A Woman Made
Where should I even start? Do you know that feeling you get when you're just in a state of shock and awe from the blessings that God has given you? This is my current state. He has been so faithful to me during my four years at the University of Richmond. To be cheesy and quote the simplest, yet powerful quote from a Lecrae song, "My whole life changed."
It started when I was recruited to Richmond on a track scholarship; I had never heard of the school. I even had to look it up on College Board to see how legit it was, but to my surprise, it was that and way more. Can you say “Come up?" After I got accepted, I was hesitant, but excited to start this new journey in my life. But little did I know that God would show me and mold me in three very specific areas of my life: my purpose for His glory, my friendships for His community/church, and my identity in Him.
Coming from a Nigerian home, the only career paths that were worthy of praise were becoming a doctor, lawyer, engineer or something involved in business, like accounting. Anything else wasn't worthy of mentioning, so of course I brought that mindset to college. I wanted to be an Anesthesiologist, only because it sounded cool and I could spell it. However, in Fall semester, when I took Chemistry 141 with Dr. Myers and had to study covalent bonds, acid-base reactions and had tutor sessions three nights a week, I wasn't reaaaddddyyyyy. I was struggling so much in that class just trying to stay awake, trying to care; I exhausted so much energy just to barely pass. I got a B in the class. But when I reflected on how much time and energy it took me to get a simple B, I didn't have any peace that this was what God had purposed for me.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
As a born-again Christian, I didn’t really understand what Jeremiah 29:11 meant for me. I didn’t understand that God is very clear about what He has for us, even when we don’t know. Going through the process of trying to figure out who I was and what I was meant to do was exciting, yet frustrating. Being young and not really aware of who I was or what God wanted, I tried a little bit of everything academically. I had no clear understanding of my purpose or that God was mindful of me or that my plans mattered to Him. When I was at the point of thinking about transferring for like the umpteenth time, I had the opportunity to do a summer internship with an after-school program called Youthlife Foundation of Richmond. That's where my love for education, social justice, and inner city youth, jumpstarted the path to my purpose.
It was after this that I had every opportunity to volunteer, work with, and intern at organizations that solidified to me more and more, that this was what God had for me. And the best part was everything came to me naturally. I was getting As in my education classes, networking and building relationships with my professors, and volunteering so much that I had ample experience with students. My resume had been built so much in those two years that I was able to apply for Teach for America at the end of my junior year and make it through the application process, which doesn’t happen very often. Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, will establish your plans.” It was when I did that, consciously and unconsciously, that He ordered my steps and showed me my purpose. All the glory belongs to Him. By His grace, last Sunday on May 10th, 2015, I graduated from the University of Richmond with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and minor in Education and Society!
Honestly, coming to a private school in Richmond, VA wasn't the most ideal situation. Most of my friends were staying in MD for college so I felt left out, and I knew leaving my family was going to be hard too, but not understanding community, looking for a church, and all things associated with building my faith, made it even harder. Fortunately, God had His plans in action as soon as I came on campus. It was on the first day of class that someone invited me to an off-campus bible study that transformed my life, God wasn’t wasting any time! At that time, I was living my life as if the good deeds I did were going to get me favor with God and into heaven, but one night there I heard the Gospel and how much Christ died so that I didn't have to feel guilty or shame when I didn't fulfill every standard of the law because Christ already did (Matthew 5:17) . Hallelujah!
It was from this bible study, God brought me to a church that was Gospel-centered and Christ-minded; every sermon left me in tears, challenging my faith and strengthening my assurance in Him. More than that, God brought me a family.; He brought in older sisters in Christ and strong women of God who showed me what it meant to be daughter of God, a sister in Christ, and a true woman of God. It was transformational and it was only by His provision that it was happening. As I look back on my time, I realize how much He pursued me and cared to teach me His ways. He showed me the true meaning of His church and what it meant to live with a community of Believers. The love, support, and accountability I encountered taught me so many things about God's desire for His church and the way he expects us to have relationships with one another. It was monumental for me because I grew up struggling with relationships, from friendships to romantic relationships. God cared for me in that way and it made me realize how mindful He was of me.
In all these things, God was forming the most important thing: my identity. Before college, I thought I knew who I was, but God was just like, "Nah girl, you thought you knew.” I was blown away by the woman I was turning into and it was because God was the one revealing it to me! Before Christ, my identity was based on my accomplishments, my disappointments and failures, and my relationships, but God showed me how my old self was no longer, and that my identity was hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3). He knew me better than I knew myself; He showed me my faults and weaknesses, but He also showed me the beauty that was in me. He formed me before I was born and He cherished me. I was His beloved, His daughter, someone who He loved and cared for so immensely. I was His. Knowing this changed everything: I no longer looked to others for approval and I grew confident in who He called me to be. And the evidence was in the last four years of my life. This is a testimony that God cares for the growth and maturity of His children, as well as them finding their destiny! College can be a struggle, let’s be honest, but God can also do transformational work in His children as well. This is my testimony.
I am born again,
He’s alive now
I’m alive in Him!