DONE.

All quarter, I’ve been reading through 1 Peter (thanks, Grandma, for the suggestion!). The theme of the book is suffering, so it’s been rather appropriate. I’ve been amazed at how each time I read through the book, different verses stand out to me.

Yesterday morning, I was starting again in chapter one. I previously underlined verses five and six, but this time, verse seven stuck out to me:

“These [trials and suffering] have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Wow.

And now my editorialized version:

“Practice Court (and its heartache and misery) has come so that your faith – of greater worth than money, a career, or man’s praise, which perish – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

I had a small lightbulb moment. There have been many times over the past two years when I’ve wondered why the Lord brought me to Baylor. Why couldn’t I have listened to the people who told me to apply to law school in South Carolina, if that’s where I ultimately wanted to live? Why couldn’t I have picked any other law school? It’s a hard feeling to explain, because I wouldn’t say I regret the decision to come here. The Lord obviously led me here. He has provided great friends, and I’ve made some fantastic memories. But it’s also been really hard.

But as I read verse seven yesterday morning, I realized:

This is why the Lord brought me to Baylor. It wasn’t so I would be comfortable, or happy, or a fantastic student.

It was so I would come to know Him better.

And that makes everything worth it.

When people ask me how Practice Court was, it’s hard to give an answer. There were days when it was absolutely miserable. There were days when things weren’t so bad. And there were days when I just felt numb to it all.

But overall, I saw the Lord show His faithfulness to me over and over again. Here are a few examples:

I only got called on once the entire quarter. There were days when I felt invisible – people all around me were getting called on, and it was almost like the professors couldn’t see me.

Proverbs 2:7-8 – He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.

When I got called on, I felt this incredible sense of peace. Words can’t really describe it, except to say that I could feel people praying for me. I have never before in my life had an experience where I felt more clearly that the Lord was teaching me what to say.

I never once got a personal memo (and there were many people who got more than one).

Becoming untethered – the Lord used even that awful first mini-trial for good. I realized how much I crave affirmation from humans. Despite my claim that I would work as unto the Lord alone, I realized how miserably I fail at that. Which led to the question – what does working unto the Lord look like? I can’t measure that by whether I get my homework done or how prepared I am for class. Does working unto the Lord sometimes mean that I don’t finish all my homework? I still don’t have an answer to that question…

But what I have learned is that working unto the Lord is so much less stressful. I can only do my best. If that means that I don’t get the reading done because I need to take care of my mind/body by taking a break, then so be it. I don’t think the Lord calls us to stress ourselves out to get all our earthly work done. Our God is not a slave driver. He doesn’t care how many cases I read in a night. Or whether I properly state all the objections during my mini-trial. Instead, He cares about my heart.

So, that meant that at times I went into class unprepared. That was a terrifying feeling. One day, I sat in class thinking, “This will be the day I get called on.” Then I found myself getting irritated over that thought – the one day I’m unprepared.

And then I stopped myself. That’s a really crummy view of the Lord, isn’t it? Because ultimately, He is in control of who gets called on each day. That means that the above thought means that I think that God is willing to throw me under the bus. That He doesn’t really love me, that He’s not really faithful, that He can’t be trusted.

Man. That’s an awful realization to have about your view of God.

And so the Lord yet again stretched my trust in Him. I did my best. Which, as the quarter stretched on, often meant that I didn’t do all of the reading, or I skimmed, or I didn’t feel prepared. And on those days, I had to consciously remind myself that the Lord was on my side. That He is my shield. And that, should He allow me to be called on, He had a reason for it. Maybe even a reason for the memo (as much as I hoped He didn’t need to teach me anything through a memo).

And on those days, I was consciously aware of His faithfulness when I didn’t get called on. As I watched others get memos, I could almost hear the Lord saying, “See, I AM watching over you. And everything I do is for your good.”

It’s been an awful quarter. But it’s also been an amazing quarter. And while I would not ever wish to go through the experience again, I also wouldn’t trade it for anything. The Lord used Practice Court to make me more like Him. So no matter what happens next week during exams, I’ve already achieved the success that really matters.

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