Fresh Start


Sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A lately on
here.
I’ve been meaning to post, but two things
have been stopping me:
1. I just moved 14 hours away from home
and recently started college (Liberty University and it rocks). So…BUSY. BUSY. BUSY.
(and honestly)
2. I have been sad about being away from
home and have had no motivation to write or even had anything I cared to write
about. Everything going on seems so simple in comparison to the things I’ve
written about it the past…for example: A WEDDING, and I felt like I didn’t have
anything worth saying or telling about.
I know most people are so ready to get
out of their hometown when they graduate and go out into the world. But I am
such a homebody and such a family-oriented person.
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to travel.
I love going new places and meeting new people. But there is also nothing like
that feeling of returning home- it’s just such a comforting thing…to be
known, to be cared for, and to be loved, and even just familiarity.
So to be real with you, I’ve been
struggling a bit. I like my blog to be encouraging and positive and just
something people can enjoy and maybe make them smile. So the past few weeks I
felt like I was not in the place to be pouring happiness into others because I
just couldn’t seem to shake my sadness and be happy myself.
But oh boy have I been learning…God has
been using people to speak truth into me!
So if there are any college girls out
there missing home or just anyone who may be struggling to find joy during the
stress of school, this is what I have been learning and what has been helping
me:
1. Your joy- your power- comes from the
Lord. The joy of the Lord is your strength, and in His presence there is joy.
Also, search for joy in the little things. Count your blessings and you’ll see
just how much you have to be thankful for.
2. You are not the only one feeling
lonely. Someone else is feeling just as homesick as you are and could use a
friend. Be that friend. You know what it feels like to be alone, try to help
someone else not to have to feel that way. Befriend them, or at least say hey,
and then you both win!
3. Time spent with God is so precious and
the best thing you can do during your day. It seems hard sometimes to find
time, but any time is better than no time at all. I find it best to start my
day off with Him- it just helps to set the mood for the rest of the day. Be in
the Word and pray. Starting you day off refreshed and encouraged is way better
than starting off sad and negative. God loves it when you spend time with Him
too. He cares for His children and wants them to come to Him with their
problems, their hurts, and their heartaches.
4. Listen to uplifting music. When you’re
in the car just put on some praise and worship tunes! Find some music that
speaks life into you. Even if you feel like the words don’t match up with how
you’re feeling, listen to them and realize that they are true despite your
emotions. John Luke and I have gotten in the routine of listening to the new
Rend Collective Album “As Family We Go” on the way to our 8:15s every morning.
They are so joyful and are full of praise to God, and even if I am feeling
down, I love to hear the words and to be reminded that God is so good no matter
my feelings.
5. Talk to other people about how you are
feeling…especially other believers. They can pray for you and encourage you and
even just make you laugh. Fellowship is so important.
So I hope this helps.
I hope if you are experiencing the same
thing or something similar that you can apply some of the things to your own
life, but most importantly I hope you can learn to hand your burdens over to
God and find your joy in Him.
It may still be tough going through the
storm, but how awesome is it to know your Creator, also the Creator of the
Heavens and the Earth (who we have the privilege of calling Dad) is by your
side. He may not pull you up out of it and get you over it, but He will go
through it with you and He will bring something beautiful out of it. And that
is what I am believing and hanging on to.
So…with that being said!
I am going to start posting more. But not
just trips and traveling and events, but also the small things. Because I think
when you’re looking back, a lot of the small things turn out to be the big
things. For me it’s time to not just focus on the big things, but also search
for the small joys and see the blessings all around me.
I am super excited to see what God’s got
in store.
And a few pics from life lately, in case anyone cares to see what’s been happening!
(some pre-move and post-move…also some from the Live Original Live event in Nashville!)

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41 comments so far.

41 responses to “Fresh Start”

  1. Mary Ayleen says:

    Love love love it as usual!! Totally relatable!

  2. Hannah Neel says:

    Love this. How I've felt too. It's so true about being "a friend" it's totally a win, win!

  3. Olivia B says:

    I seriously needed this post! You are so uplifting and God's love is shining brightly in you. I wish I went to Liberty haha I'd love to be friends with you! 🙂

  4. hannah smith says:

    Thank you for being such a great role model! I am also in college and I miss home and my family a lot, but God is faithful and constant in showing me He is truly the only one I NEED! Good luck adjusting and learning and He reveales himself to you.

  5. I hope I can meet you one day

  6. Would love to read a blog post about the Live Original Event, I heard it was so great 🙂

  7. Unknown says:

    Hi my name is Emily. This post is so relative for me as a girl in my first semester of college and missing home as well so thank you!!:) I like to blog to get feelings out and to be positive too:) My blog is isgetsbetterandbetter.wordpress.com

  8. Char Baran says:

    This is so ENCOURAGING!

  9. Unknown says:

    I totally needed to read your post today. I have been so anxious about starting back to school to get my Masters that I have not spent anytime with God. Reading your post helped to remind me that spending time with God is the most important thing to do each day even if it's for five minutes.

  10. This is a great post! It's totally alright to be real with people and lots of people will be encouraged knowing they're not alone. College is a hard transition away from family (I called home crying my first night in my dorm – thank goodness I wasn't sharing a room with anyone lol) Things will get better and thankfully, you and JL have each other! Enjoy college!

  11. Carrie says:

    Aww, I felt the exact same way when leaving for college !!! Sooner than soon you will start to think of it as your second home:) something I've learned when feeling homesick is this the thing that helps is to make new memories–when a place has no happy memories it's hard to feel like home but it will! Thanks for your transparency and hang in there!

  12. Mary Kate, hi there, I'm Olivia Kate!
    I love reading your posts and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them, but this one truly stuck out to me.. mostly because I relate to it so much that it's crazy. I go to Biola University (Bible Institute Of Los Angeles) and have experienced a lot of the same things while being away from home. I come from a small farm town where everyone knows everyone and I truly could not love it more. When I left for school it was definitely the hardest transition of my life, and I struggled to find joy. I longed to be in the comfort of my close friends and family, but I knew God called me to where I was. I just felt like I should share with you that these things that helped you through literally were the exact things that helped me through my homesickness…like to the t. God used people to pour into my life, He used scriptures, He used trials, even the Rend Collective worship music (so great by the way), as well as my lack of comfort in my surroundings in order to get me closer to Him. Through the trials there is growth..because through all of these hard times and feelings of wanting to be back home where everything is comfortable and familiar, God is ever present and knows what He's doing, even if our feelings sometimes tell us otherwise.

    The Lord showed me this on the Jesus Calling app through three different people at separate times. He made it clear that He wanted me to dwell on these words and I found so much peace in them – I hope you can too because it shows how He reveals Himself in the little things (just like you mentioned). Thanks for being so authentic and so open to what He has for you- you truly are a light to so many people.

    "Hold My hand, and walk joyously with Me through this day. Together we will savor the pleasures and endure the difficulties it brings. Be on the lookout for everything I have prepared for you: stunning scenery, bracing winds of adventure, cozy nooks for resting when you are weary, and much more. I am your Guide, as well as your constant Companion. I know every step of the journey ahead of you, all the way to heaven.

    You don’t have to choose between staying close to Me and staying on course. Since I am the Way, staying close to Me is staying on course. As you focus your thoughts on Me, I will guide you carefully along today’s journey. Don’t worry about what is around the next bend. Just concentrate on enjoying My Presence and staying in step with Me."

  13. This is literally what I have been feeling these past few weeks. I can't stop crying and I am really upset but your blog made me feel not so alone. thank you Mary kate

  14. Ashleah Kirk says:

    Hi Mary Kate, What you have written is so easy to relate too, and even if you are ready to move out of home, it is still tough adjusting to something totally different and new. Be encouraged, you will get there!
    I love reading your blogs so can't wait for more!!
    God bless!! 🙂

  15. Thank you so much for posting! You literally put into words everything I have been feeling lately! I am a sophomore in college and only going an hour and a half away from home (I can't imagine going 14 hours away), and I always have such a hard time being away from home…I am also a HUGE homebody and super close to my family. It's good to know I am not the only one having a hard time. Thank you for your encouraging words, I love your blog! Hope you and John Luke have a great school year!
    -Clancy 🙂

  16. Ricki.Lynn says:

    Mary Kate,
    Thank you so much for sharing! I am a freshman at LIBERTY this year as well and have been starting to experience the whole homesick thing. I'm from Michigan so I'm about 10 hours away from home. If you ever had time, I would love to meet up with you for lunch or coffee. I haven't really put myself out there to meet people so it'd be amazing to have a friend who's going through what I am. I hope you are enjoying LU as much as I am! I have seen you and JL around campus and have always wanted to say hi but I've just been too shy. You can call or text me at 4199137862 or email me at rkillinen@liberty.edu if you want. I would love to make a new friend who is such a strong believer in Christ! Much love, xoxo
    Ricci Killinen

  17. Sierra Brock says:

    Well, to resound with other commenters–thank you for this post & for your real words! I am recently married myself and while it is a blast, there is just regular ole life to be had & even loneliness to experience. Thanks for not just posting #instaperfect photos with #instaperfect words ect…:) This is YOU, and while I do enjoy those fun pics (you take great ones!), I love hearing this side too. I'm a blogger myself, so this is incredibly refreshing to read, the real mixed with the joy, mixed with the trials, mixed with the triumphs! Praying for you, though I will never personally know you! -sisters in Christ-

    Sierra Fedorko 🙂

  18. Amy says:

    Ahhhh……DeMoss……my old stomping grounds. 😉

  19. ameliamack says:

    Mary Kate,
    Thank you for sharing and being so transparent. I can relate and can take your advice even living at home.
    I love that you shared even your not so happy moments. I've found that when I share them (as well as my happy moments) that it's most encouraging for others to read.
    Im loving your blog.
    Amelia Mack
    {ameliamack.wordpress.com}

  20. Carmen Stone says:

    I graduated from LU in 2007 (yikes, I'm getting old!), but it was four of the best years of my life! The spiritual atmosphere when I was there provided such a greenhouse for me to grow in my relationship with the Lord! They are years I would not trade for anything. I hope it will be the same for you & JL! I hope you'll be able to get plugged into off-campus Prayer Groups or a good church LifeGroup & find great community of some kind, as well as other couples to walk with you guys in your marriage. I married an amazing, amazing man (from Liberty), but still had days early on where marriage wasn't always a bed of roses. I remember being jealous of a friend's marriage, wondering why my marriage couldn't be seemingly perfect like hers. Then I got into a convo with her one day & I found out that their marriage struggled with a lot of the same things we did! It was such a relief to find out that we weren't alone in our struggles & that what I thought was our 'less than perfect' marriage was actually really normal! Now, when people think my hubby & I have the perfect marriage, I try to be transparent & let others see that we're less than perfect too. Finding other trustworthy, godly married friends you can be real with are so key for health at any stage of marriage & I'll be praying you & JL find that! And if you & JL have your days where you feel 'less than perfect', know that you're not alone…you're just in a "normal" marriage. 🙂 Blessings to you both & I hope you have fun in Hill City! ��

  21. Amanda says:

    I lovelovelove your blog posts soo much MaryKate!!! This one really impacted me a lot! I love what you said about God being good no matter what our feelings. That hit home for me because so much of the time I base my day off of how I'm feeling and instead of I need to base my day on God and what He's done for me and Who He is to me.
    So thank you for this post!! I'll be praying for you too!!!
    xoxo
    Amanda

  22. Tori Tingler says:

    Well this post was just what I needed and I'm 37! My husband and I both took new jobs in Iowa! He has never been out of Georgia and lived on the same land his entire life and had the same friends! He sold everything and moved here with me to be near my mom! Between new state and new job and new home and no friends, I couldn't shake my sadness! My husband had the same changes so we were not in a hard place! Finally after a few weeks we adjusted! I think that much change at one time is a lot on anyone! Glad you are feeling better!

  23. Love this! Moving away from home can be so tough!

    I'm a photographer in the area and would love to do a session with you & local clothing company in town. Hit me up if your interested!
    http://www.elle-meredith.com

  24. I remember those feelings like they were yesterday! Know that it gets better with time, college can be the absolute best experience so keep pushing through the homesickness. Also I'd suggest exercising regularly, I couldn't get out of my funk until I started getting in 4 workouts/week and it got me all the way through college enjoying everything about it while living away from my family and my boyfriend at the time (now my husband). So prayers your way, it gets better!

  25. Elisa Jacobs says:

    Sweet, sweet girl:

    I am so thankful that God has placed a soul like yours in the spotlight to shine bright for Jesus. Your heart, joy, love…they are evident and SCREAM the name of Christ to a world who desperately needs it. Thank you.

    I am definitely a homebody. I am here at my third year at LU and I STILL have days where I am brought to tears with how much I miss my family! You are not alone. Breaking away is so painful. Good and necessary and growing, but still painful. The Lord has definitely taught me that my home: 1. is not in this world. We are just passing through and 2. is wherever He is. Not in zipcode. Not in a person. But in Him. May His presence continue to bring you peace and joy! Thank you for your vulnerability.

    I cannot imagine how hard of a transition this must be for you, especially being overwhelmed by so many of our LU peers/Lynchburg locals who want a picture, autograph, or whatever. I am praying that the Lord would provide a GENUINE support system for you and sweet friends who will help you experience the love of Jesus and and give you a taste of "home" (eternity). I saw from pictures that you are friends with Tess and Kat: two gems that I know are already an answer to that prayer!

    May the Lord continue to bless you. Keep shining, Mary Kate.

    Ellie Jacobs

  26. Thank you for being so open about your struggle! I am now in my final year of college and had a hard time being away for the first two years. It is really cool to look back and see how the Lord does provide what you need and uses all of the hard times to show us how much we need Him. We can always remember his faithfulness to us in the past to remind us that He will be faithful in the future.

  27. Lolo says:

    Please post a blog about how you do your quite time with God!!! I'm not sure how to start and really want to see how others do so

  28. Unknown says:

    I always love reading your blogs! Even though I'm a little older than you, I relate to a lot of the things you say. Today I just wanted to say thank you! When you said: "It may still be tough going through the storm, but how awesome is it to know your Creator, also the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth (who we have the privilege of calling Dad) is by your side. He may not pull you up out of it and get you over it, but He will go through it with you and He will bring something beautiful out of it." really hit home. I have been struggling with family issues which will affect my wedding, and this phrase made more sense to myself than anything! In return I would love to give you a little advice from my four years of college. Leaving home is always scary at first, but with God and John Luke by your side you will never be alone, they will make Liberty or wherever you go in life feel like home!

  29. Angela Cruz says:

    Prayers to lift you up and encourage you! I miss Monroe with all my heart and try to make it home as often as possible. When I moved to Florida, the first six months were so hard. But once you settle in and find new friends, you will have new roots in Liberty as well! Best wishes in your studies and new marriage. 🙂

  30. Ashley Peel says:

    Hi Mary Kate,

    I loved the denim joggers you wore in the picture above and the grey skort you wore to the football game.

    Could you share where you purchased these items?

    Thanks
    Ashley 🙂

  31. Jaclyn Ann says:

    Love your heart and honesty! Your blogging skills are on point #goals 😉

  32. Kelly says:

    As I read this blog these were all the things I was thinking last year (my freshman year of college). In fact it got so bad I feel into depression. All the truth you just wrote are the truths that got me through. So keep following them! Don't just know it believe it! God is always trying to grow and push us and He wanted me to trust Him starting my first year of college. He wanted it to be hard so that I clung to Him and His sweet truths. I disliked having to go through such a hard time but I grew so much and so did my love for our heavenly Father. He's so amazing and worthy of our praise even when we don't feel like we have anything to give praise too. It gets better. Trust me. From one college girl to another. 🙂

  33. Leslie says:

    ❤️ Praying for you sweet girl!

  34. Morgan Ewing says:

    I'M A STUDENT AT LU TOO!!! I stumbled across this and don't know but it was right in the middle of a complete panic attack almost. I've definitely been missing home and not being able to head back to see both of my familys for the holiday bream is the hardest part. Im from Harahan, LA but moved to TN about 8 yrs back. Having family in both places surely comes with hurdles and challenges. You post was really encouraging to me especially tonight of all nights. Thank you for the post!

    P.S. GO FLAMES!!! ?

  35. Mary Kate,
    I read this post a while back when you first posted it but for some reason I have come back to it today. I am 19, a junior in college, and engaged to my best friend! Though I am excited for the rest of my college degree and to get married next July I am still worried. So many life-changing decisions are going to be made in my near future. I think and think to try and come up with the best option. Through all of my stress and worry, I have found that relying on God is my best option. I dont know what next year or even tomorrow holds. But God does. I am learning to trust him in all situations-big or small. I just wanted to say thank you for encouraging me to reach out to others and have my time alone with God daily. Your posts encourage me and I'm thankful for that. Merry Christmas!
    -Chambliss Goodson
    Leesburg, Georgia

  36. Madison says:

    I absolutely loved this post and love you! We've never met, but you visited my church and met my family on the Ignite tour, and I just want to be best friends! You're so inspiring, keep blogging!

  37. Haily Brown says:

    I just wanna thank you for your sweet words.I love reading your thoughts honest words because they make me think about a lot of things an encourage me a lot <3
    Keep on doing what you are doing because you have a real talent for speaking in the hearts of people 🙂

    Greetings from Germany 🙂

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