'Be Still' - AND KNOW

When I think of exams, I usually think of the typical exam weather we have each year.  The bright sun beaming down whilst you’re stuck inside revising for your upcoming exams.  However, this year it is totally different!
“Typical exam weather”, is a phrase I use each and every year without fail when I see the clear, blue skies each May and June.  Without external exams this year, internal assessments are now a concern for many.  Many students including me!  However, with the lovely warm weather we have had recently, I am reminded that brighter times are ahead without stress and worry.  As well as this, we can be reminded about the beautiful creation that God made and be reassured that He will guide each student down the path that He has for them.
I’m currently finishing my A Levels in school, so I really understand and sympathise with how anxious and nervous you may be about these coming weeks.  This year may be strange and scary, but it’s times like these that we should be turning to God in prayer.  I remember when I started my GCSEs, my youth fellowship leader at the time, would always give us an “exam prayer card” to keep in our blazer pockets to say before each exam.  By spending time in prayer before each exam, I felt a sense of relief and readiness to sit my exam.  Through the past year, I’ve learnt to fit prayer into my everyday life at a time which suits me.  Having a daily chat with God is a really good way to stay focussed and connected with Him.
The uncertainty of exam results this year is so nerve-wracking; but through this we could improve the prayer aspect of our relationship with God.  As I was applying to university in September, I remember being told every Sunday, by my youth fellowship leaders, to pray continuously about it.  Especially now that I am waiting to make my decision about where to go, prayer has been the biggest part of my walk with God.  With the course I have applied for, only one university in Northern Ireland provides it.  My decision is ultimately home or away, and this has been a massive part of prayer.  I have often wondered if God wants me in England to continue His work or whether He wants me to stay at home to further His work in Northern Ireland.  It has been so difficult, but by continual prayer, I feel that God has spoken to me and guided my decision.  I am so grateful for such a loving God.
However, there are times where things don’t go our way with school and exam results.  It is easier said than done not to worry when this happens but, trust me, everything happens for a reason, and we can be reassured of this with our relationship with God.  Not everyone will follow the typical route of going to university straight after the sixth form; I didn’t!  When things don’t go our way, it feels as though our life is over, and it’s the worst thing that could ever happen.  It’s normal to feel upset, annoyed or angry, and it’s okay to feel your emotions.  However, it is essential to remember that God has a tailored plan specifically for you!  God is in ultimate control of our lives, and I realised this entirely whenever I repeated my lower sixth year.  If you end up in a similar situation, please be assured that time flies!  I have only weeks left of school, and I can’t believe how quickly I went from being a year eight to an upper sixth student.
Ultimately, praying to God for guidance is one of the best things you can do when you are in a stressful and anxious situation.  It’s okay to feel stuck and confused but remember that you are on God’s path with Him right beside you.  My favourite Bible verse that gets me through is John 14:1, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

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