“Leaving Home,” New Era, May 1999, 35
I looked around the bare apartment. This would soon house six girls, four of whom I had never met. I listened to the silence that prevailed throughout the dorm. After quietly dressing, I knelt down to ask for courage on my first day of college.
I had come a day early to attend an honors orientation. The oldest of four children, I felt naive and too young to be going to college.
The day before, my father had given me a blessing and his love. After I asked for a father’s blessing, my father placed his arms on my shoulders and with a tearful voice told me about his own college experiences.
As I left, my dad’s last words gave me strength and encouragement. “You have always been our pioneer, and you have been a wonderful example to your younger brothers and sisters. You are prepared and are ready to go to college, Carrie.”
I clung to his words of love and support as I said a painful good-bye to my family. I felt alone and scared in those uncharted waters. Before I left the apartment that morning, I knelt down to ask for help. Desperately I pleaded with my Heavenly Father for strength to be able to face the college world all alone. I had left my family and friends and everything familiar the day before, and I knew I needed His help.
My prayers were answered as I reflected on the tender experience with my father the day before. A wave of comfort fell over me as I realized that I had not come to college with the blessing of just my earthly father. I suddenly felt that one day, not so long ago, my Heavenly Father had held me close in His arms. Perhaps He gave me words of advice and encouragement and told me that He believed in me, just as my earthly father had. And at that moment, I knew that I am never without the perfect love and endless support of my Father in Heaven.
With this new assurance, I slowly stood to my feet and, as a daughter of God, confidently walked out of the apartment to enjoy my day.