By Anastasia Howland

The last Wednesday of classes for the 2018-2019 school year saw students and faculty gather for Montreat’s annual senior chapel. This is a time when graduating seniors are given space to verbally reflect on the ways in which they have grown and experienced God’s hand upon their lives throughout their years at Montreat. The event is closed by a time of corporate prayer for the seniors, who gather in the center aisle of Graham chapel. Students and faculty are welcomed to join them and pray for God to bless their journeys beyond Montreat. This year, graduating seniors Abby Haas, Jess Evans, and Jonathan Kayembe gave brief testimonies and shared the most important lessons they learned while here in the cove.

“Something I’ve learned is to say, ‘It’s not a priority,’ rather than, ‘I don’t have the time,’” Abby shared with the audience. “We all have the same amount of time,” she clarified, “It’s just if you choose to be a student athlete and you don’t have time to do other things, that’s okay because your sport is your priority.” This applies to any activity or job, whether studying, going to the gym, or getting more than 7 hours of sleep per night. We all have 24 hours each day to work on our priorities, and Abby advised, “Just own it. If you want to make time for something, you will.” She challenged listeners to make this switch in their language and see how it would help them begin considering their priorities more closely. Lastly, Abby advised that the chapel audience should make taking care of their community a priority. “Learn to take care of your community here when it’s so accessible and so easy, and then when it becomes harder later on, it will be easier.”

The second senior to share, Jess Evans, advised that everything should be practiced in moderation. “You can be over-involved or under-involved…but neither of those things are good.” Jess noted that she had been over-involved, and she challenged the chapel audience to find a healthy middle way. “We can enjoy things, like academia or friendships, or books, or any number of things, ‘insert noun here,’ and enjoying them too much is wrong. But also not enjoying them enough can be wrong.” Jess advised this for reasons beyond simply avoiding laziness or stress on both ends of the involvement spectrum. “Enjoy that middle zone, because that middle zone is where you find God. That’s where you find the truth of the Lord and where He can speak into your life and say to your spirit, ‘This is my good gift for you.’”

Finally, Jonathan Kayembe quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” He honed in on this verse from a morning devotional as his advice for the Montreat community. “It can be easy to focus on what we don’t have,” Jonathan observed, “But instead, we have to remember to thank God in all circumstances with all we have and what we don’t have, because His love for us is tremendous.” Jonathan acknowledged that life will involve trials. While these may involve anger or grief, he affirmed that our foundational outlook and attitude should remain the same. “If we learn to be able to trust in God, we will be able to get through life, knowing that He’s always there for us.”

We are thankful for these three members of the Montreat community that shared and are proud of each one of our graduating seniors! We pray God’s blessing upon your life as you go wherever He may lead, and that you would know He is with you always.