The Remodeling of a Christian Student
To summarize the impact of campus ministry in my life on one page is a huge challenge. In the fourteen years since high‐school graduation, the remodeling that the Lord has undertaken in me is remarkable.
Before the remodel
The religious education I received at my area Lutheran high school made me familiar with a God of love who sent his son Jesus because, well, I didn’t really know. I guess he filled in the gaps when I couldn’t quite get it right, but he couldn’t have had that much work to do, right? I was a good student and high achiever. My bible was a textbook that had an index, so I could look stuff up if I needed to. Sunday mornings had church penciled in, and I often went because that was part of being the “successful person” that I had painted for myself. School had taught me that Religion was a subject to get an “A” in. No one on the outside would have considered me an “at‐risk” Christian.
During the remodel
I had chosen to go to a selective college on the east coast, and knowing full‐well that my faith would be challenged. I had prepared for all sorts of situations in which I imagined I’d find myself: sex, drugs, evolution. The challenge indeed arrived, but instead of the attacks I had expected from the outside, I fell apart from the inside out. The truth was that I was built on a foundation of sand: I had placed my self‐worth in my achievements. That gap between me and perfection was so much larger than I had naively assessed. The next five years were filled with a dark depression where, instead of excelling at school, I struggled to eat and shower regularly. I limped along in school for a couple of those years before finally dropping out to work a series of jobs to keep myself alive. But during those years on campus, a friend invited me to a campus ministry event where, for the first time, I met people who did the strangest things: devoured the Bible like a good book, talked to the Lord as they walked across campus from class to class, voluntarily spent Friday nights singing worship songs with friends. Jesus filled more than just “gaps” for them – He was everything to them!
After the remodel
Well, it’s not over yet. . . I have had the privilege of returning to school but I still struggle with my mood and with anxiety. But the Lord has made clear to me through those Christian friends at campus ministry as his did to the apostle Paul: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take [the “thorn in my flesh”] away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Corinthians 12:8). He had never expected me to carry my own weight! He already knew I wasn’t perfect! And he is not simply sighing and accepting that fact – he uses my weaknesses for good!
Now back on campus, I have a unique role at The Point of Grace as both a graduate student and a “grownup.” I have taken classes and taught classes here at UWM; I have the viewpoint of a student but also as a member of the Ministry Team. And now to you as a reader and possibly a parent, I validate this plea being both a daughter and a mother myself: campus ministry needs your attention. Your children will be remodeled between the ages of 18 – 25 by someone or something. The Lord used campus ministry to keep Jesus in charge of my own painful remodeling project.
Thank you for your prayers & financial support for The Point of Grace.
Hannah is finishing her Ph. D. in physical chemistry at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. She lives in Port Washington, WI with her husband Adam and their one year‐old daughter Estelle.