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Favored Student: Peyton Ashford

Peyton shares how God used 2020 to remind her of His blessings

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 
-Proverbs 3:5-6

The preceding Bible verse is one of my favorite scriptures because I can’t stress enough how important it is to walk by faith and not by sight. We might not always understand what it is that God has planned for us, but knowing that everything happens for a reason brings me indescribable peace. One of the most valuable lessons in the Bible is to trust in God, especially during difficult situations.

Like most of you, 2020 has been the most challenging year of my life. Through moving into my first apartment by myself and watching my grandparents rely so heavily on my parents, I’ve learned the value of adjusting to change despite the plans I had for myself. Through it all, God has shown me that He is present in not only my life but in the lives of my friends and family as well.

Watching Alzheimer’s disease take over my grandmother has been extremely difficult to witness. Before her disease, my grandma was the kindest, most gentle, and most spiritual woman I knew. The disease led her to a constant manic and depressive state. We all had to accept the fact that she wasn’t the same person we knew and loved. It broke my grandfather’s heart knowing that he would never have his best friend back. My grandparents have always been two peas in a pod. It’s very rare to see one without the other. It broke me knowing that one of my biggest role models could no longer recognize me. I looked to God with all my concerns. The biggest question I asked Him was, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

After long discussions with God, I realized that life challenges us in proportion to our ability. God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers because He knows what we can handle. It took some time for me to appreciate the long and happy life my grandmother is living. She and my grandfather are going on 60 years of marriage. They were blessed to spend most of their time traveling and being a light for Christ everywhere they went.

I’ve learned so many lessons from my grandparents’ experience in this journey. The most important thing they taught me is to enjoy life and count my blessings. If the year 2020 taught me anything, it’s that life is an unpredictable rollercoaster. What matters is what we make of it.

I’m working on getting out of my comfort zone and taking more leaps of faith, even if that means uncertainty. I am always waiting for my future plans to happen, but I need to get used to living in the moment. Praying for things is amazing, but if you’re never content with what God has already blessed you with, you will struggle to keep them.

While in school, I’ve accomplished many of my goals. I moved into my first apartment. I’ve earned positions at my school’s television station as a nightly news reporter, panelist for entertainment news, cameraman, etc. I’ve recently learned that I have an opportunity to graduate a semester early to pursue my career as an entertainment reporter.

I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for God. I truly believe that when God leads you somewhere, He will provide the path to get there. The best advice I could give to someone experiencing hardships and self-doubt is to continue having faith in God. Talk to Him on both your good and bad days, and when times get hard, be persistent and consistent.

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