by Trevor Gearhart
I praise God for what He’s doing in our daughter’s life through Cedarville University. By God’s grace, Giselle (Gearhart ’20) is a different girl from the one who began her studies at Cedarville three years ago. Like many parents committed to discipleship, I find my thoughts frequently echoing the words of the Apostle John, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).
For these last pivotal years of our daughter’s life, that “walking in the truth” has happened on Cedarville’s campus and under the University’s leadership. I get emotional thinking about it all, but I wanted to thank Cedarville personally by sharing a bit of our story.
My wife and I prayed earnestly that God would guide our daughter during her senior year in high school as she began talking about the colleges she’d like to visit. We experienced campus life at several terrific places, but it was clear that God’s choice for her was Cedarville. Not only would she get a top-notch education, but we believed her growth in Christ would be encouraged and nurtured by faculty, staff, and other students. We were right. In fact, we didn’t know the half of it. Now that she’s in her senior year, we look back with gratitude realizing that God has done “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).
Our daughter traveled with HeartSong Ministries touring teams twice and experienced the joy and dependence that comes with “pouring yourself out” for the work of Christ. She has a tender heart for her Savior and for others, and it shows. Whatever HeartSong’s leadership and her teammates did, they’ve made a huge impact on our little girl, and we thank all of them for it. Her studies in nursing have continued to keep her schedule busier than ever, so HeartSong hasn’t been an option for the last two years. But we’ve watched God work in her life as a Resident Assistant, through her D-Groups, and through the gracious counsel of staff who have been willing to spend extra time pointing her toward Christ. For that, we’re just as grateful.
My wife and I are different people, too. Money is tight, and yet God always provides. The Director of Accounts Receivable and Cashiers Office staff have been a joy to interact with for two years now, and I’m reminded that their work has an eternal impact. They’re a vital part of the process in our daughter’s life change, and I believe with all my heart God will reward them for being “links in the chain” of His will. I would say the same thing about the Financial Aid staff and the way they’ve graciously served us.
I could go on and on writing similar things about her roommate, the girls in the residence halls, the people at the church she has attended, and the friendships she’s forged with other students, both in her program of study and through various student groups. Our hearts are overflowing with thankfulness. Every time we visit campus, it feels like another celebration of God’s goodness.
There’s a young man in our little girl’s life now, too, someone special she met at Cedarville. The good news is that my wife and I think he’s terrific and we love him as if he were our own son. A few months ago, he proposed to her, and both families are ecstatic! Not just because of the union of two godly young people, but because of the grace of God in leading our children to their future spouses for whom we’ve all prayed for many years.
I’m grateful Cedarville is a school that attracts godly young people. Next summer, we’ll see a dramatic testimony to that fact as most of the wedding party will be made up of Cedarville students who’ve impacted our daughter and future son-in-law, each of them bearing witness “to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12).
Once again, I’m wiping tears from a wet keyboard, so I’ll wrap up for now. We love Cedarville and will continue to pray for God’s wisdom to lead wisely and boldly. I’m sure we represent many parents when we simply say, “Thank you,” but please know that those two simple words are filled with years of gratitude both to you and to God. You’ve made a difference in our lives.
Trevor Gearhart is Pastor of Family and Discipleship at Calvary Baptist Church in Normal, Illinois.