Life is hard. Even when life is beautiful, it’s still hard. There are days where crying seems like the only option, even knowing that all of God’s promises are still true. This year has been difficult and pulled me in a million directions. God has been faithful, and one of the million ways He has been faithful has been in giving me amazing friends.

I had good friends in high school, several that I still consider to be my friends, but I did not have a solid friend group – in fact, there are only a couple of girls I still keep in contact with. But, since coming to college, I hit the friend jackpot. And the beautiful thing is, it has had nothing to do with me. I didn’t make the friends that are in Phi Mu, God gave me a pledge class that is wonderful – He hand selected each of us to be part of a special bond in a sorority. I have beautiful friends that I’ve met through Cru, but we some how found our ways into each other’s lives; a lot of us have little in common.

Through the trials that this year has brought, I’ve had amazing encouragement from the men and women in my life. Humor, tears and prayers have made the dark days brighter and even the best days a little bit better. I often get asked the question why I came to IU from Ohio. The truth is, God brought me here. While it did make a little bit of sense, I could have ended up anywhere. As could of each of my friends. But we ended up at Indiana University and in each other’s lives. My faith in God is strengthened by seeing my community and knowing that God weaved a perfect story together so we could be in each other’s lives. I don’t deserve to be loved by such awesome people – I am not a good friend, I’m critical, sarcastic and self-centered, but I experience the gospel on everyday when I’m loved by my friends because of God. Because God reached out to all of us first, we have the opportunity to love beyond our capacity, whether we know it or not.

I’ve experienced God’s love this year through my friends. I’m so thankful in knowing that this season of my life and future seasons will be filled of people God has hand picked to love me and to be loved by me. Even when life gets rough, which it inevitably will, I have friends willing to hold my hand and remind me that I’m being refined, and even when it’s hard, life is still beautiful.

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