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Choosing Cedarville: An Answer to Prayer

Choosing Cedarville: An Answer to Prayer

February 18, 2015

RousterToday’s ParentPrep blog post is written by guest contributors Gary and Carol Rouster. Gary and Carol are both 1984 Cedarville graduates who live in Jackson, Michigan. They share their experience of helping their son, Nathan, navigate his college choices and learning to let go and trust him into God’s hands.

When it came time to start to look at colleges with our son, Nathan, our first choice was of course Cedarville University, our alma mater. However, our son had a different view. Being an only child, he grew up attending the same school where his Dad taught, so every day from kindergarten through 12th grade, he rode to school with Dad and everyone knew our son, because they knew his Dad.

As we began to look at colleges and universities, Nathan at first thought he wanted to go far away from home. However, when one of his close buddies went 10 hours away to school, he began to change his mind. Nathan applied to only the schools that he wanted, but we insisted that he also apply to Cedarville, more for our sake than his! Many testy conversations were had. The more we tried to “push” Cedarville, the more insistent our son became that he was NOT going there. It was after several of these “discussions” that my husband and I realized this had to be Nathan’s decision and we had to let God do the rest. We had to let go!

My husband is a band director at a small public school in Horton, Michigan. Every year, as a way to witness to his students, we travel to Cedarville for the annual Music Showcase hosted by the music department. In February 2014, Nathan’s senior year of high school, he attended Cedarville’s Music Showcase with several of his friends. In the middle of one of the activities, I received a text from Nathan. He said, “I think I could go here to college if it wasn’t so expensive.” I immediately started to tear up and showed my husband, who in turn got a little misty-eyed. I texted back to my son and told him not to be concerned about the money, but to choose the college that he felt he would be comfortable at and learn the most. We let him tell us which college would be his final choice. Two weeks after returning home from the showcase, Nathan asked us to send in his deposit, Cedarville was his final choice!

August 2014 came quickly and packing him up was both sad and exciting: excited for the opportunities available to him but sad to see him leave us and the house become an empty nest. When I asked him upon leaving if he was excited, he said, “not really.” I asked why and he explained that he didn’t make friends easy, so he was nervous. That first day of Getting Started Weekend was busy, but amazing as well. We pulled our car into the parking lot of Lawlor Hall and were greeted by five upperclassmen ready to move Nathan in. They instructed us where to park and told us to NOT lift one finger hauling items to Nathan’s room. Our car was completely unpacked within 10 minutes. What a surprise! Later that day for dinner, we were all supposed to go to a second generation dinner for alumni and new students. Nathan decided he wanted to stay with his new unit mates (the friends he wasn’t going to make!) and go to dinner and activities with them. So much for not making friends easily!

As parents, we always wanted Nathan to go somewhere safe and to grow in his faith to become the young man God wants him to be. This was solidified in our minds when in November, he texted us to say he was going to the emergency room due to having severe pain. We immediately were alarmed and ready to pack up and head to Cedarville (four hours away). However, Nathan’s RA texted us and said he was a nursing major and was staying with Nathan the entire time to be sure he was being taken care of. He was available to us with questions and told us not to worry. Two hours later, Nathan was back in his unit with medication for an infection. This kind of personal care, concern, and help is not readily found among young adults. This comforted us to know that God is in control and He has put the right people in Nathan’s life. Nathan is right where he belongs. 

We have seen our son grow more than we could have imagined. While texting is the method of communication, he will contact us to ask for prayer prior to a big project or test. He lets us know if classes are going well or if they’re tough. He struggled his first semester due to the difficulties of a major he decided he didn’t like. Therefore, now in his second semester, he has switched majors and is enjoying his classes immensely. He is making new, lifelong friends and growing in his faith.

We could not be more proud of both our son and our alma mater. We will be attending the Music Showcase again this year and bringing more high school students with us, to show how priceless a God-loving, Christian university is!

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