When I decided to transfer from my old school, I wasn’t sure where I’d end up. I knew what I wanted, though. I wanted to be where God wanted me.
So I looked into ORU, mostly because they were a conservative, charismatic school, which is just my cup of coffee as a conservative, charismatic theology and writing major. I applied, got in, but decided I needed to actually visit. I wanted to be on the campus and ask the Lord if that was where I should be. I wanted to make sure God was present in this decision.
I visited ORU during my spring break with my Mom and Nana. The campus is absolutely beautiful. And huge. I was a little overwhelmed by it’s size and by the time we’d left a day later, we realized we didn’t even see all the campus–we forgot to go see the praying hands.
Something about being on that campus made me feel different. I felt at home. And at peace. And there’s a Chick-fil-a on campus, which almost made me just say yes right there!
We looked at the Prayer Tower that first day, too. The fact that ORU has a prayer tower is a huge answer to a prayer I didn’t even realize I had. At my old school, I didn’t really have a place to pray. At least not an easily accessible place that was specifically set apart for prayer and worship and encountering God. It was hard for me to pray in my dorm because it was so loud. I tried praying around the campus but it was so small, there were people everywhere and it was just difficult to find a quiet place to encounter the Lord. I tried using the chapel in my dorm, but I got kicked out.
That’s an interesting story: I had been praying about transferring because I was so unhappy at my old school. I felt spiritually frustrated and like maybe I wasn’t supposed to be there anymore. There was a whiteboard in the chapel and I’d written on the board, “Should I transfer?” I turned up worship music to drown out the rest of the dorm and began to pray. I got lost in my prayer, in the Lord, and I kept asking Him, “God, I don’t know what to do? Is it time for me to leave? Do I need to just keep going? What do I do next?”
Suddenly, someone whipped open the door to the chapel. I stopped abruptly and wiped my eyes. A woman who worked for the center for learning on campus stood there with another student and said, without sympathy or apology, “You need to leave.”
I stared at her for a moment, frustrated and incredulous. She couldn’t be serious. I was obviously in the middle of something, in a state of vulnerability, talking to GOD. She just looked at all my stuff on the table as if to tell me to pick it up and go. “We need this room; you need to leave.” I blinked, shocked. But the shock wore off quickly and anger replaced it; I grabbed my stuff, glancing at the board that held the question “Should I transfer?” and decided to leave it up there, hoping she’d see it and understand what she’d just done.
She’d given me my answer. “You need to leave.”
After that moment, the doors to transfer began to open more quickly. ORU made the transition pretty easy, but I still needed to visit.
In contrast to my old school, ORU has an entire garden and tower dedicated to prayer. It’s located in the center of campus, reiterating how important prayer and encountering God are to this school. To have a place designated specifically for prayer was a huge factor when I was making my decision. The Prayer Tower seemed to be a pretty clear sign that this was the right choice. Both my mom and Nana thought I’d made my decision. But I couldn’t bring myself to say “yes” just yet. I wanted to be absolutely sure.
I didn’t want to make another mistake. I remember feeling similar, though not quite the same, when I visited my old school, all hopped up on the excitement of something new. I like new places. But I didn’t want that to be the reason I chose this school. I had been talking the Lord throughout that whole first day of visiting, asking for a clear yes or no. That the next doors that needed to be opened would open miraculously and clearly.
I told my parents, who were wondering why the crap I was postponing a decision, that I wanted to see the chapel service first. Then I’d decide.
The next day, we got to the school and since I was incredibly nervous, I started being extra sarcastic with my Nana. I’m sassy always, but even more so under pressure. She has this massive Bible and we had a pretty long walk to the chapel. She said, “I don’t know if I want to carry my Bible all the way up that hill.”
I couldn’t stop myself. I smirked, “Well, Jesus carried the cross for your sins, so…”
Mom laughed. Nana didn’t. We headed to the chapel.
We were a little late because we are Forshey’s and Forshey’s are notoriously late to everything; we walked while worship was already started. Simply walking in, something felt different. It was peaceful and joyful. I smiled before I realized I was smiling.
The Holy Spirit was so thick in that place, I immediately choked up. I refused to look at anyone; I worshiped the Lord and felt in that moment, this was where I was supposed to be.
I felt Him tell me “yes.”
I didn’t say anything to my Mom and Nana until we left the chapel. They didn’t say anything either.
We walked out and I simply confessed, “Okay, the Lord wants me here. I’m transferring here.”
When I finally looked at my Mom and Nana, I noticed they had been crying too and I laughed a little. We’d all refused to acknowledge how emotional that service had been and just sat silently next to each other. They were ecstatic for me and my Nana told me she had looked over at me during the worship service and saw a bright cloud over me and there were doors all around me. She tried to count them but she couldn’t, and she heard the Lord tell her that He was going to open so many doors for me here, more than I could count.
I’m believing in that promise still, excited that I still have no idea what the rest of this year holds. I love this uncertainty because one thing I’m not uncertain of is that the Lord is on the move in my life; He’s doing things, He’s moving me, stretching me, pushing me, and molding me to be more like Him. And apparently what He wants to do is linked heavily with this particular university.
So that’s why I chose ORU. It’s gonna probably take me an extra year to finish because, of everything else that worked out, a lot of my credits didn’t transfer. But if I’m where I’m supposed to be, I don’t mind spending more time to let God finish the work He’s started in me.
And His timing is perfect.
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”
2 Samuel 22:31-32
“This God–his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. ‘For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?’”