Someone Else’s Turn

I’m not heading back to Bloomington this weekend. That fact has brought me close to tears multiple times today. I wouldn’t be at Sweet’n’Low, I don’t get to help target how to reach freshman this fall, I wouldn’t be gathering and following up contacts, and I wouldn’t get to watch as God grabs the hearts of students at IU. When I dream about joining staff with a campus ministry like Cru, part of me wonders if I could handle it, not necessarily the support raising or the full-time ministry aspect, but the transient-ness that comes with working with college students. College is such a short period of a person’s life. Four years. Sometimes three and sometimes five, but then it’s over. My college career, my four years are done. I’m not going back. I’ll be moving to Indianapolis to start the next season, but it’s not college.

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There’s a strange peace that has come over me as I’ve prayed through this, I’m sad, but peaceful. In one week, a bright-eyed freshman girl is going to set foot onto IU’s campus with no idea what she wants out of life, and she’s going to search for her place. She’ll try different organizations, and settle on Cru, where she’ll meet people, some of whom have grown up in the church and others who are getting their feet wet with the whole Christianity thing, just like her. Over the next four years, this girl will grow, she’ll face the depth of her sin and the grace that God offers. She’ll make mistakes with boys and develop really meaningful relationships with other girls. She’ll stay up too late, and skip more classes than she ever intended. Most importantly, she’ll get to know Jesus, and what it means to have a relationship with Him, a relationship that will outlast and out-value everything else in her life.

How do I know this? Because that was me. There were girls before me, just like there will be girls after me, whose lives God will change during college. I’m humbled to reflect on the girl I was 4 years ago, and all that God has done in me and through me since I set foot on IU’s campus.

I can’t head back to Bloomington, it’s some one else’s turn. It’s another girl’s turn to wander her way through all the fears of true surrender, to spend countless hours in Wright Food Court, to dream of what revival looks like in her sorority house, to plan discipleships, and to fall madly in love with Jesus. IU saw the good, the bad and the ugly of Caitlin Snyder. It’s beautiful to admit it’s not my time to be in college anymore, it’s someone else’s. I hope and pray that the freshmen stepping onto IU’s campus know how special it is, and that the freshman who find themselves at the Check-Out-Cru meeting next Thursday will let the Gospel transform their hearts. Bloomington is not my home anymore, just as it’s not my Cru movement anymore. And that’s beautiful because it’s someone else’s turn.

Phi Mu

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Sometimes, when I get discouraged, feel overwhelmed, or like I just can’t seem to make a difference, I think back to my freshman self, who was so eager to change the world. I wanted to change the Greek System, make into a place where sisterhood, brotherhood and philanthropy were the focus, not partying and popularity. As I set foot onto IU’s campus the fall of my sophomore year, I wondered if I could really change anything. I wondered if anyone actually cared about Jesus, or even about each other. This past week, through the recruitment process, I started to really reflect. Two years later, have I changed anything? I began to realize something – while I may have not changed a single thing, I’ve been changed.

I’ve been changed into a different woman because of how God has used Phi Mu in my life. My view of brokenness has changed. My view of myself as a sinner in need of a savior has changed. My view of Jesus has changed. My view of serving and loving others has changed. My view of compassion and what it looks like has changed. And I guess that’s the point. God’s purpose in me joining Phi Mu wasn’t for me to change Phi Mu, it was to let Phi Mu change me.

On prideful days, I start to boast in my head of all that I’ve done. On sad days, I start to feel like I haven’t done enough. But I remember back to Chicago and a conversation I had with my staff discipler. I can get so caught up in the doing, and she said to me, it’s not about doing ministry, it’s about transformation – being more molded into the image of Christ. Maybe I haven’t shared the Gospel to each of my sisters, but God has used my sorority to chisel away some of the yucky parts of my heart. He has used to point out sin in my life, and to test my view of and trust in Him.

So I guess the question I should ask myself is what would I be like without Phi Mu? I would not me. I simply can not imagine not having had the growth, the laughter and the tears that this place, these women and this sisterhood have given me.

This Past Week

This past week I’ve taken two big faith steps. I decided to run for vice president in Phi Mu and I applied for a summer internship. The first one was a huge decision because it was last minute and it is very unusual for someone in my pledge class to run for a position. For me, the decision came from two places – a desire to serve Phi Mu and a desire to trust God outside my comfort zone. After I made the decision, I kept trying to rationalize myself out of it. I would say, what if no one comes along to lead Greek ministry next year, or, do I really have time for this? And yes, I do have time, and as for Greek ministry, I’ll still be involved, you couldn’t pull me away from that, but do I trust that God is big enough to raise up a female leader? Well, we’ll see. In my head I believe it. All day on Tuesday I heard God saying, “when you come to end of yourself and your abilities, I get to show up”. This semester I’ve been very content in myself and my abilities, I’ve watched God do some neat things, but this is an opportunity to watch Him show up. I’m confident that He’s going to show up to me, and to the Greek movement; I can’t wait to see what He has up His sleeve. We’ll see what happens with elections, but I’m excited at the opportunity to even run for exec in my chapter.

For the past year I haven’t been able to picture myself doing anything after college except for interning with Cru. I have no idea where I would intern (well I would really consider 3 places), but I’m pretty sure I’ll give a year to the Lord in full-time ministry with Cru in a year and a half. This summer I really wanted to go back to Chicago, but felt the Lord calling me home or internationally.  The past two months, I’ve been battling some sin that made me realize that going internationally probably wouldn’t be a good idea, so came the decision to go back to Mason, Ohio for the summer. After a phone call with my mom on Saturday, I decided to pursue an internship with Back2Back Ministries in their home office in Mason. Part of me was fearful of making this decision because I’m so sure that I want to work for Cru, but I decided to trust God and take a step of faith. Five days later, I’ve filled out an application and have an interview set up for over Christmas Break. Once again, God is proving to be faithful.

In the midst of big decisions, running around getting ready for the first round of recruitment, and trying to finish this semester strong academically, I’m praising God that He is in control, He is working all things for my good and that His plan is far better than mind. I’m thankful for this week reminding of these truths.

Strength

Numerous times this year, I almost threw in the towel with Greek ministry. I was drained, I thought I needed to focus on myself, I doubted whether God was working and I believed my sin was going to break not only Greek ministry, but also the Cru movement. Tonight, I realized how big God is and I thank Him that He gave me the strength to keep going when times got rough. Had I walked away in October or in January, I would not have gotten to see what God did this semester… in my life and in the lives of many of my close friends. Walking away would have meant two things – 1.) God was not bigger than my own sin issues & 2.) God was not working the struggles for my good.

God can handle my sin. He can handle my doubt. He can handle my anger. They break His heart, but He can handle them. God showed me my sin and He showed me how detrimental sin is to community, but in starting to comprehend my own sinfulness, He allowed me to experience grace. When I started to experience God’s grace and God’s love, it enabled me to extend love and grace onto others. Because of the sin I dealt through – and still continue to fight – God gave me a story to tell. It was when I was so weak that I couldn’t do anything on my own that I realized God had been in control all along. Sin can tear apart community when we keep it in the dark, but when we confess it and bring it into our community of believers, He redeems it; Satan no longer has a hold on it. Satan wanted me to feel so much shame over my sin that I stopped believing God wanted me to lead or even be part of what was going on in the movement. However, God wanted me to bring my sin into the light and remember that He is in control, not me.

One huge lesson I learned over the course of the semester is that God works everything for our good. Not just the things done with pure hearts. Had I not been struggling to hold myself together, Satan could have convinced me that the revival I was seeing was based on my own work. However, because I saw myself in my true position to Christ … lying at the foot of the cross begging for mercy and forgiveness, God allowed me to experience fruit knowing He was the one who provided it. So often I think I’m in control and that my hard work is paying off, but it is God’s hard work, it is God working in and through my friends and me. God did the most work when I was oblivious to it. God answered crazy prayers that I prayed in July 🙂 God used my brokenness to remind me that He is in control and working everything for my good!

Tonight, hearing the lives committed and rededicated to Christ this year, and the growth in our Greek Bible Study community, I experienced a huge humbling and some true redemption. I had tears in my eyes just seeing how much God cares about each and every person on IU’s campus. This is not about me, or my sin. The beginnings of this revival have been about God and what He is doing through us despite us. I have seen each and every person in our bible study die to himself or herself this year and allow Christ to be in control, just the way I did in my own life. So thanks God for letting me be a part of it; thanks for giving me the strength to continue when I didn’t know how much more I could handle. Most of all, thank you for allowing me to see that You did work, You got You some and You’re bringing glory to Your Name at IU in the Greek system!