could pray together before bed. This small act of prayer is now a nightly routine that I believe has shaped our friendship. Creating a life together off of a foundation that God is the center has changed my life.

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and specifically Caledonia, I am as white as I can be. I had never had an African-American friend. Getting to know Ibi never scared me, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. Honestly, of all the things I have learned from my friendship with Ibi and the little differences in our backgrounds, the more I see how irrational racism is. Growing up, we would often regard these cultural differences as “black culture,” and I realized this year that my heart was never willing to try and love those who really looked different than me. I have been so blessed that Ibi is willing to have conversations with me and discuss racial issues. I know that in my past I have clearly sinned in the way of judging others, putting myself above them, and never giving them an even playing field to start on. It’s fair to say that if God had not put Ibi and I together, I honestly don’t know if I would have been kind enough to step out and get to know the person that God created her to be. I wouldn't have been able to experience the light that she is for me. I don’t mean to talk in a condemning way, but I also think that it’s important to evaluate our hearts and the things that we become numb to. I have seen God work through my heart and give me a friend I am endlessly thankful for.

Ibi, you are my greatest supporter and I am forever grateful for you. You see my goals and my dreams and never doubt or put me down. You are incredibly smart and so beautiful and I can’t wait until the day that you’re a lawyer and picking up your kids in a BMW. You have a heart of gold and I can’t express how thankful I am for you. You have opened my eyes to so many things and you keep me in check. You’re a blessing.

Creating deep, Christ-centered relationships have helped me build a home here in Tennessee, and I am so excited for the next few years and to see what God has planned. I hope you all enjoyed!

-SJ