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09 June 2006 

What a long strange trip its been.

In the month that's passed since the last entry my life has taken a turn into drama land. One thing after another has tested my faith and endurance and I can say that as I'm coming out of it that (hopefully) that God has been faithful in pouring out his Grace to me. In early April I was a guy who thought he had it all figured out. 6 weeks to graduation... a great girl by my side... and the whole world ahead of me. Then one back injury, breakup, and ten thousand bureacratic nightmares later my life is completely different. I'm bruised and broken down, but at a place where I feel I can see clearly. I think I recognize the grace and faith that God has given me even more clearly when I put things plainly like that. Thats the truth has harshly as I can say it, and when I can say it and still rejoice in where I am this moment I realize the depth of faith that God has given me.

School has been my biggest headache this month. Between trying to straighten out everything that happened during my back injury and get caught up and withdrawn from the classes I needed to drop things were crazy. Then my withdrawls got held up and didn't beat the grades to the dean's office. So I failed 13 of 16 credit hours which prompted the University to drop me not even checking to see that they forms which explained my abscences and withdrawls were already on file in the office that issued the decision to drop me. So I am currently going through a massive appeal so that I can remain a student long enough to pass the 9 hours I need to graduate now. I don't know how that will turn out. If they deny my appeal I will be dropped as a student and have to wait one year to reenroll so I take take 9 more hours. Alternatively I could enroll elsewhere, but I would need 2 years of classes to get the 60 hours that most colleges require to give a degreee from their institution. All in all, a massive headache. There have been times that I just have wanted to hide, to run away and forget school and life, but I haven't. I've appealed and now I'm going back to Champaign to attend classes, with the hope that God will bless that course of action and I will graduate. I can only hope and pray and do my best.

Cedar has been a welcome reprieve, it was a good week I spent here with my chapter after finals. I got to say goodbye in a good subtle way and really release that chapter of my life. There are still people there that I will love and be friends with forever, but I know that that season of our friendship is over. After Focus Week I had a nice weekend in Grand Rapids and Cleveland with Mary. She was amazing during graduation. It's a side of her I seldom get to see, student president Mary Horning. I liked it, she is such an amazing woman and an amazing speaker. She was not only the only person on the stage under 40, she was also the only woman too. I was beaming. After graduation and a day in Cleveland unpacking we headed up to Cedar Campus on Tuesday. The car ride up here was amazing, I've never known someone I can enjoy time with so much. 8 hours passed like the blink of an eye and we saw some awesome little places and spent some time at a couple beautiful beaches before we got here. Our time at Cedar was less wonderful however. We knew that Cedar would be a time of deep examination for us as a couple and we planned on doing a lot of in depth talking, but I wasn't prepared for what happened next.

Following a long conversation on Wednesday night we decided to end, at least temporarily, our relationship. I'm not going to talk about the details here, but it has been a hard few weeks since then. That said, I still love her and she still loves me, and I think that if God intends for us to be married, we will be, and he's leading me to a place to trust Him in this relationship. We've talked several times since then and Mary is still my best friend and I believe that someday we will be together again, but now I'm just learning patience to wait on God's timing.

Cedar has been a good place to be during that time, the people here are different, but attitudes aren't and I've had a lot of good godly people to bounce ideas off of and receive advice from. This place is special, and despite the somewhat painful memories I do have here now, I still love this place deeply. I've used the time to examine much of myself. My goals, me beliefs, my future, my relationships. It's been well used time. I think I could write pages right now one culture and theology, doctrine and Jesus, but I won't just yet. There was a time in my life when it completely revolved around loving God and his Word and doing what he wanted. Over time things snuck in and complicated that and the last two months have systematically stripped all those things away and I have found that place again, with a newfound appreciation for what it means to stay there. For that, I am happy and joyful and eager to give God the praise. We don't grow by being safe and content, and neither are trials meant to break us, only to break the hard and brittle parts of our hearts that Christ means to reform. It hurts, but the rewards are enough recompence.

Until next time, good bye friends.

How did the appeal go? :-/

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