Before coming to Southwestern Adventist University, I knew very little of a loving, forgiving God. Growing up, my father had taught me on weekends, but I lived with my mother who didn’t want my father leading me in the direction to know Jesus.
I went to a public High School in Fort Worth, where bullying ran rampant. Riding the bus meant being kicked out of the seats, having my hair pulled or having to stand the whole ride home, as I was the very last bus stop. My mom didn’t make a lot of money and spent what little she had on drugs, so I never knew if I would have new clothes for school, food in the pantry, or enough money for essentials.
I knew about prayer during this time from spending weekends with my father, and so with what little faith I had, I prayed a lot. There was always a counselor, a teacher, or someone from the school that would offer money or a way home when I was too afraid to ride the bus, and I never had to ask one single time. God was always with me in those moments, even though I couldn’t see it all that well.
Thankfully, I graduated high school in 2013, in the top 11% of my class. I had no idea if I could afford college, afford to take care of myself, or even find a place to live, as my mom had abandoned the house we lived in, with all three of her kids still living there. I had no choice but to move in with my father. He and I had a very strained relationship but he loved me enough to push me to canvass, to step out of my comfort zone and go to Oklahoma when I had just barely moved in. God knew what he was doing and my heart was warmed. I accepted the challenge, as afraid and alone as I had felt at the time, and packed my things in what felt like blind faith.
Canvassing was a completely new experience for me, one that had allowed me to come to know a God who loved me regardless of the fact that I hadn’t been loved by those who were supposed to love me most. God had allowed me to trust Him daily, stepping out in this new faith I had barely come to fully realize. I met so many loving people: people who were hurting just like me, who needed to know God, needed to see His vast love and forgiveness. God was with me every day, even when I had doors slam in my face, people yelling at me and persecuting me for simply standing at their doorstep. He always led me to someone who needed prayer, to show me that His purpose was bigger than my fears.
His love had shaped me in just six short weeks. In that time, I boldly stepped forth to apply at Southwestern Adventist University. My fears of not knowing anyone, not being accepted or feeling alone were quelled by the absolute trust I had in God as to where He was leading me. Applying to Southwestern was so easy. Everything was worked out in the blink of an eye. Since that moment, I have met so many amazing teachers, friends, and felt safely at home here. It hasn’t been easy, but God has still never left my side. In moments when the future looks hopeless or bleak, God asks us to trust Him, an act that has allowed me to become a Junior Education major.
I came from a place where I felt I had nothing and nowhere to go, but into the arms of my Savior, who knew all along where He was leading me. We all may be walking different paths, but we have the same God, who never changes, but always love and forgives. We can trust Him, with every detail of our lives, even when doing so means, at least in my case, giving up complete control. From what I have been through, I know without a doubt in my heart that God’s way is ultimately better than any plans I could have made on my own.