by Chloie Benton, Public Relations Writer
Cedarville University student Megan Orr, a junior psychology major from Crystal Lake, Illinois, has walked through seasons of depression and anxiety. But she’s discovered hope through a newfound faith in Christ and a supportive community.
Orr grew up attending church, but found herself walking through the motions of Christianity throughout junior high. Orr sought help for anxiety and depression after attending a church camp her freshman year of high school, yet she found herself marginalized by her church youth group. By her senior year, she had stopped attending church completely.
Soon, thereafter, her college search began and she reluctantly decided to visit Cedarville University after being encouraged by her parents. Orr later agreed to attend because Cedarville offered a clean slate where she could “rewrite her story.” Orr knew she was not a Christian when she arrived on campus, but the overwhelming welcome she received was meaningful. Still, she assumed it to be hypocritical and fake Christianity.
During the Fall Bible Conference her freshman year, Clayton King offered a prayer of salvation for the audience. The Lord began working in her heart and revealed the need she had for salvation.
“I’ve heard altar calls before. I got really good at just shutting it out, but for the first time I thought this is what I am supposed to do.”
After returning to her room, Orr met with her resident assistant, who led her to the Lord.
“What is incredible is I had actually planned to kill myself that night, because I felt like Cedarville was not the right place for me. It seemed like there was so much sin in my life, and everyone at the university was so good, it just did not feel right. Thankfully, God had other plans.”
Since that night, Orr’s life has changed. She has developed a thirst for knowledge about the Lord and wants to know Him more deeply. She joined a discipleship group on campus and is being mentored within her church.
As a junior, Orr looks back on the past few years since her conversion and is in awe of how the Lord has used the community of Cedarville University to encourage and strengthen her spiritually. Her struggles with depression have pushed her closer into the Lord’s strength and love. He has also provided individuals able to counsel and help her.
Cedarville University Bible professors have willingly set up communication systems to answer any extra questions she has during classes. The Lord has developed in Orr an empathetic perspective that is others-centered instead of self-centered, and Orr recently developed a prayer group on campus that meets daily.
As part of the speech team, Orr has been encouraged by team members and her coach to take gospel opportunities and has been equipped to present the gospel in a secular environment. Orr now plans on beginning a Bible study and is passionate about reaching out to younger girls who have struggled in similar ways. Since her salvation, the Lord has developed a missions-minded heart in her, and although Orr does not know the avenue the Lord is leading her down, she is confident He will make a way.
Another way Orr’s life has changed is in how she deals with depression.
“I really struggled with depression before Christ. I’m not going to say that I never get depressed, but the difference is before salvation, I could not handle it. Now, I can rely on the Lord to provide his strength through the difficult days.”
Her faith transformation will continue to ripple its effects as she pursues a career in school psychology. “A mental disability does not necessarily mean someone is disabled,” Orr said. “I want to help kids and teens to realize that about themselves.”
“My mom is a school psychologist and I wanted to be different from her, but I think it will be a good fit for me,” she added. “I can work with students and hopefully help them recognize that whatever diagnosis they have, no matter what they have been told about their abilities, it does not define who they are. There is always a way to overcome an obstacle if you want to badly enough.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.