Years ago on a Thursday night in May, I walked into the basement of the Humanities building alongside my freshmen year best friend, Beth, to attend “Nav Night”—some sort of meeting where Christians got together and honestly did who knows what. In the months prior, I repeatedly dug my heels in, turning down every welcoming invite to join the fun. I consistently rattled off my to-dos and gave lengthy explanations as to why I couldn’t attend. But that night—with the end of my freshmen year of college looming and my completed checklist for the day giving me no excuse in sight—I went. I remember some songs, maybe a little ice-breaker game, and definitely a message, but I honestly couldn’t tell you much more. The bulk of the evening was vastly overshadowed by a pull on my heart I had never felt before. In that musty, poorly-lit lecture hall, the Lord used a couple I had never met to leave an imprint on me, changing me forever.
Their names were Drew and Stacy, and from the little I knew, they were some kind of big deal, maybe in charge of everything (?). But mostly they struck me as set-apart. They were kind, gracious, and welcoming but also something so much more I couldn’t quite grasp. Though I had met them for but a few minutes, I had the greatest sense that something about their lives, marriage, and love for one another was completely outside of anything I had ever known. It left me wanting. I later discovered they were directors for a collegiate campus ministry called the Navigators and happened to be totally sold-out for God.
When I returned home for the summer I told a former teacher the story about Nav Night—how I met this couple, something was just different about them, and I just didn’t get it. She told me to grab a Bible, flip towards the back, read through the book of John, and write down thoughts about what I read in a journal. I acted upon her sage counsel maybe twice, but mostly found myself embarrassed about keeping a journal that seemed more like a diary. I figured reading John’s writing could wait. My then-boyfriend, my longing to leave my childhood home, and the anticipation of returning to school with close friends consumed my time. It was not until an impromptu trip to Texas with my faithful friend Beth that things started to connect. We stayed up late each night as I asked her questions about God, her faith, and why they even mattered. She guided me through passages in the Bible, showed me truth in Scripture, and cried with me in the kitchen as I started to realize that what Drew and Stacy had at the center of their lives and marriage was Jesus; I wanted what they had.
That fall, Beth again brought me along to Nav Night. She had me sign up for an inductive Bible study, where we would walk verse-by-verse through the book of 2 Timothy. I had never studied the Bible before, but I figured I could get the hang of it. The second week of the school year, I found myself in a room surrounded by women who were talking about the Bible as if they had read it all their lives. They quoted passages of Scripture from sheer memory, cross referenced verse after verse, and pulled out notes on commentaries they had read about someone else’s thoughts on the passage. I left that evening dumbfounded. There was so much more to the Bible than I had realized! These women opened my eyes to the deep relational connection they had with the Bible, or more, the Author. Weeks went on, study continued, and a gal began to disciple me, but still nothing seemed to change. I had broken up with my boyfriend, I had gotten involved in this Bible study, I was attempting to memorize Scripture, I was reading my Bible, and I was even writing in that silly journal, but, still, I had never felt more alone, frustrated, or confused.
In October, Beth, again, took my stubborn self to a fall conference in the heart of Estes Park, Colorado. Upon arrival I was immediately overwhelmed. As the welcoming evening session began, my reservations turned into astonishment as I witnessed, for the first time, hundreds of college students worshipping God. These students, my peers, were captivated by God. They wanted to study and know His Word, shout His praise, be ever closer to Him. Their hearts before the Lord floored me; they truly loved this God they couldn’t see! The following morning during a workshop instructing us in emotional purity, I learned that wholeness cannot be found in a man, a career path, grades, or family; wholeness can be found in Christ alone. I spent the afternoon unclenching my try-hard fists, truly opening my heart to God for the first time, and pouring myself into the pages of a journal. That evening, I stood next to my friends—brothers and sisters in Christ—and lifted up my hands to the Lord, declaring Him to be the God of my heart and Lord of my life.
While I didn’t see His guidance in my life in the weeks or months leading up to my profession of faith, it became clearly evident. I love Psalm 77, the call to “appeal to the years of the right hand of the Most High,” to “remember the deeds of the LORD,” and, more specifically, the concluding two verses:
Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
The workings of the Lord were initially unseen by me—the call God had placed on my heart, the individuals He navigated into my life, and the smallest of events He coordinated for my good. Yet, when I open that first journal now, it brings tears to my eyes as the great faithfulness of our sovereign God will forever shine through. The Lord was mightily at work then, and continues to be at work now.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ.”
At Of Larks, we believe that each of our stories uniquely exhibits God’s glory, goodness and love. We have asked each of our regular writers to share her testimony or a story of how God has worked in her life to acknowledge God’s goodness and faithfulness, give praise and honor to Christ, and introduce ourselves to our readers.