So, you want to be a Cru Leader?

The past few days, I have had so many thoughts float in my mind, and at times it seems hard to sort it all out. So many emotions have occurred, both good and bad. When figuring out what to say this week, I decided to put it all out there, my exact thoughts and exact emotions. As the summer winds down, I realize that I only have four full weeks before returning to UMHB to do Cru Leader training. Which leads me to the question, “Why do I want to be a Cru Leader?”

For readers who don’t know what this is, a Cru Leader (CL) is a UMHB student who is not a freshman, and this student (along with another CL) leads a group of new students and mentors them during Welcome Week and their first semester during Freshman Seminar.

This is something I have wanted to do since my Welcome Week experience, and now as I begin my senior year, I finally get to be a CL. I still remember coming to UMHB my first year, and the first night away from my family, the first night into a whole new world, I was timid and shy and had no clue what to do. I felt lost at first, trying to find my way around this entirely new lifestyle, that of a college student.

I felt so many things as I experienced the “new.” These emotions included, excitement, fear, happiness, joy, anxiety, all wrapped up inside me as I transitioned from the life of a high-schooler to that of a college student. There were plenty of moments when I laughed with these new people around me, and there were moments when I went back to my dorm room and cried in solitude.

As someone who has been outspoken about my love for Christ, I turned to God in these moments, both in the moments of pure joy, and also in the moments when there was so much uncertainty. Throughout high school, I battled severe Crohn’s Disease (although I didn’t know what it was at the time) and the idea of living away from home while experiencing this pain brought so much anxiety for me the first few weeks.

I tried to keep a smile as if nothing was wrong. I wanted to keep all of these emotions inside of me, not let anyone see them, and pretend like I had it all together. Then one night, we all shared our testimonies, and I realized that no one has it all together. In some way, we are all broken, imperfect people. We all have struggles, and we all have obstacles that can sometimes distract us from God. Sharing my testimony that night was probably the turning point for me. Sure there would still be times of uncertainty, but I realized that God would help me through all the craziness of life.

Towards the end of my Welcome Week, there was a big worship service. I don’t remember what song it was, but as we all sang, I started weeping. I sat down to pray to God when I felt a hand reaching across my shoulder. It was my wonderful Cru Leader, Samantha Garza, who sat down next to me to pray with me. Although I couldn’t hear half of her prayer over the loud music, the fact that she took the time to join me in prayer meant the world to me. She truly became the first of many friends I would make during my time at UMHB.

So the answer to the question of why I want to be a Cru Leader stems from my own experiences. More than anything, as Sam Garza was my first friend during my transition, I want to be that “first friend” to someone who might also struggle during this new and uncharted chapter of life filled with uncertainty.

Last week, as I sent out my first summer email to the freshmen I will be mentoring, I felt excitement. I finally saw the names of people I would soon meet. I was overwhelmed with enthusiasm.

As the days went by, I still had that excitement, but I also experienced nervousness, and in all honesty, those feelings are still present. Any new experience can bring out nervousness and sometimes fear of the unknown. And when you’re tasked with being a mentor to new freshmen who will soon experience their own transition, this nervousness seems even greater.

So you could ask, “Why do you want to be a Cru Leader?” It brings this nervousness, plus you have to do it in the midst of all your health problems. The best way I can answer that is this: I don’t let any of these obstacles stop me. Each year as I have turned another year older, I have grown in my faith with God. Through many experiences, I have learned that through trials, through weakness, we can find strength in the Lord. So with God on my side, there is nothing I cannot do. If I feel called to do something, no matter how challenging, can anything stop me if God is on my side? Only if I let it stop me. Only if I turn my eyes away from God’s plan. But even then, He can guide me back with His grace.

These feelings of nervousness, among others, reminds me of a song I had not thought about for some time. If you know me or have read my blog, you know that I love quoting music. Recently, I listened to the song, “Speak to the Mountain” by Jeff and Sheri Easter (see video below). It reminds me to focus on God and not let any obstacle keep me from serving Him and serving others. The first verse and chorus go like this…

From strength to strength we sometimes go
Then again we’re sinking low
In the shadow of a mountain 
Looming high above our head
We need not fear what lies ahead 
For the Word has clearly said
That our faith could be sufficient 
To make the mountain disappear

Speak to the mountain
You’ll not triumph over me
Be thou removed from here to yonder
Disappear into the sea
Speak to the mountain
Speak with authority
And the mountain must move
And you shall claim victory

There are times when these mountains, when these obstacles, in our life seem so tall. Yet in the midst of all our worries and nervousness, God calls us by name and says, “Do not fear.” So why should we? Isn’t God more powerful and mightier than any of these mountains? With Him at my side, I know that I can tell these mountains to disappear into the sea, and if I trust in the Lord and speak with authority, these mountains will surely move.

Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message) tells us this:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

There are plenty times in life when we will experience nervousness, or fear, or worrying. Yet, in these moments, God is telling us not to fear, not to worry. No matter the situation, it is Christ who goes before you, so why worry? Why fear? Instead, pray. All of this is sometimes easier said than done, but God is not calling us to do what is easy. What He is calling us to do is to cast away our fears, anxieties, and worries and rely on His grace, goodness, and sovereignty.

So, as I prepare to mentor new students this upcoming year, and as I engage in various other opportunities, I will strive to trust in Him, and when I feel worried, anxious, or fear, I will pray and praise Him for all of the blessings He has given me in life.

If ever you should fear or feel nervousness, speak to that mountain with authority, the authority that is God Almighty, and that mountain will move, and you shall claim victory!

SPEAK TO THE MOUNTAIN!


Jeff & Sheri Easter. Speak to the Mountain. By Marcia Henry, 1995. The Lyric Archive. Web. 13 July. 2015.

The Message. Bible Gateway. Web. 13 July. 2015.


Speak to the Mountain by Jeff & Sheri Easter

Cast My Cares by Tim Timmons

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