8/16/08

Kaitlin's Journey: A College God Story

We're home from taking our daughter to college...

I know thousands of parents do this every year,
but it was a first time experience for us...
And as usual when anything happens in our family,
I like to share some of what happened.

Kaitlin was absolutely miserable

the minute our vehicle hit the Virginia state line.
I can't sugar-coat it, she looked like death warmed over.

We got to the university campus around 5:00 p.m.
and she started crying...
We got her dorm room assignment and unpacked all her things,
and she continued crying...
We set her room up and met one of her roommates,
and she dried it up for awhile...

And then we left her there for the night,
and she started crying all over again...

The next day was filled with lots of :
standing in lines (crying)
filling out forms (crying)
going to orientation class (crying)

And so on that second afternoon,
Mark and I finally called out to the Lord for help.
We stopped trying to do it on our own strength
and turned to the One who knew exactly

what Kaitlin needed to hear...

And here's what happened...

shortly after we prayed together,
Kaitlin came out of her class, got into the car

and yes, started to cry...
her professor had asked her to stay after her very first class
because he was concerned about her...

this man had never laid eyes on her before that day
and yet he knew something was wrong.

He talked with her, and encouraged her.
As she told us what had transpired, she was pretty upset.
She said she felt like she had been trying to pull her emotions together, but now it was obvious that she hadn't yet been successful.

Her dad and I spoke more words of encouragement,
and Mark even gave her some conversation starters,
yes that's right...Mr. Quiet himself.

Shortly we dropped her off at the next scheduled event,

a freshman cookout, and to be honest,
she was even more miserable,
if that's possible, than before.

So when we were on the way to pick her up, after the cookout,

Mark and I both thought, "Well, we might just have to take her home if she's not any better."

And then she got into the car...with a smile!
My eyes are welling up as I write this...
The heartache and pain from a few hours before had vanished...
the tears and red nose were gone...

She had met some other girls

and had spent the entire cookout together.
She had made conversation. She had participated.
Kaitlin had turned to Him and He had strengthened her,
to step out and push herself forward.
And she did it...I've never been so proud of her.

She didn't stop talking to us about

what had happened the rest of the evening,
through dinner, at Target, on the ride back to her dorm.

I talked a few minutes ago to Kaitlin and told her

I was going to blog about what had happened
and she said to me,

"Well, just make sure you write that I'm not a crybaby anymore."

No you're not a crybaby, but you'll always be my baby!

2 comments:

Barb said...

Oh Deb, I am so proud of Kaitlin AND of you and Mark. Leaving our "babies" at college is so much more difficult than most parents will admit to. The separation, the goodbyes, the finality of it all and knowing you'll come home to a house that will never ever be the same again without her. It's hard, very hard.
But Kaitlin, in her most difficult and weakest moments, reached out to the only true ONE that could give her such comfort and even joy....Jesus. At that moment when she reached out at the cookout, God was real to her and she felt HIS presence probably more than she ever had in her lifetime. He was there! HALLELUJAH!!!! He was there! Isn't that what HE does best? He shows up at our time of need. Because of that "defining moment" in her life, I choose to believe that she will never be the same. She will remember that time, hold on to it and trust it in those dark hours when she's lonely. THIS was truly a "defining moment" at its' best. I'm so proud Deb, almost as much as if she were my own. Praise the name of JESUS for HE has done GREAT things for the Stevens family! HALLELUJAH!!!

Sue said...

I am so proud of you and Mark...the "tough love" thing is so hard, especially when your heart is breaking into. There is nothing worse than watching your kid agonize or hurt. I am also proud of Kaitlan, knowing her, she put this where it belonged, at the Savior's feet and with His help, she worked through it.