Facing Those Scary Trials (like College)

Friends, if your family is anything like mine, you know of several young friends, neighbors, and relatives who will be graduating high school in the next few weeks. Many of them will be heading off to college in the fall. Some will be away from home for the first time. Others will attend local schools. All of them will face many new challenges, trials, and pressures on their journey into adulthood. I’m so pleased to share an adapted story from Dr. Katherine Pasour’s new book, Stay the Course. This devotional handbook was written to help anchor, guide, and inspire first year college students, preparing them for success in college and life beyond their college years.

For those of you who haven’t yet met Ms. Katherine, she’s among my favorite “farm girls” and a dear writing friend. Residing on the family farm in North Carolina, she spends her days hiking in nature, caring for the animals, gardening, and farming. She can stack hay with the best of us! A retired college professor, health professional, and avid equestrian, Ms. Katherine shares godly insights, wisdom, and bits of encouragement with each section.

Please give my friend, Dr. Katherine Pasour, a huge Cross-Dubya welcome as you enjoy her homespun wisdom in this grace-filled article. I know you’re going to enjoy it as much as I have. And don’t forget to order copies of Stay the Course using the link at the end of today’s post. See how you can win a free, author-signed copy of Stay the Course below.

God’s blessings,


Facing Those Scary Trials (like College)

Peaches and I went through fire together.

Muscles quivered and contracted in preparation to flee as smoke filled the crowded arena. A ribbon of flame raced across the ground as the jostling crowd milled about in confusion, squealing in fear. Sirens, shouting, and gunshots added fuel to the flame of terror that coursed through the veins of person and beast. A terrified snort preceded an attempted escape toward the side gate.

Peaches is my horse, and I, just as terrified, was riding.

Horses are, by nature, fearful of the unknown. As prey animals, their first instinct is to run from danger to escape a predator or any circumstance which causes fear.

We had signed up for a De-Spook Clinic. Or rather, I did. Peaches was a most reluctant participant. A frightening series of stations consisted of strips of tarps snapping in the wind; scary obstacles to go over, under, and through; wailing sirens; a shouting man with gun, whistle, and megaphone, and…A dog—a big, barking, aggressive dog that nipped at already terrified equines.

Peaches immediately went into flight mode to bolt from danger and the chaotic mass of terrified horses and struggling riders. “Get away. Run!” she signaled me with ragged breathing, wide eyes, tossing head, and dancing hooves.

My tension was nearly as great as hers.

I was scared, too.

Graduating from high school is a major milestone—but what then?

The next step is usually a job or college.

College is a new and exciting adventure—it can also be really scary.

Just as Peaches and I went through fire together, facing each new challenge, sometimes nervous, sometimes scared—sometimes terrified—setting out on the new highway of college can be all of those.

But Peaches and I had support to get us through this ordeal. We benefited from:

  • A support group of other horses and riders
  • The background of preparation and training
  • Experts with us during the process
  • Determination to complete the goal

New college students have support and guidance as well:

  • A strong foundation—family support and students’ previous education
  • A loving and prayerful support group of family and friends
  • College professors and staff sharing knowledge and support
  • Perseverance and determination to graduate

Peaches and I spent two long and horrifying days in a De-Spook Clinic. She was reluctant. I was persistent. We became partners, working together to survive all sorts of torture the retired police officer put us through to accustom horse and rider to anything and everything that might frighten a horse.

We persevered

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not upon your own understanding; in
all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)*

This new journey of college can be a scary trial, but our students are not alone. God is with them—family and friends are praying—and students have a support group at their chosen university or college.

And here’s one more resource to benefit students—a devotional handbook that provides practical advice, motivation, and encouragement to support students as they transition from high school to college. Gleaned from my twenty-five years of college teaching, Stay the Course: A Devotional Handbook to Survive and Thrive in Your First Year of College and Beyond) offers real-world advice, spiritual guidance, and some tough love to guide students as they enter the most critical time of adjustment—their first year of college.

Short devotions (because college students are busy) cover how to prepare in the summer, how to get off to a good start, making wise decisions, resisting unhealthy temptations, relationships with faculty and other students, how to recover when we make mistakes, knowing when to ask for help, self-care, and MORE!

Students build new and exciting relationships in the new environment of college but their most important one, as always, is with our loving Father. He is always only a prayer away.

Our Lord will delight in our graduates and new college students as they grow in faith and bear fruit.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose
confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by
the water that sends out roots to the stream. It does not
fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has
no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear
(Jeremiah 17:7-8)

I hope you will join me in praying for all our high school graduates. It’s a scary world out there.

*All Scripture verses are taken from the NIV.

About the Author

Dr. Katherine Pasour is a retired college professor, an author, and a speaker. During more than four decades of teaching, greater than half at the college level, Katherine has taught and mentored thousands of students.

Katherine has degrees in health and physical education and religion, and a PhD in education. She has taught health and physical education to children, wellness to young adults, general education courses, and research classes for honors students, and she’s prepared students to be teachers.

An outdoor girl at heart, Katherine enjoys her farm animals, gardening, and hiking. Although pulling weeds or spreading mulch in her flowers aren’t her favorite hobbies, she finds these outdoor tasks are great stress relievers, especially in the spring when the fruits of her labor display their glorious blossoms.

Order as many copies as you need using this link: https://mybook.to/QQq3h

GIVEAWAY NOTICE:  Dr. Katherine has graciously provided an autographed copy of Stay the Course that I’ll be giving away to one lucky winner. I will randomly draw a name of the winner from those who leave a comment for Ms. Katherine and share this post on social media. Please be sure to include the hashtag #StayTheCourseDevotional when you post the link. Thanks everyone!

42 thoughts on “Facing Those Scary Trials (like College)”

  1. J.D. Wininger

    Thank you for the honor of sharing your inspiring post with my friends today Ms. Katherine. Know that I’m praying for you and Stay the Course. I’ve ordered six copies to share with friends and neighbors so far; and will place copies in our local libraries as well. I’m certain that with each copy purchased, your prayers for the young readers is included. God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. J.D., my friend, I’m honored and excited to be a guest on the Cross-Dubya blog. Peaches and I went through fire together but we had training, a support group, and determination to persevere. We didn’t quit! A great life lesson and one I hope will witness to our college students as they face the challenges of their new journey. May God continue to bless your ministry, kind sir, your encouragement means so much to so many.

  2. Thank you, J.D., for sharing this very timely piece from Mrs. Katherine. You introduced me to her a year or two ago, and I love the way she relates God’s lessons about life and how best to live it through her contact with nature. With a grandson finishing his first year of college, I wish I’d had her book to give him last year, but it would still be a great resource for him. You can’t not love the picture of the “spook” training, and with the current anti-Israel and anti-American chaos taking over so many universities across the country, there are lots of reasons for beginning students to be “spooked.” It appears that God is the only unacceptable “illegal alien” being restricted from campuses these days, and unless He is brought back to our campuses, the demonic rampage, in my opinion, will only continue to grow and intensify. Thank you for another uplifting and counteractive dose of encouragement.

    1. It’s a scary world out there, both abroad and here at home. The conflict on our college campuses is tragic. Much prayer needed for our students, our national and world leaders, and for peace in areas where war is raging. Thank you, Ron, for your witness for our Lord and your work in service to Him.

  3. Katherine, I’m so glad you wrote this practical guide for students that will help them to stand firm in faith in their college journey. I’ll be happy to share about it with others.

    1. I’m grateful for your support and encouragement, Annie, and for sharing Stay the Course with others. I hope you’ll join me in praying for our new graduates. It’s a scary world out there, but God is with them on the journey–always only a prayer away.

  4. A timely message for our young people, especially in these troubled days, who are going into college or the work force. Thanks, J. D., for sharing Mrs, Katherine’s excerpt here with us today. God bless!

    1. Thank you for your message of kind encouragement, Martha. Our graduates need our prayers for this new, exciting, and sometimes terrifying journey. Thank you for all you do to share the love of Christ with others. May God continue to bless your ministry of service to Him.

    1. I agree there is much turmoil on our campuses, Debbie. I’m praying for our students. We all need His divine intervention.

      I find that I learn a lot from my horses and dogs. I think we receive many messages from God through animals and nature. He is so good–always only a prayer (or life lesson) away and faithful to answer when we call.

    1. Thank you for your prayers, Priscilla. Our current students and our new graduates need much prayer. I’m so thankful our Father watches over them and we’re praying for their discernment and safety.

  5. Congratulations on your book, Katherine. Your wisdom is much needed today! How I wish I could’ve had access to such a resource when I started college. I began a shaky career in Arizona and transferred to Texas where things smoothed out. Boy, did I ever have a lot to learn–all in the School of Hard Knocks. LOL.

    1. I attended the “school of hard knocks” as well, Karen. (I still go there some–Sigh). But I’m thankful our loving Father didn’t desert me–and He picked me up when I was knocked down and said, “Okay, try again–and do better this time.” Our loving God is with our new graduates, too. Thank you for praying for them.

  6. Oh how true! This post touches on so many important points.
    I ordered two copies of Katherine’s book yesterday to give our twin grandsons who are graduating from high school in a few weeks.
    I’m praying that they’ll read them and absorb the wisdom they contain.
    I’m confident that the guidance and encouragement oozing from the pages of “Stay the Course” could literally save their lives.
    God’s Word is life.

    1. Thank you, Connie. Your support for this project has been wonderful. I’m so grateful! I prayed for your grandsons and other graduates and will continue to do so. I know you will continue to pray as well. Thank you for your faithfulness and ministry of service to our Lord.

    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement, Melissa. Your joy and enthusiasm are like a burst of sunhine after the storm–you share the light of Jesus with others. Thank you for your prayers.

    1. Thank you, Barbara. I hope you will join us in prayer for our graduating seniors. And thank you for your ministry of service to our Lord. May He continue to bless you in His service.

    1. Thank you, Diana. I’ve found that the lessons I learn from the farm and from nature can really apply to daily living. I’m praying that our students will benefit from the lessons within Stay the Course. I hope you will join me in prayer for our new and continuing college students.

  7. What a much needed resource. Thanks, J.D., for sharing Katherine’s book. This will be the best graduation gift a student can receive. One that can be used over and over and will not expire.

    1. Thank you, Barbara. Your assurance of help and hope that Stay the Course will provide our students is so encouraging. I’m grateful for your support and prayers for our students.

  8. Katherine surely has the expertise to write such a book, both with her college teaching experience and just her life experience in general. I’m going to gift a copy to each of the high school graduates in my family! Thanks for sharing a snapshot of her book here in your blog, J.D., and Katherine, thank you for letting him!

    1. Gena, thanks so much for your kind encouragement. I’m so grateful that you are sharing Stay the Course with graduates in your family. I’ll be praying for them and I know you will as well. Peace and blessings!

  9. Thank you for sharing Katherine with us, J.D. Katherine, this looks like such a wonderful resource for students going to college and others. The title, “Stay the Course” speaks to my heart. That’s what each of us should want for our Christian journey on this earth. Such a good analogy with Peaches and flight mode. 🙂 God bless.

    1. I’m grateful for your encouragement, Karen. I hope you will join me in prayer for our high school graduates. It’s a tough world out there. May God continue to bless your ministry.

  10. Yvonne Morgan

    Such an incredible resource and so needed. Every first year college student needs a copy. Thanks for sharing about it JD.

    1. Thank you, Yvonne. Please join me in prayer for our graduates. They’re facing a challenging experience as they begin this next adventure. Wishing you joy and blessings!

  11. J.D., thank you for sharing this important resource for graduates. Katherine, thank you for using your gifts and experiences to mentor young adults and help them stay strong in Christ. This is a critical time for young people and a difficult time to be a Christian. Much needed encouragement.

    1. Thank you, Melissa, for your encouragement and prayers for our high school graduates. Thank you also for your ministry of service to our Lord. May God continue to bless you.

  12. I like the style of your book, Katherine. I’m sure it will be a terrific guide to many entering the college journey. Best to you on the marketing trail. J. D. is so good to help us writers in promoting our books. I know you agree he’s the best.

    1. I absolutely agree, Karen. J.D. is a wonderful mentor and the very BEST encourager. He’s such a blessing! Thank you for stopping by his blog and sharing your thoughts.

  13. Terri Miller

    Just attended a service honoring graduates at my church. I couldn’t help thinking of all that lies before them. Your book sounds like a wonderful resource.

    1. Thank you, Terri. I hope and pray that Stay the Course can be a helpful resource for our new graduates as they transition to college. Thank you for praying for your graduates–I know they appreciate your support.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top