It was September 2003. I was an itty-bitty freshman at University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and had recently rushed Greek Life and became an Alpha Phi.
And that, my friends, is where the Lord changed my life.
Who goes to college, joins a sorority — and then meets Jesus?
It definitely wasn’t what I expected in joining Greek life, since it was a little more like Animal House than I’d care to admit, but it all makes sense looking back.
You see, I grew up Catholic and definitely knew a lot about God. There were even times where I would say I was close-ish to God. But a personal, intimate friendship, day in and day out? Nope.
The spring before college began, a speaker named Jason Evert came and spoke at my high school. He talked about chastity and Jesus. Something began to stir in me that day. I was tired of going through the motions. I was tired of relationships that were superficial and shallow. I was tired of living for myself and needing to control my life.
I was just tired of living the way I’d been living for so long.
At the end of Jason’s talk, he offered for people to sign a commitment card pledging themselves to Jesus. I sprinted forward and signed the card. I didn’t know what giving your life to Jesus looked like, but I wanted it.
Then, I remember praying and asking God to surround me with friends who knew and loved Him so that I could learn how to know and love him, too.
Back to September 2003. I joined Alpha Phi with the intention of making lifelong friendships with my sorority sisters. Little did I know that God would use them to answer my prayers in bigger ways.
Within one week of joining the house, I was given an invitation to join a Bible study and attend a Greek fellowship on campus, sponsored by a non-denominational ministry. I have no other way to describe what began to occur within me than to use the word transformation.
Every time I opened the Bible, it was as if the words were jumping off the pages at me. The Scriptures were alive, and I could feel the presence of Christ. I was hearing truth preached at the weekly Greek meeting and at Mass on Sundays. This was truth I had absolutely been exposed to my entire life, but was deaf to. It was as if my ears were unplugged and I could finally hear what God had to say to me.
I was challenged to surrender myself to God: to accept that I indeed was a sinner, to accept that I couldn’t save myself from my sin — only Jesus could. I was challenged to give him my plans, my dreams, my hopes, my desires, and to follow Him wherever He would call me.
And so I did.
On one hand, I was experiencing more joy than I’d ever known. God was filling me to the brim with His presence, and it was such an exciting ride.
On the other hand, I was a freshman in college. The whole “Jesus thing” didn’t exactly jive with the Greek scene I was now part of. The last thing people wanted to talk about while getting hammered at a Bikers and Babes theme party was their spiritual beliefs or if they wanted to join my Bible study. I felt torn often, but God continued to fill me with peace. I was on the right path in following Him and He provided me with strength to live for Him.
That September, I learned how to pray on a more intimate level than by simply reciting learned prayers, as good as those prayers were. I dusted off my Bible and began to study it. I found other Christians and experienced what authentic and deep friendships can look like. My mind, heart and soul were renewed. My life completely transformed.
It’s been twelve years since I was that little spring chicken in college. So very much has changed…except the one thing I became sure of that September: I am a sinner in need of a Savior. Jesus Christ is the only one worth living for and the only true source of lasting peace, joy and happiness in this world.
And that will never change.