4 1/2 years.
171 hours in a classroom.
And my biggest take-away? Grace.
I learned what it meant to accept and live through grace, and I learned what it meant to extend grace.
Pride has always been a struggle of mine. I want people to notice me and notice my accomplishments. I want people to see the good things I've done and tell me how awesome I am. I want to be able to tell people I graduated with a 4.0 and multiple honors. I wanted to be the star athlete that was mentioned in the papers week after week. But I can't. And I wasn't.
The grace of God knocked me to the ground and took me off of the pedestal I put myself on. And I'm so thankful for it.
The grace of God showed me that my life is not my own. It showed me that, "by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God." (Eph. 2:8) The grace of God allowed me to not own my life. It was long process. It cost me almost 5 years, multiple tears, countless hard conversations, nights of restlessness, and my life.
But, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Is the process of learning grace and how to live in it over? Absolutely not. It should never be. But college for me wasn't about being able to tell you about Henry VIII's wives (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived....in case you were wondering), it wasn't about being able to discuss the changes in warfare after WWI, or talk about the change in Europe's borders during the 19th & 20th centuries.
College was about learning grace. About learning how to be a friend. Learning how to be Christ to people. It was about learning that my life and my salvation is a gift from God.
I can't rely on myself. I must rely on Christ. I must continually learn and know that by grace I am saved, and by grace I am made whole.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.