Cynthia Shamberger

I’m an associate professor of Special Education in the College of Education at Fayetteville State University. But when I was younger, I never saw myself as a professor. Although I made decent grades, I was focused on myself and dreamed of marrying a rich man and having a glamorous life – something far different from my humble beginnings in rural North Carolina. As a teen, I became a member of my church, attended most of the time, and was active in choir and Sunday school. I remember sitting on the front steps of my high school after graduation with my best friend. We wondered what life after graduation from high school would have in store for our lives. As a first-generation college student, and the oldest of 6 children, I was excited to have my own space and free time to do as I pleased. Yet, my life lacked purpose and direction. I longed to fit in and belong. One evening, while sitting near the tennis courts watching guys and hoping to be noticed myself, a cute guy I’d met who lived in the dorm next door walked by. When I asked where he was going, he replied, “to a meeting.” When I asked if I could go with him, he said “Yes.” Walking into that meeting at the student center that night started me on a journey I will never forget. At the meeting were many young people including juniors, seniors, sophomores and freshmen like me. They were singing heartfelt songs about Jesus. Most of them took turns giving brief reports of how Jesus was doing things in their lives. One said he provided funds when financial aid was delayed. Another spoke of having been in a car wreck with multiple injuries and how Jesus helped her recover. I saw a joyful devotion to loving and obeying Christ that I had never seen before. It was very different from what I was used to back home. Most of all, it was exciting and authentic and I wanted what they had in my own life. A few days later, I was reading a booklet the residence hall counselors (RHCs) had given me (they had been at the meeting too!). In it I learned that God loves me and has plans for my life but I was separated from God by my sin. The booklet also said Jesus is the only way to the Father. I knew my life was not pleasing to God, so I prayed and asked him to forgive my sins, gave him control of my life and asked him to lead me into his plan and purpose. I felt light and joyful and quickly told my RHCs. Soon I agreed to attend a bible study with my RHCs where I learned more about Jesus, the Bible and how to live as a Christian. Most importantly, I learned (and am still learning) to live my life in a forever love relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ.