It is simply amazing how much Campus Ministry has impacted my life. When I was a sophomore in high school something happened to me that changed my life forever. My older brother, Levi, passed away in a car/deer accident. From then on my life was completely different. I was mad at God. I didn’t know why this would happen to my “perfect”, happy, Christian family. As I went through High School I struggled with who God was and who I was in Christ. My Senior year was tough as I tried to cope with this loss in healthy ways like striving for boys attention at school. I tried drinking alcohol to numb the pain, only to find out it just caused its own pain itself.
When I came to college at GVSU I wasn’t in a good place. Sure I still believe in God, but I can’t say that I was following Jesus. As a freshman I entered into a relationship with a guy that was extremely unhealthy. He was controlling and abusive in different ways (emotionally, sexually). I let this go on for too long, although I knew it wasn’t right to stay with him and my best friends told me it wasn’t smart.
Then something began to change. I started getting serious about coming to the well. One of my new best friends, Julia Stejskal, encouraged me to continue to go. We ended up moving together to become roommates for the second half of freshman year. I went on a SB trip to Mescalero and learned what it meant to serve the Lord! Over that summer I finally broke up with the boy who was hurting my heart.
From then on my spiritual life took hold. I became a life group leader my sophomore year through CM. I started to understand how much he loved me despite my brokenness. I was able to go on a trip to Israel with Ben and Stacey Post in May of 2016. I got to see how God blesses us with living water that cleanses us. The next Spring Break I lead a mission trip to Denver Colorado and experienced God’s beautiful creation in the mountains. This year I am continuing to understand God’s love for me and His provision. I am leading the SB trip to Dallas and I am so excited that I get to work with kids there!
God has healed me through CM in ways I never thought were possible. I still miss my brother at times, and I won’t ever forget how awesome he was as a big brother. But I know I will unite with him again in Heaven someday where there is no pain or suffering. God is good. And this is why I WORSHIP!
To say that God has been faithful in my life is an understatement. Throughout my faith journey, He has proved himself to me time and time again. When I was fifteen years old, my mom passed away and for a big portion of my life, inwardly, I did a great deal of running from God. I let bitterness and discontentment reign in my heart and spent a good portion of my life running from my pain, shoving the burdens of my heart deeper and deeper down and refused to accept God’s plan for my life and my family’s with contentment. God brought me to a breaking point one summer in China, when he gave me exactly what I had asked for: joy. He showed me that joy is deep rooted contentment in His plan, knowing that it is good no matter what. I learned that joy is different from happiness – it acknowledges that no matter what happens He is sovereign. I have faced mountains and valleys in my life, and this past year, if I’m honest, has been one of the most challenging I have faced. I have made poor choices, struggled emotionally and have had to face this new season that God has brought me into. God has allowed things to be uprooted in my life that I never expected to change. I’ve had to learn that I am weak and I am broken and have had to learn to be okay with it. For so long I believed that wrestling with God, doubting His plan or questioning what He allowed in my life was wrong. It wasn’t until I read John 11, through suggestion of my counselor, that my perspective shifted: the way I saw God, wrestling and the tragedies that happen in life drastically changed. Through the story of the death of Lazarus, God opened my eyes to the truth that He meets us where we are at, no matter how ugly or how dirty it may be. Nothing is too far from His redemption and He will chase after us and pursue our hearts. He will get into the ugliest places with us, to prove Himself and to remind us of our desperate need for Him. I have learned more in the past few months about God, myself and what it looks like to fully surrender myself to Him and depend on Him for everything in my life. The waves that He has allowed to splash up against my boat the past six months have been difficult, challenging and at times unbearable. But I have learned that God never gives up on His children and can take any mess, any chaos and bring it to order. I’ve learned that wrestling with Him is beautiful, because He will always, always, prove Himself faithful. In the past couple of months I’ve learned that the more I admit my weaknesses, my shortcomings and my brokenness the more I am relinquishing control and giving my all to God. The more I come to God weak, broken down and in need of Him the more I depend on Him, and the more I depend on Him, the more I am giving up control, and when I give Him control, it radically points to His glory.
I am a broken human being, in constant need of being rebuilt and remade by a Savior who has given me more grace in my journey then I ever deserve. I believe in a God that doesn’t just glue our broken pieces back together, but He takes each piece and remakes it, redeems it, restores it and makes it new, for His glory, so that His name might be praised after it all – through every heartache, every tragedy and every moment we face in this life.
Don’t you love when everything goes according to plan? Don’t you hate when it doesn’t?
When I first stepped foot on Grand Valley’s campus as a freshman, I finally experienced a taste of freedom that was totally new to me. There were so many new opportunities to take advantage of, people to meet, and responsibilities to take on- and I wanted to do it all.
See, I was so ready to get out of my house. Nearly every relationship in my family is strained by a past that is littered with emotional deprecation. Refusal to see eye to eye or give respect to each other’s opinions and feelings created an environment of negativity and hatred.
So, it makes sense that as soon as I was set free from that enslaving environment that I felt the need to take advantage of every opportunity just because I could. The ability to do things without the fear of judgement or backlash was freeing and addicting.
What I didn’t expect was the feeling that came over me with all of these new things. With every new organization I joined or team I was on, I convinced myself that I had be the best. I had to be successful. I had to be the kid from my family that went and did things with their life- and I didn’t need anyone else’s help to do it. I had to do it on my own. Why? To prove that I could.
I prayed about the things that I did, yes, but I always prayed for success. My arrogance was only fueled by God’s grace to grant me many successes. Until he didn’t.
Let’s take a trip to Spring Break sign ups. I was a one year veteran of this, so I had a plan. I had a list of top 5 trips that I would like to go on, but we all know that all I wanted was my number one choice. When my number was called, there were still openings on my trip and I was confident that I was about to go on my first-choice trip. Except someone took the last spot just before I got there. I was crushed, disoriented, confused, and frantic. Hold onto that thought.
Now let’s talk about some of the other organizations I got involved in. I became heavily involved in the residence life community here at Grand Valley this year. And when I say heavily, I mean that I took on just about every role that I could. I am on the E-Board for the National Residence Hall Honorary and Laker Village Community Council and am an active member of the Residence Housing Association. Not to mention that I helped plan the regional conference this year. So, when I applied to be an RA, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be granted the position. Everyone told me that they were rooting for me, my application was flawless and my interview was effortless. But, from the way this story is sounding, you may be able to tell what happened next. A few days ago, I received an email that I was not selected. I was again crushed, disoriented, confused, and frantic.
Now let’s go back to our Spring Break situation. Once I finally accepted that I was not going to my first choice trip, I looked at my list and reluctantly walked to the table of my second choice. As I was filling out the contact information, something came over me that I still can’t explain. Something beyond my control prompted me, mid-signature, to look up from the paper and ask the trip leader, “Do you actually know if there are any spots open on the Cuba trip?” After the words came out, I was mortified. I couldn’t go to Cuba. It was far too expensive. Cuba wasn’t even on my list. I told myself that this year I would trust God with the funds, but Cuba? That trip is almost twice as much as the next most expensive trip. I didn’t have a plan for this. Well God did, and here I stand today with my trip paid for in abundance by his grace.
For the Spring Break situation, God’s answer was not only direct, but I believe he took complete control of me. There was no time for me to think about my fears and hesitations. For the RA position, it is a little less clear. What is going to happen now? What will I do in the fall? While I don’t know the answer to this, I do know one thing for certain. God is in control. But guess what? That is okay. That is okay because his plan, as he has proven time and time again, is far greater than anything that I could imagine.