Then I got to college. This "4.0 in high school" girl struggled in Chemistry her freshman year. No matter how hard I tried and how much I studied, I could not get it. I wasn't sure what to do as I had never come across something so difficult for me. I was also severely homesick. Our phone bill the first month I was there (I was 10 hours away from home, so calling was my only option and cell phones were not around yet!) was over $250. My dad, bless his heart, called me and issued the ultimatum after that bill arrived! I can remember riding in the back seat of some guy's little hatchback, on our way back to Milligan after fall break. In those days, you just caught a ride with anyone heading towards the Midwest and had your parents pick you up at the Plainfield Cracker Barrel. As we were heading into the mountains, I was repeating, over and over under my breath, "Be still and know that I am God.". For whatever reason, that was the scripture on my mind and I thought that if I just said it to myself enough times I might not hyperventilate and grab the steering wheel so the strange boy would wreck and I would have enough injuries that I would have to go back home. Pathetic, huh?
Eventually Chemistry ended and I pulled out a C for my final grade. The next semester I got a B, and I can honestly say I've never thought about Chemistry again since then. I grew to love Milligan as much as my own home, and I am convinced that those struggles made me more like Jesus than I would have been without them.
As I look at these boys God has given to us in light of my story, I am determined to allow them to have struggles. I don't want to solve all of their issues and make life easy for them. I want to be grateful for the struggles they encounter. Certainly, I will pray that they will not be hurt in the midst of them, and certainly, I would rather they not have them at all and still become all they were made to be. However, the older I get the more I believe that it just doesn't work that way. The struggle IS the refining fire. If we want to be refined, we just have to embrace the struggle.
I remain grateful for three boys who are becoming who they were created to be and for the man walking alongside me as we navigate these years.