This week’s “HerStory” feature comes from Caitlin Cury – one of our very own WM student leaders at the new Pepperdine University chapter. She has a kind heart, sweet spirit, and contagious smile. We hope that her story offers you encouragement today!
How would I have known that I was lost
Had you not searched and found me?
How would I have known that I was blind
Had you not made me see?
How would I have known my bleeding
`Til you bound Your love around me?
How would I have groaned my slavery
Until You set me free?
College: a land full of freedom, opportunities, and choices. Once free from the restrictive realm of high school, college students are overwhelmed with the freedom to choose a major, class schedule, and even whether to go to class or not. They have the opportunity to get involved with groups that share one’s interests or pursue unfettered intellectual access. They experience unparalleled independence with the freedom to choose to party more, to have more boyfriends or girlfriends, and to dress however one likes. While I have experienced many of these ‘college freedoms,’ what I did not expect to find in college was freedom in Christ. It was only after I entered into a personal relationship with Christ that I came to understand how the love of Christ can transform my life and allow me to live in freedom from emotions, feelings, and insecurities that once held me captive.
I grew up in a Christian home; I went to a Christian preschool, attended Bible School and other Christian groups until middle school. Middle school and high school was a time that I strayed away from going to church. It wasn’t that I was turned off by the idea, but I started seeing the cliques that were forming among the youth groups and I didn’t feel like I fit in, so I stayed away. Though my family was “Christian,” we didn’t go to church regularly and I didn’t have a real relationship with God at this point. It wasn’t until God was calling me to find him at Pepperdine that I really began to own my faith.
After joining a sorority, God brought a person into my life that was a true example of what it means to live a life free in Christ. This person became my “big sis” and she brought me to University Ministry (UM). My big sis was strong in her faith and she served as a constant mentor guiding me towards my faith, but never pushing the issue. I still did not feel completely comfortable in this new environment, but I was learning to let go of my conceptions of the church. I was finding peace with issues that I had yet to reconcile and going to UM was a time to focus on me and find the answers I had been searching for. This searching process began a gradual progression, but it wasn’t until second semester that I really started praying often and developing a relationship with God.
During this time, I had become really good friends with a boy and we greatly enjoyed spending time together. It was purely an emotional relationship as we mainly spent hours on end divulging to each other about our pasts, worries, goals, and hopes for the future. I had found in my mind the ultimate companion, for unlike other boys, this one was actually interested in what I had to say. The more I became invested in our friendship, the larger my hopes grew that it would become a real relationship before school was over. However, there came a point when these hopes were dashed and my wants and desires were not reciprocated. I no longer had the freedom to choose whether I wanted a relationship with this boy, for the decision was made for me. It wasn’t until I was really struggling with letting go of this cherished relationship that God began to fill my life with what I thought I was losing. I truly had no idea I was in captivity until God began to set me free. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1).
I had placed this relationship on a pedestal and I had used it as a means to fill me up. It was a source of comfort, happiness, and joy, but also sadness and anxiety. The day to day happenings in this undefined rollercoaster relationship would rule my emotions, good or bad. I allowed this relationship to define me and felt like I lost control over my feelings. When this relationship ended without any say on my side, I was crushed and lost. The independent and strong girl was gone and in her place was her empty shell. At this point I had no other choice but to turn to God. In my brokenness, I knew I needed to be set free and find the true source of joy. At the end of this search, God was waiting for me to find him. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).
From then on, I began to take a serious look at myself and the person I was becoming and how I could better trust in God. God brought unexpected people into my life to uplift me and help me actively pursue my faith and never once did he forsake me. I was learning how to pray and I couldn’t keep my hands off any literature that had to do with faith, Christianity, and God.
During this time I clung to Proverbs 3:5-6 as I learned to relinquish my control and trust God. He revealed my misconception of relying on human relationships to fulfill me, for if I have a relationship with him I will never be alone. He showed me the happiness and freedom that comes from pursuing him alone. However, while I understood that a boy can not complete me, I continued to struggle with the fact that this knowledge did not calm the desires.
Over time I have come to understand that God places desires in our hearts for a reason. Psalm 37 says delight yourself in the Lord and he will bring you the desires of your heart. While we are waiting, God is doing. But first God wants us to trust him completely and most importantly with (all), but especially this area of our lives. This was one of the things I had found that I continued to hold onto in my life and tell God, no worries I have this (relationships) under control. God must have laughed at my stubbornness. God wants to direct the entire ship, but so often we close certain doors to him rather consciously or subconsciously and hold on to the key to these doors. The thing is he is the only author of true love stories and my love story must first begin with him. Freedom no longer meant the ability to make a choice or a decision, but it came to represent the truly amazing supernatural sense of peace that surrounded me when I allowed the creator to rule my life.
The freedom that comes from being a disciple of Christ has only continued to flourish in all aspects of my life. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”(John 8:31-32). While I still struggle with my own insecurities and emotions, I now have a place to go and someone to turn to. So often, we turn to human relationships when we are in trouble, hurt, or devastated, in hopes that another person will be able to fix us. However, the only person that holds the key to and is truly able to free us from any situation is the creator. When I am stressed over finding time to study for exams and stay true to my commitments, I turn to God. When I am faced with a decision that will affect my future, I turn to God. When I am overcome with my obsessive tendencies to always achieve perfection, I turn to God to set me free. When we walk in this new freedom, we allow God’s spirit to transform us step by step. We are able to find purpose in this world and are able to love deeper. In the end having a real and intimate relationship with God has allowed me to make freedom in Christ a reality in my life. My freedom no longer comes from choosing to live how I wish, but it comes from choosing to live a life in service to God.