“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:18–20When I found out it was happening, I never would have guessed I’d be thankful that my college, TUFW, closed after my junior year. It was my home for three years. The place where I met my then-fiancé/now-husband, the place where I came out of my shell and got over being painfully shy, the place where I learned the skills I needed to do what I love for a living, the place where I made life-long friends, and the place where I encountered God in deeper ways.
When I found out I wouldn’t be returning for my senior year, all I could do was worry about how I’d finish my degree without having to take out loans for a fifth year of college at a different school. On top of that, the news shattered all the plans Jonathan and I had for living in Fort Wayne after we got married that summer.
We found out in October that the school would close in May, and the advance notice gave us time to grieve, process, and plan. And it gave Jonathan and I time to come to terms with the fact that God could send us wherever He wanted—even Africa. Our options were wide open.
It turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened. Yes, it was hard to see my school close and my community dispersed. And it was hard to see our plans go to crap, but if TUFW hadn’t closed, we wouldn’t have moved to Minnesota. Jonathan wouldn’t have had a job that wanted him right away. We wouldn’t have ended up at our church. And I certainly wouldn’t have given up my career plans in order to help build the kingdom of God.
Moving so far away from my family was the hardest part (six hundred miles is a little far for a weekend trip), but it gave Jonathan and me a chance to make our own home and figure out what “being us” was going to look like. It gave me a chance to get to know his family better. It gave me a chance to find out, for the first time in my life, what it’s like to be part of a growing, Bible-believing church family.
And our classmates ended up spreading out all over the country and the world. So many of them are doing things they never would have done if our school hadn’t closed. Just one more reason to be glad God doesn’t always show us the big picture. If He had, I never would have started down the road that led me here.
(In case you’re wondering, I was able to transfer to Taylor’s other campus and take the rest of my classes online. The difficulty of that season is another story entirely.)