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"Stepping Onto the Grass" – A Note from a Parent of a Recent Cedarville Graduate

"Stepping Onto the Grass" – A Note from a Parent of a Recent Cedarville Graduate

March 27, 2015

While your family may be anticipating a high school graduation, we want to share a story written by a mom reflecting on her daughter's college journey. Written two years ago at this time, we share Kim and Brie's story with you for encouragement and perspective on how God can use the next four years in your student's personal, professional, and spiritual development.

Investing in students' lives is why those of us on the faculty and staff choose to serve at Cedarville University! God sends us the most amazing students, and we are humbled to be a part of how God is working in their lives for His glory.

Grads walking toward chapelIn 28 days our daughter, Brie, will walk across the graduation stage, shake the president's hand, and receive her diploma in nursing. It seems like yesterday we dropped her off at Getting Started Weekend with a dream to become a nurse.

During her preceptorship last week she cared for a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Dayton Children’s Hospital that was 2 pounds and could fit into the palm of her hand. A dream come true. As she told me of this little baby … my mind flashed back to Brie as a little child playing on the sidewalk of our little country home. Today she stands before me … as a compassionate, strong, and professional nurse-to-be … in just 28 days. My heart is full of gratitude for Cedarville University — for its passionate and professional faculty and staff, for the transformational experiences, and for the encouraging and supportive friends.

Thank you, Cedarville University.

When we built our first home, we had the task of seeding the surrounding three acres. Brie, 4 years old at the time, had to stay on the cement patio as the grass slowly grew. Soon, green lush grass surrounded our home. One day as she played on the patio, we realized she was not venturing out to play in the yard. She would carefully put her little toes out to touch the soft blades of grass, but she would quickly pull her foot back with a giggle. On one hot July day, I was sitting on our blue front-porch swing and watching Brie play. I called out to her, "Step onto the grass." Because she had spent weeks avoiding the unknown territory, she looked at me with surprise in her face. I said again, "Step onto the grass. It is OK. Go explore."

At that moment I didn't realize that "step onto the grass" would be a key phrase in our relationship. As I think of the past four years … she not only stepped onto the grass, she jumped. Cedarville University gave her opportunities to explore and serve Christ on the other side of the world — as she cared for rescued prostitutes and their children on the brothel lined streets of Chaing Mai, for the sick in a remote jungle village of Cambodia, and for families in the slums of poverty-stricken areas of Asia. 

Thank you, Cedarville University.

Passionate and professional faculty and staff stepped into her life and made a difference. After watching our daughter journey through university life, I have personally observed the impact of great men and women of the faith inspire her. They took the time to encourage, direct, and guide her. Brie is graduating with an incredible education from outstanding faculty.

Brie experienced transformational opportunities in her time at Cedarville. She worked as a Resident Assistant; she worked on SGA (Student Government Association) as the communication director; she traveled on the Civil Rights Bus Tour; she studied in Spain for a summer through CU; she was involved in community projects, professional development opportunities, and much more. Opportunities abounded all along the way.

The encouraging, fun, supportive friends she made will last a lifetime. Cedarville is more than just what occurs inside of the classroom … it is outside the walls of academia, too. I could not recount all the stories I have been told over the past four years. I have heard stories of full of adventure, silliness, and fun … conversations about life, God, and relationships … and grand memories of concerts, Elliv, sporting events, and more.

Because of her time at Cedarville University, I saw Brie become more of the woman God designed her to become. 

Because of my faculty status, I will be sitting on the platform during graduation in my own regalia. Faculty parents get to meet their student on the stage to congratulate them. Brie and I are looking forward to this moment and have talked about it often over the past four years. It’s just a few seconds in time, but I am sure it will take my breath away. What will I say to capture my thoughts? I am not sure. But time moves on … so I will probably give her a hug, look her in the eyes … and say, “Step onto the grass.” 

I love you, Brie.

Thank you, Cedarville University.

P.S. It seems like yesterday I wrote the post "Stepping onto the Grass." It is now two years later. Time flies. Here is an update about our daughter, Brie.

She is thriving in Columbus, Ohio, as NICU nurse at Nationwide Children's Hospital. She enjoys her job and the team of doctors and nurses she works with. In the future she plans to take trips to Guatemala to work with at-risk baby populations. She is living life to the fullest. Recently she went on a road trip to visit college friends and had a grand time. Her time at Cedarville prepared our daughter well. She received an excellent education from her professors and experienced amazing opportunities outside of the classroom. As parents we are grateful for how Cedarville prepared her for life!

And, guess what? Our next child, Blake Ahlgrim, is a Cedarville freshman. We are already observing great changes of the next level of independence. Just last night he swung by the house with a bunch of great guy friends. They laughed, wrestled, ate a big bowl of strawberries, and gave me a great big hug when they left. When they walked out the door, I smiled and found myself grateful for his friends. I believe these young men Blake will know for a lifetime.

Kim AhlgrimAt Cedarville University since 1989, Kim Ahlgrim serves as Associate Dean for Academic Enrichment. Her team assists hundreds of students to achieve their academic goals, and Kim is known for her deep care and concern (not to mention her enthusiasm and passion) when helping students succeed academically and spiritually.

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