Hailey’s Story

Hailey Ciesluk

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My whole childhood, I was told to believe in the power of God and trust in Him. That was always a great message, but hard to believe when you’re a small kid with no real proof of your own. So growing up, I didn’t put much of my faith in God though I still considered myself a Christian. I don’t demote myself for this too much, I was just a kid, after all. And it takes more than just sitting through service and praying at dinner to truly understand the power of religion.
And unfortunately, I didn’t feel the power of religion anytime soon after. My parent’s got divorced when I was around the age of 12. To me, this wasn’t too big of a deal because I’d seen parents splitting all over the place. Sadly, it seemed rather normal to me. So I kept how I felt about the situation bottled up inside. If I knew that keeping things internally plugged like that would lead to a downward spiral of severe panic and anxiety for years to come, I may have reconsidered. But I didn’t, so for my entire middle school and high school experience I panicked about everything. I let fear destroy me from the inside out and let other people influence my emotions because I didn’t know what it meant to truly feel free. I was scared and alone and trapped. And I struggled to stay positive throughout high school.
Then I came to college. It was fine, I had good friends, but I still wasn’t completely myself. I still felt the panic tearing at my heart and I couldn’t get away from it. That is, until I went to a meeting for a dance club I’m in and noticed someone wearing a Campus Ministry shirt. Being the art student that I am, I thought it looked aesthetic so I asked where it was from. Enthusiastically, she told me it was from GVSU’s Campus Ministry and asked if I wanted to attend a service.
Naturally, I was wary about attending. God hadn’t exactly been there for me the past few years, but thought I’d give it a go. So I went to the third Well of the year, and while there, I experienced something I hadn’t experienced in what felt like ever. All of my anxiety lifted away from me for the time of the service. I did not have a fear in the world; for the first time, I was listening to God speak to me and He was there to lift my fears from me. I was in disbelief that such a small miracle could occur in my life that I decided to sign up for a spring break trip with CM. I ended up going to New Orleans and can say that the experience lifted my faith in God so much more. A wise man on the trip who worked at a rehab facility explained to us that, in his eyes, there was a special place in every person’s heart for God. Sometimes, people are afraid to let God in, and fill that hole with distractions like drugs and alcohol, or for me, anxiety. I am proud to say that I am now filling that hole in my heart with what belongs to be there: God. My anxiety may not be completely be gone, I may still be working on becoming a better Christian, and it may take a while for all of that to work out. But I am becoming such a better version of myself; something that can only be a miracle of God. Now I am so blessed that I have God and Campus Ministry in my life.
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