The school did a good job of helping the new students get to know one another and within a couple weeks I had made some friends. We had a great time together and became a family. I got to class early because I wanted to see my friends. We studied together and got to know our professors socially. It was a totally different experience from college. I found that my brain still worked pretty well, I really cared about what I was learning, and I made good grades.
In class that first semester, one of my professors responded to a comment I made by suggesting that I run for student government (called the Council of Graduate Students – COGS) and implement my ideas in the school. What he said impacted me, but I was so beat up emotionally from the last year that I couldn’t imagine having the courage to campaign in an election. I prayed and asked God to confirm it if that was something I was supposed to do. Within a couple days the current Divinity School Senator from COGS came to me and asked me to run for office. Each school had two Senators who served for two semesters. It was set up to always have a Senator who was new paired with one who was experienced. She was to be the Senior Senator the next semester and wanted me as her Junior Senator. My heart leapt at the idea, but my confidence was terribly shaken. The guy who I would run against was Mr. Popular Athlete in his third semester and I was a first-semester nobody.
But then she said the magic words that made me unable to turn her down… “There’s a 50% scholarship for all Senators.” That did it! With her assurance that she would help me campaign, I made posters and handed out candy and asked everyone to vote for me. Mr. Popularity didn’t really campaign at all because he was so sure he’d win. Campaigning forced me to get to know a bunch of the students and I won the election. My second semester of grad school, 70% of my tuition was covered.
It would take another whole post to tell you all the wonderful things that happened in my life as a result of that position. It meant so much to me and I threw myself into the work. I became the chair person of the university-wide Spiritual Committee whose job it was to enhance the spiritual formation of the students in every school. I got to meet with the Dean monthly and was again reminded that God opens all doors, not man. I learned leadership principles first-hand. It was such a blessing in my life and an affirmation that I was where God wanted me to be. My broken spirit was being restored and at times it felt too good to be true.
Because of my work in student government, my third semester on campus I received a 40% Dean’s Leadership Award, taking my total scholarship percentage to 90%. When I was told that, I cried and prayed and thanked God and danced a little jig.
Also during my first semester at Regent, my parents received an unexpected financial blessing. My father was in need of a new car and could have purchased something very nice with the money. Instead, my parents bought an older, used car for my dad and bought me a used, low-mileage, cute little car that was a huge blessing!
Let me backtrack a little too and tell you that the reason I moved to Nashville in 1998 was because I wanted to be a professional contemporary Christian singer/artist. The ironic thing was that once I moved to Nashville, I basically stopped singing all together. I think I’ve sung less than half a dozen solos in Nashville in ten years. I had laid that down within the first couple years of realizing that being good was not enough. The musicians here are THE BEST and they know how to promote themselves and write songs and play instruments. I like to sing, period. I don’t know how to promote myself, I don’t know the right people, and I’m not THE BEST. I was okay with that in spite of the protests of my parents. But when I got to Regent, they were looking for people to help lead praise and worship for university chapel services. I auditioned and became one of the leaders. Suddenly I was singing again and trying to lead a whole band – which is different than singing a solo to a track! I remember leading one week and looking up to see Pat Robertson standing three feet in front of me and worshiping along with me and nearly losing my breath.
With one notable exception, God gave me back every single thing I had lost in the previous years. I felt like a starving child staring at a banquet table full of food just for me. It was more than I could take in. But yet, there was still no husband. Very nice guys were all around me, but the ones I liked didn’t like me back and the ones that liked me didn’t bring peace to my soul. I dated one guy in particular who was just wonderful, but every time I prayed about a future with him my stomach clenched in knots and I had no peace. I knew we weren’t meant for one another.