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Who’s that girl? This is a question I often find myself asking when I think back to my younger years. You see, this is the picture of a young teenage girl who was so unsure of herself at times. She wanted to belong, she wanted to lead, but she didn’t know how and she was so self-conscious about everything.

One day as I was setting up my office at Indiana Wesleyan University, I thought through whether or not to display my community college diploma. Truthfully, if you have a degree past the Associate’s degree, many people choose not to hang the community college diploma.

As I stood there thinking this through, I was reminded of why hanging that diploma was important to me and a part of my story and God’s leading in my life. You see,

  • I was the girl in high school who was so unsure of herself.
  • I was the girl in high school who was terrified of speaking in front of others.
  • I was the girl in high school who failed geometry.
  • I was the girl who graduated high school and decided I would do 2-years at most of college.
  • I was the girl who went off to seminary for my Master’s degree, knowing God had called me, but not quite sure if I would “make it” or if I was smart enough.
  • I was the girl who pursued a Doctorate, not knowing if I would “make it” or if I was “intellectual” enough.

Through every step of faith in my educational journey, God moved in me. I discovered a love for school, learning, leading, writing, and communication. It was like a new world was opened to me. I was actively involved in on-campus clubs and organizations that grew my confidence and leadership. I was excelling in my classes. And I developed some great relationships with the faculty and staff.

Looking back, I see how God moved in my life. I would never have believed that I would be the first in my family to graduate with a college degree. And I would never have thought that I would get my Doctorate and teach full-time at the university one day. So yes, that little Florida Keys Community College diploma is important. It’s the beginning of God creating and weaving the story of my life calling in teaching and education.

The takeaway? Don’t fall prey to seeing only parts of your story as valuable and essential. Every little step, accomplishment, letdown, and blunder, are vital to the story that God is weaving through your life for today and your future. One day. you too might find yourself asking, “Who’s that girl?” because, at that moment, you will look back and see all the ways that God has grown you and changed you.

 

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