As I look back at my senior year of high school (four years ago), the process of the college decision was very hard and important. A decision that ultimately would shape who I am and what I will become. It was a decision that determines what the future will be like. However, this decision wasn't just about me, but rather a part of glorifying and following God. God's plan mattered the most with finding the right college for me. Yes, the decision I made was partially about me, but a big part of it was agreeing to God's plan. With this, any BIG life decisions I make or you make are NOT easy at all. These are the decisions that we think about, pray about, sleep on, ask for advice and even repeat. After all these steps, it may come to a point where the decision to find the right college to go to is harder. However, after a time, the decisions will become easier, because that's where your decision and God's plan line up. So learn to trust in God and your ability to know where you feel like you see yourself and you feel like you belong.
Senior year was probably my favorite year in high school. I was ready to get out of high school, and the school was ready to ship me out to the real world. My classes went smoother than junior year because of how easy it was. Senior year felt like a breeze and everything was going right, but then everything came back and hit me. I realize even with the easy schedule and life as a SENIOR high school student, I was not on the right track of where I could go and where my life would lead to. Many people were thinking about college, but I was not thinking about college at all. My parents had a different plan for me, which I did not necessarily agree with. With this I decided to continue with senior year until I figured out what was next for me.
Where was my faith during this time of confusion and decision-making? My faith was finally being built, but beforehand my faith was not my own. My faith was my parents' faith, which is not a bad thing at all. It just wasn't me. Luckily, God wants to use us in different ways and pulled me back into the church. Here goes the story:
One my best friends, Caylee, invited me to her church. At first I was very hesitant—it was a different denomination, I hadn't been in church for a long time, and I did not like some of the Christians at my school (they were "pretend" Christians). Caylee kept reminding me about going to church on Saturday. I did not want to go at all, but she was very persistent. She pretty much was going to keep asking until I said yes. So I did...
On Sunday, Caylee and her parents decided to pick me up from my house. We got to the church and it was literally two minutes away from my home! When we arrived at the church, Caylee and I had two choices of either going to the regular service or go to youth group. I said to her, "Let's try the youth service, so we can be with the people in our age group." We arrived at the youth group, and of course it was the most awkward encounter I've had. The other kids were with their cliques and stared at me and my friend for the longest time. We did not have a place to sit at all, because everyone had their spot already. Caylee and I sat in the corner to listen in to the preaching. The preaching was one of the most incredible Godly experience I've had.
Ashley Cooper (youth pastor) was doing the series "I am _____." The first time Caylee and I joined youth group, her focus was "I am Blessed." During this service, God used her preaching to speak to me. The encounter I had with God seemed like God was speaking directly to me through her. It felt like no one else was in the room but the three of us. With this, God was sending me a message of coming back to his church as his servant. It was that moment that I decided to live my life for Christ, not because of anyone else, but because I experienced his goodness. After that, I decided to continue growing in my faith and to keep going to that church.
Because I wanted to live my life for Christ, I decided that going to a public university was not the choice for me. I decided that in order for me to continually serve Christ and grow in my faith, I needed to go to a Christian school. I went on google and looked up Christian Colleges in America. Low and behold, Calvin was the first result in the search. I looked up online to see what Calvin stands for. I applied and I got in. I visited Calvin during an invitation to a scholarship for the Perkins Fellows Leadership program. After a couple weeks, I got a letter that I got the scholarship. After a couple months, I decided that I was going to Calvin. I knew from my visit and from God that I was going to Calvin, which was hard, because I did not know anyone at all. I still had faith God will come through.
Coming to Calvin...
It was two weeks before going to orientation that my parents told me I could not go to Calvin. My parents could not afford Calvin at all. I told them that everything was lined up for me. I had enough scholarships and loans. Everything will be okay. When they told me about this, my heart was so broken. I felt like everything that was going right, was actually going wrong. Even though my parents said I couldn't go, I still felt like God was calling me to be a student at Calvin. I told them I could take in loans and I would go to Calvin. They still said NO! It was hard for me (especially in my culture) to go against what my parents want and follow God's voice/plan. In the Filipino culture, parents and elders are always right, no matter what, because it's a form of showing respect to them. However, God was bigger and God had a plan for me. I decided to talk to my youth pastor about my situation and she told me that prayer is my answer. I prayed and prayed to God. He kept calling me to go to Calvin. The crazy thing about all of these things is that I only had two days until I needed to be at Calvin for orientation. Two days before leaving Colorado, my parents and I had a talked (I prayed to God to reveal himself to my parents) about going to Calvin. God showed up and it was not a fight between my parents, but only a matter of them listening to what I wanted to do and why I was going to Calvin. After a long time of fighting and crying, God had his way with all of us. God won! After two days of packing and preparing, I arrived at Calvin as a first-year student to live in 2nd Huizenga.
Lesson to be learned....
I know and understand that not everyone will have a crazy story like me of why I came to Calvin, but it is my story. My story is different from other people's, and that is totally okay. The important part of this story is listening to God through all these decisions. It is important that we take our time, because God has a plan, and it is a good plan. God might tell you differently of where you can be for college, and that is okay. Calvin is a great place, and it is where I was called to go, but learn to pray and listen to where God is calling you.