My first (and only) date with “J.D.” was horrendous.

For starters, it was . . . awkward. We had NOTHING in common. He cranked up Def Leppard on his 8-track stereo (LOL), so it was hard to talk. Finally, I gave up and stared out the window.

Then he stuffed his lower lip with tobacco and spat the dark brown juice in a white styrofoam cup. When the road made a sudden turn, he missed the cup and juice streaked down his chin, staining the front of his pale blue shirt. (Nice)

The date got worse from there, but I’ll spare you the gory details. I couldn’t get back to the dorm quick enough.

Late that night I sat by the large window in my room, looking down at the freshman dorm’s dreary courtyard. I felt utterly homesick, thinking: it should be more fun than this–college stinks.

I needed my Mom. I wanted my own bed. I was tired of trying to find my place on campus–and missing it.

Maybe you, or someone you love, feels the same way right now.

While college is an exciting time of life, it can also be a very difficult time, forcing you to grow and adapt. Feeling anxious as you face new challenges is normal, but this year, COVID-19 is making the transition to school even more difficult.

If you are a student right now, my prayers are with you and with your parents.

As you face college (or any big change) I hope you will remember to turn to the Lord for strength, instead of turning to other people or to other things. God cares about your feelings and He knows your needs. Seek after Him each day. Read the Scriptures. A lot.

Here are 10 inspiring verses for college or whenever you feel:


“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deut. 31:6 NLT


“But those who trust in the Lord will receive new strength. They will fly as high as eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow weak.” Isaiah 40:31 NIRV


“Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matt. 6:32-34 NLT


“He [God] doesn’t punish us for our sins as much as we should be punished. He doesn’t pay us back in keeping with the evil things we’ve done. He loves those who have respect for him. His love is as high as the heavens are above the earth. He has removed our sins from us. He has removed them as far as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:10-12 NIRV


“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10: 9-10 NLT


“And may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.” Eph. 3:18-19 TLB


“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.” John 16:31 TLB


“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD you God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh. 1:9 NIV


“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3 NIV


“Now all glory be to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us to accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” Eph. 3:20 NLT

Whatever challenge you’re facing right now, these Scriptures can strengthen you and give you fresh hope. Use them often to help you keep perspective as you grow and adjust. If you listen to God’s words and believe them, they will change your life.

They sure helped me.

Even though I had my share of frustrations and struggles, I finally grew to love college. It ended up being a great experience, teaching me far more about life than it taught me about my major. (Yes, I could’ve used a flat iron back in 1987)

This week, I’m offering some of these inspiring verses for college as free downloadable bookmarks to help students remember God’s love and care.





Print out as many as you want. Place a bookmark in a card and send it to a student (or to anyone) who is facing change right now. Simply email me at and request “college bookmarks.”