Burgers’ Thanksgiving 2020

“I will give thanks to Your name, O Lord, for it is good.” —Psalm 54:6b

Mariah

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” —Isaiah 26:3–4

Twenty-twenty has been a year of growth and open doors for me, despite the challenges and struggles. I am excited for the things God is doing in my life and look forward to what 2021 will bring! To give you a peek into the last year, I will begin with the topic of struggles and challenges.

As you can imagine, being sent home from college a little more than halfway through freshman year was for sure a jarring experience. I came home for spring break and was back on campus for one day in March before finishing the session online. Being ripped away from my newly established “home” and friends really hurt, as I was unable to say goodbye to most of them. The next few months, though filled with sweet moments with family, also contained some deep mental struggles for me. When quite literally everything in life was on pause, I was able to see areas in my life that I needed to grow and rest. I began to see where my identity and purpose were in false hopes. I thank God, though, for all the ways that I was able to communicate with friends from college on a weekly basis to help me push through. I also formed some truly special memories with my siblings and family while we were all home during the school year. Doing homework with Sarah and Hannah transported me back to my high school days when we were all at home, which was very special! There definitely were many silver-lining moments, though, through which God showed His faithfulness.

This year I have the joy of being part of the Residential Life staff at Grace College! I am a Growth Group leader, which is essentially a small group leader. It has been neat to connect with the girls on my hall and journey with them as they grow in their relationship with Christ. They truly feel like sisters and have made this unusual year so much more enjoyable! At the last minute in August, I was given the opportunity to be a leader/mentor for students who transferred to Grace this fall. I have enjoyed leading outings, planning dinners and movie nights, and just building relationships with that sweet group of students.

Another adjustment this fall has been in my choice of major. After some prayer and insight from wise counsel, I came to the conclusion that I want to graduate from Grace College with an Educational Ministry major and a Pedagogy minor. That switch has been truly amazing, as I am still on target to graduate in a year and do not have to take any additional summer classes! I am excited about where God will take me with ministry and the internship opportunities that I’ll be pursuing this summer.

Even amid all the COVID craziness, I still had the opportunity to participate in the Wisdom Builders Community Theater production of Beauty and the Beast! It was wonderful to be back on stage and with dear friends as I learned how to be a Silly Girl and work as an understudy for Babette. Back at school I’ve also had a few acting/singing opportunities with cabaret and being in a one-act play, which is very fun! Right before the extended “corona break,” I was able to help backstage in the Wisdom Builders high school musical production that Hannah was in. It was neat to be in town to support my younger friends and walk with them through the struggles of live-streamed shows.

Being in weddings has been a big part of 2020 (and continuing on to 2021!). I had the honor and joy of being in Ruth’s wedding in May and Grace Kaufman’s (née Barge) in July. It has been so exciting to journey with my friends and sisters as their life stage moves in a new direction!