I’m now a senior at Wheaton, and still haven’t completely unpacked all the mush that happened before that moment, but I do know it was there. The mush, I mean.
The mush of a challenging childhood, a double life of who I was at my public high school, and all the pain from home. The questions of who I was, who I was becoming, and why in the world, when all my friends were getting ready to attend a huge university, I was leaving for a small Christian liberal arts school in the outskirts of Chicago.
Whatever it was that happened, I do know it was only the beginning. It was something small, just a speck, of something deep in there: an aching, a longing, and a wonder at how, somehow, this workbook calling me to delve into the Word of God was “homework.”
Since coming to the family of Wheaton, that wonder has grown. It’s changed me from a teen in that mush to an adult that finally understands the ache I have is for the Gospel of the Living God. The ache to love and be loved. The wonder for a purpose and an understanding of how humans flourish when we truly work together to build the Kingdom of God.
Wheaton is a community of people, and those people that have challenged me, that I might have experienced growth and healing. Through His grace, the Lord has given me a glimpse into a lot of different circles; whether it was classes, professors, departments, Lacrosse, Residence Life, the Office of Christian Outreach, HoneyRock Camp, or Student Government, each encounter has left me with a greater knowledge of the love of Christ. The one that is actually alive on this campus, behind the words on the stone that says “For Christ and His Kingdom.”
How has Wheaton changed me? In every way, and though I have seen a lot of different facets, I know when I graduate, this beautiful season and person I am here will come to an end. But because of Wheaton’s mission, so many more eternal memories will remain unchanged.
And at the end of it all, when everything grows old and ceases to exist, there will be victory, and there will be faith, hope, and love. There will be, and there is now.
Maybe it was just a seed at the base of Vail Mountain, maybe it was one assignment, but it was a start of something, something that has grown, been cultivated, and multiplied beyond any works I could dare claim to be my own.
Wheaton will challenge you. Wheaton will break you. You will be brought to your knees, and actually, I hope you are stripped down. Because, I can promise you, in that place, that place of loneliness, the Lord will meet you.
Because, if there’s one thing this story says, if there’s one thing you take away from a Wheaton experience, I hope it is this: You are not alone. You are never alone, you were made for a purpose, and the truest thing about you is that you are loved far beyond anything you could ever imagine.