I would have been so blessed at a Bible-believing university and surrounded by thousands of people who shared my faith, but the rest of the WORLD needs Jesus. I chose a place where God’s message needed to be amplified. So, I accepted an offer of admission at Bowling Green State University in Northwest Ohio to study Speech-Language Pathology.
Holy cow, I was terrified. I had no idea what difficulties and joys were waiting for me. I knew that I was going to feel untethered in a new place, away from my family, with no friends, and no place that felt like home. Also, at that time--although I wouldn’t have admitted it--I wasn’t a mature believer. I said “Lord, Lord” with my lips, but my heart was so bitter and so hardened to the world. I was heartless and ruthless at times, far from God, cruel to those closest to me, and blaming everyone but myself.
But, by God’s grace, I had faithfully made a mental list of every church in Bowling Green and was ready to find one that worshiped Him. H2O church BG was the first on my list, and nearly immediately, I was loved by these people: the pastoral team, my Bible study leaders, and the friends I met in a Bible study. By God’s grace, they pushed me and loved me, just how God designed it. Preaching Proverbs 17:17 with the works of their hands, they loved at all times and were born for adversity. I was so held.
My faith has grown so much since I was a first-year. I read the whole Bible for the first time (and the second time, and the third time). I saw God for who He says He is, I saw His faithfulness, great wrath and greater love, and above all, His PRECIOUSNESS. The Holy Spirit worked its way into my desolate heart and gave me new life. I see the Lord changing me into the image of His son and renewing me in knowledge after the image of my Creator. I’ve been made new.
And, like it or not, everyone changes when they go to college (or, if you choose not to go to college, you’ll change too!). You’ll hear every message and mantra and worldview under the sun, and it’s so dangerous. Do not dismiss this--the world screams its power at you. And we are so, so weak to resist it. Eventually, we choose. With every step, we run toward the world (toward death) or toward Jesus. And we cannot run to the Father and to His truth on our own. We must recognize our great need to walk alongside people who strain to hear the whisperings of God among the influence of the Evil One. We must be convicted, and encouraged, and taken care of, in a body of believers. We must be reminded that our worth and significance is not defined by our ability or achievements, but in the finished work of Christ Jesus who died and was raised again.
This walk can be inconvenient and unglamorous, I won’t lie to you. Contrary to popular belief, college is not a place for four years of unabated pleasure and entertainment and self-seeking sin. Nope. College is a place for our faith to be made unshakeable and for our God to receive the worship He is due. College is a place to love new people and to rejoice in the sweet blessings He has given us (there is so much fun here in Christ, too!).
"College is a place for our faith to be made unshakeable and for our God to receive the worship He is due."