Summer Smith, Senior, Secondary English Education

My OKWU story started with a Google search: “Top Christian Colleges in the U.S.” I love to tell the story that Google led me to OKWU, but the truth is that I could have chosen any other university.

I’m glad I didn’t. I can say this with confidence: no other story I could have written would ever compare to the OKWU story God wrote for me.  

With all stories come characters, and with characters comes character development. I experienced a lot of character development over these four years – Lord knows how much I needed it. I primarily came to OKWU ready to earn my English education degree. I loved Jesus back then as well, so I was excited to attend a Christian university.

I asked God questions; He answered them. I asked God to show me how to love Him rightly; He refined me. He is still refining me.

However, in my mind, I already had a doctorate in biblical living and Christianese. Nah. Summer had a lot to learn; academically, yes, but she also needed a reawakening. In meek yet convicting ways, God uncovered my haughty spirituality disguised as fervent piety. Exposed and humbled, I was ready for the Sculptor to work in me. I asked God questions; He answered them. I asked God to show me how to love Him rightly; He refined me. He is still refining me. It’s wild to think that four years ago, after I had been saved for 15 years, I did not believe that I needed a Savior. I still needed the Lord to save me from myself.  

This growing love for God helped me learn to love people well. The friends and mentors I met have become my life-long companions. What a sweet gift! They taught me how to listen intentionally, sacrifice joyfully, forgive willingly, and grow successfully. I have been so incredibly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life who have helped shape me into who I am today. It is insane how fast time has flown by, and I cannot believe it is time to say goodbye to so many people who I love so dearly. 

Student in carriage house

As I end this chapter, this season, my OKWU story, all I can say is “Wow! God really did all that.” He moved so mightily during my time at OKWU. His peace undergirded my mental and emotional integrity. His joy renewed my strength.  His intentional love for me was manifested through the smiles, hugs, and presence of my companions. All these blessings came after I surrendered myself to Him. I let Him take the pen.

So, I encourage you—no, implore you, reader—to let God write your story. Let Him prune you, mold you, and refine you. A life yielded to Him reaps unending joy, freedom, and growth. It is difficult to live in this truth, but think about how much you will gain when you let God be the Author. Oh, the places you’ll go when you let the Lord take the lead. Follow Him and enjoy the journey.  

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