The Cross. Jesus. Grace.

For the last 15 years of my life, I have been surrounded by college students. I live among them!  Although in the early years I was busy raising two  small children and didn’t have much time to interact with them, as the years have passed I have had more opportunity to spend time with these young people, and many have  become a part of our family.

In my observation,  a drastic change happens during the college years. You go from being a teenager to a young adult. You make many life changing decisions, like:  who your close friends will be, how you will spend your time, what habits will be established, what you will major in, where you will work, and in many cases, who you will marry.

Much of the time there is a youthful excitement and passion about what life will be like, what they want to accomplish, and what they think things should look like in church, life, and marriage. Often it comes from lack of experience or from an idealistic view of what should be. Many young people are sure they know all the answers, know more than those who have gone before them, and are sure that they “get it” much more than their parents or older people do.

It’s very challenging to be in my season of life and to listen to their hopes and dreams, (and answers for everything!) not wanting to discourage them in any way, but praying for an opportunity to somehow slow them down and breathe a little reality and perspective into their lives. Many  times they really don’t want to hear it. Countless times we have had former students come back to us a few years after they have graduated and we’ve had to help pick up the pieces. Disappointment has hit as they have experienced life, marriage, church, and ministry, and it has been harder than they imagined or wasn’t all they’d hoped it would be. Then we have the responsibility of pointing them to the One and only Person who won’t disappoint them.


It can also be very inspiring  being with people who are excited about the future, have dreams about what will be, how God will use them, and about falling in love. It helps to keep me from  losing MY excitement and passion. The reality is that life really IS  hard. It can wear you down. As you age, even an older person can become disillusioned and tired.Life on this sinful planet IS HARD. It is easy to lose your love and excitement for living. I don’t want that to happen to me.

Even though I am older than these students, have faced some hardships and trials, and have lived a little more life than they have, I don’t want it to wear me down. I want to daily be aware of that fresh grace that God offers me and how it can become a part of every area of my life. I want to fight hard to not lose perspective,  to allow God”s grace to permeate my life, marriage, and any opportunity to serve others that God might give me.  I want to live life with my eyes focused on the cross! On Jesus!  On grace!

People  can be hurtful.  I want see the cross, Jesus, and grace and  allow that to be the motivation that  causes me extend the same grace He gives me every day to others.

Marriage is hard. My husband may disappoint me. I want to see the cross, Jesus, and grace and  allow that to be what reminds me of how often I have let Him down, and yet his offer of forgiveness and never condemnation.The future is unknown. I want to see Jesus and know that whatever happens, He walks before me and will be there to carry me.

I can have the same excitement and passion that younger people do, and yet it can be a little more “informed” or “realistic.” I know that I don’t have all the answers, but my Savior does!  He has taught me as I have gotten older that I know very little,  I am very weak,  and that is why I need Him!

I see the importance of combining the wisdom of age  with the passion of youth!  I never want to stop laughing hard, loving deeply, or following hard after God given dreams. I want to be a little crazy, and keep romance alive with my husband no matter my age. I desire to have a correct view of the church, love the body of Christ, live and share the gospel with whoever I can.  I want to anticipate serving God each day and do it with excitement. I want to peer into the future.  I want to do all of this remembering that only God can change the world, I cannot. Only God can produce the right kind of excitement and passion in my heart. Not a reckless, heedless running ahead, but a prayerful, Biblical dependence on God.

Seeking to do all I do with with the cross, Jesus, and grace as my primary focus!

You can visit Gina at her personal blog “Keepin’ it Real”



  1. Beautifully said, bless you.

  2. Excellent! I’m copying this for our two sons who are going through this stage and are looking for answers all in the wrong places. Much wisdom and grace in this post.
    Thank you.

  3. Janis, So thankful that it blessed you! I pray God will use it!
    Grace to you!!!

    Denise-Thank you!!!

  4. Inspiring! I will forward this to my 15 years old son that he will be encouraged to face his life fully dependent on the Grace and the Cross- Jesus. God bless you !

  5. I hear what you are saying and I have been working with college students for a long time as well. However, I have some slightly different points of view. I think we can learn so much from them and they have much to teach us, older folks. In other words, I’ve see wisdom of age not really be wisdom, but resignation and capitulation. Also I want the college students to do some daring things – they are young only once. Here is a letter that I wrote to my college students (below). Thank you for the post and your heart for students!


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