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Alex and Olivia Arent on their wedding day

Cedarville Stories Podcast: Finding Joy When Life Steals Your Happiness

by Clem Boyd, Communication Content Manager

Alex and Olivia ArentOlivia (Ancil) Arent is a joyful person by nature. But when a car crashed into her world and almost took her life, she was challenged to choose joy regardless of her circumstances.

Olivia graduated from Cedarville in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and was working as a night shift float nurse at Holland Hospital in Holland, Michigan. On May 28, 2020, after finishing a recertification course for treating stroke patients, she and then-fiancé Alex Arent were strolling down the boulevard on a beautiful spring day.

That’s when a red Honda Civic, barreling down Michigan Avenue at 70 mph, careened into Olivia and Alex. No one on the scene expected either of them to make it.

They were both transported to the hospital where Olivia had just finished training, then moved to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, a level-one trauma center in nearby Grand Rapids.

Olivia and Alex each spent a week in intensive care, and Olivia was in the hospital for nearly three months altogether.

By the end of 2020, Olivia was healing and improving. She and Alex exchanged wedding vows on December 3, and even though there was much recovery still ahead, much progress had been made. Then Olivia underwent emergency surgery on her left leg, and she had to re-engage the recovery process all over again.

The setback was disheartening, but Olivia held closely to her faith. Throughout this very difficult year, grieving has definitely been part of the process, but there’s also been rejoicing. And not because her circumstances are always joyful, but because God is always good.

“Things that happen can steal your happiness,” Olivia shared during the podcast. “However, joy is a foundation, and it is based on who God is. Just focusing on that has really changed my life and changed my heart. Even though the situation might not be happy or good, God is good, and that is a reason to praise and that is a reason to have joy.”

For more Cedarville Stories podcasts, click the link below:

Cedarville Stories story link

More to the Story

The Cedarville Stories podcast first featured Olivia on its January 6, 2020, episode.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit  

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