Finding God on Gannon’s Campus

Connecting faith to nature and rebirth

Annie Ruzanic

“3For the Lord is the great God,     the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,     and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it,     and his hands formed the dry land.” – Psalm 95:3-5

The world around us was made for us. I take my faith and see it bloom in the earth. The flowers that grow in the garden at my house; the water that crashes against the shore at Presque Isle; the trees that shed their leaves with the changing of the seasons.

I was taught from a young age that having deep roots in your faith is important. I am a Pastor’s Kid, so having deeply rooted faith has been a normal thing for me.

Growing up in the church is like watching a tree grow through time. We all have our seasons where we struggle and fight for understanding our beliefs.

We can go through times that make it seem like God is in full bloom and is leading us on the right path. We can go through times where it seems like an endless winter, and that nothing is going our way. Our faith changes with the seasons, just like we as humans do.

A change in faith is not a bad thing. Our faith can change based on the simplest things. It changes based on a piece of scripture that hit us at the right time, or the wrong time. Our faith changes when new pastors come.

Our faith can change and rebloom repeatedly. Our evolution of faith keeps the hope and spirit alive for a new tomorrow. Keeping your roots deep can make the journey of rebirth easier.

I have loved growing up in the church. You meet people who are kind like the sun on a cool fall day. You are taught to find God in the beauty and the broken, but not while remembering that you yourself come from the beauty and the broken.

I was taught to read the Bible at an early age. I can remember going to Sunday school at one of the churches my dad used to work at and memorizing every single book of the Bible in order. At the time, I thought it was just a game for fun, that would get our youth group a pizza day, but looking back, it taught me that the words that are written are only one part of the faith that I have.

I view my faith as an ever-changing tree. God planted my roots and told me to grow. He told me that he will guide me, but not take hold and do everything for me.

God led me to Gannon on a whim. I was not sure where I was going during the college application process two years ago, but after working at my church’s summer camps, he told me that nursing would be the right choice.

I knew that Gannon was a school that had an amazing nursing program, but also was a school that was closely rooted in faith. Sure, I am not Catholic, but going to a school where religion itself was important was all that mattered to me.

We are in a season of starting over. As the leaves fall from the trees, and the weather gets cold, we have to remind ourselves that it is OK to take time. It is OK to take time and find ourselves again. It is OK to take time and call on God when we need it, or when it might help us.

God will guide us through the colder weather and out to the other side in spring where the earth will be blooming and rebirth will begin.

So here I am, two years later – a sophomore nursing major, camp counselor and nanny who finds herself sinking her roots deeper and deeper into her faith.

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