There is a branch of research in my field called “Resilience”. It is the study of people (or students) who should have fallen through the cracks and didn’t. In each case there has always been a “charismatic other” in place in that person’s life. That’s my story. My parents separated when I was seven and divorced when I was fourteen. I grew up with my dad and grandma for most of my childhood. In my family between all four parents there are nine siblings. Only two of us have never been incarcerated and I am the only one to graduate from college. There are multiple drug addicts and alcoholics. When I was in high school we lost our house and had to live in a campground for a while.
My senior year I moved in with my Grandma Rose and drove about 40 miles to school each day. That year I started applying to college. I received a full scholarship to a local school, but decided it was time to be on my own. Because I had been a manager for the high school football team, my coach called his alma mater and was able to get me a scholarship with the football team at Missouri Valley College. So, in combination with other scholarships, I was able to go away to school.
Between my junior year of high school and junior year of college I lost my way. I knew about Jesus, and had even been “saved” as a child and “baptized” in high school, but I was not yet living as “Christian”. All of these are just church words if you don’t understand what they mean, and I certainly did not understand. I was in a horrible relationship with someone who didn’t really care about me. My grades were fine, but that was because school had always been my drug of choice. I was partying more than normal and life was completely out of control. I began going to church with my friend Emily and decided I wanted something different.
So I ran away. To Alaska. My aunt and uncle lived in Juneau at that time and the plan was that I would live with them to work and finish school. On the plane from St. Louis to Seattle I met a man who would forever change my life. He was an Army soldier on his way to Korea. We talked the entire time and in the Seattle airport he bought me a hot chocolate and fat pretzel and stole my heart. The most intriguing part of the conversation was that he said he was a Christian. Now, it was probably a line, but I bit. I wanted a life where there was respect, love, and most of all—Jesus. Once I got to Alaska my Aunt and Uncle began ministering to me and modeling a godly marriage. All I knew is that was the kind of life I wanted.
Commitments didn’t happen immediately. I still had a lot to learn. I didn’t stay in Alaska. I returned to school at MVC and ended up in France the next summer. That didn’t work out either.
When I returned home from France my soldier boy was stationed stateside in Colorado. We got engaged that summer and decided on a December wedding. This was before I graduated, so you can imagine how it went over with my parents. Even so, we married. I stayed in school to finish my degree and he got deployed to Bosnia. Finally after graduation, a move across country, an overseas deployment, and 10 months we began our lives as Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Meyers.
Sixteen years, five degrees and two children later we have found our home in Gaffney, South Carolina with a church family and friends we love. We have a ministry in working with college students every day and find our strength in Christ when times are challenging.
So you see, my story is one of many opportunities to fall through the cracks, but at every turn God put someone in my path to direct me. I’m convinced that meeting my husband on that plane was orchestrated from the beginning. Jesus had me planned for him and him planned for me. Jesus has even more plans in store. And we have an eternity to receive those blessings, but it is only through a relationship with Christ that it can happen. I pray that every day my walk with Christ will be salty enough to attract students to the joy and peace Christ can bring, if only they accept Him.
So, perhaps resilience isn’t just about not falling through the cracks, but about the way in which Jesus orchestrates our rescue.